Mediaite's Colby Hall thinks Congressman Bob Etheridge might be a hero for assaulting a college student who asked him a question. Etheridge attacked a student and held him captive for a short time after he asked if the Congressman supported the Obama agenda. Colby Hall wrote an article defending him titled, Congressman Loses Cool To Students With a Flip Cam, But Somehow Comes Out The Hero?.
To be sure, Hall says, "No he's not a hero. He's a jerk," but he only added that part in after his post was savaged by commenters. Earlier versions of the post, including the one automatically posted to Beltway Blips and the excerpt on Hall's author page show that clarification was added later, and the post itself notes, "Edit. note – this post has been slightly edited for clarity from an earlier iteration."
Hall's defense of Etheridge echos the DNC talking points that the videographers were unidentified and probably conservative. After all, assault is perfectly fine as long as it is done to a conservative or an alleged Republican operative. (Indeed, the media seems to have adopted this lesson in the Tea Party movement.) Hall said:
But little is known about these “students.” The YouTube video is published under an account titled TonyManization, and even more damning is that the faces of the individuals asking the Congressman questions are blurred out. Hmmm…nothing like the courage of the anonymous protester. Which brings us back to Etheridge’s response. Yeah – he comes off as a jerk, but…when in Rome.
The "when in Rome" defense... That would suggest that the Congressman should respond in an equivalent manner to the videographers. Is grabbing ahold of the questioner and threatening him an equitable response? Hall also attack Andrew Breitbart's Big Government--Breitbart's site having launched the video's viral explosion--for the network's great success in exposing government corruption.
So yeah, if Big Government (the site that gave us the hidden camera video that took down ACORN) is telling us to expect more of this sort of inflammatory and guerrilla interview tactics, well then, we should be seeing more of this. And that fact is not lost on many elected officials who are probably on edge, half-expecting to be ambushed around every corner. Such is the case here.
But there's not exactly anything inflammatory about standing on a public street and asking a simple question. It is that easy to simply walk on by down the street, as any public figure should know. As for Breitbart's role in promoting the video, the video is right there for all to see. Just like in the ACORN case, in which Breitbart provided the full audio and transcripts of ACORN employees openly giving advice on how to run a brothel, the video speaks for itself, and Breitbart's relative level of credibility is irrelevant to what anyone's eyes can clearly see.