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Ear to the Ground

Assaulted Blogger Is Pressing Charges Against Allen

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Posted on Nov 1, 2006
Mike Stark
From Flickr.com

Calling All Wingnuts blogger Mike Stark was assaulted by presumed staffers of Va. Sen. George Allen after Stark asked the senator combative questions.

The man whom staffers of Va. Sen. George Allen attacked on Tuesday for asking the senator combative questions, is fighting back.

  • Watch the attack

  • Richmond Times Dispatch:

    I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions.

    George Allen defends his support of the Iraq war by saying that our troops are defending the ideals America stands for. Indeed, he says our troops are defending our very freedom. What kind of country is it when a Senator’s constituent is assaulted for asking difficult and uncomfortable questions? What freedoms do we have left? Maybe we need to bring the troops home so that they can fight for freedom at George Allen’s campaign events. Demanding accountability should not be an offense worthy of assault.

    I will be pressing charges against George Allen and his surrogates later today. George Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray. All he had to do was say, “This is not how my campaign is run. Take your hands off that man.” He could have ignored my questions. Instead he and his thugs chose violence. I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I’ll be damned if I’ll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.

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    If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

    By libhomo, November 3, 2006 at 4:51 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Allen should resign.  There is no excuse for the behavior of his employees.  Even worse, he hasn’t fired any of them.

    Report this

    By mutterhals, November 2, 2006 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Most of you people are insane.

    1. It’s called insurance fraud, buddy, look it up.

    2. I’m not going to drop to my knees and kiss this dude’s ass just b/c he heckled George Allen and got his ass kicked in. The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend, unless you are an easily led buffoon.

    3. I never said it was Ok to beat up a reporter. I said it looked as though this guy has an ulterior motive, i.e. making Mike Stark and his piddling blog famous.

    And this has nothing to do with free speech. No one is stopping Mike Stark from stating his opinion. Go to a public place and start shouting personal questions at someone, then tell me what happens. You people are fools, and you deserve the government you get.

    Report this

    By Katelyn Sack, November 2, 2006 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Dahlia Lithwick just gave the reading public a nice lecture on how not to respond to the sort of slimey provocation mutterhals and John have set forth.  http://www.slate.com/id/2152528/ 

    So rather than engaging John to cordially define an (irony alert!) important distinction between “beating,” “beating to the ground,” “shoving to the ground,” “violently flooring,” and “forcibly silencing”—I will catch my breath and move on to Dave’s excellent discourse analysis of the media coverage of the Allen team’s attack on Stark. 

    Dave, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes.com, among others, ran the AP article you reference with the headline “Heckler Subdued at Sen. Allen Event.”  As if a constituent asking a question were a heckler.  As if a student at a top-tier law school were an escapee from the asylum on the hill, screaming senseless obscenities at the nice, genteel Senator.  The word “heckler” tells the reader to not trust this disruptor, that he had no right to ask a calmer and more credible individual than he any questions at all.  The word “subdued” – rather than “beaten to the ground” or “brutally silenced,” is clinical, measured.  The nice Senator’s staffers in the white lab coats subdued the crazy heckler. 

    The University’s student daily, The Cavalier Daily, used slightly less loaded terms to frame the incident, but they too ultimately fail to objectively present the facts.  “Student sparks altercation” places the student, Michael Stark, in the driver’s seat.  It was Stark who brought a beating on himself by asking his Senator a question.  It was Stark who stepped too close to the naked emperor.  It was Stark who should have chosen his words more carefully, been more deferential, or been silent had he not desired violent confrontation.  His exercise of free speech is a combustible matter that logically sparked the flames of the Senator’s staffers’ fists.  (Did they use the palms of their hands instead of their fists?  Well, call off the criminal investigation!) 

    The capital’s daily, Richmond Times-Dispatch, announced “Emotions flare in race for Senate:  Allen supporters scuffle with Webb backer, and video of the incident receives heavy airplay.”  The passive voice in the lede was less atrociously biased than the AP’s use of the same tense.  However, violent physical actions are not emotions.  Furthermore, it was an Allen staffer and a former state GOP official who battered Stark – not simply brownshirted ruffians with no official connections to the Senator.  Stark, moreover, is not campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb.  He is an Allen constituent who asked his Senator a question at a campaign stop.  The heading is misleading and factually incorrect. 

    Only the New Jersey Star Ledger, of all the venues in the top twenty hits on Google News for this story, gets it close to right.  Over the article describing the assault and battery of a citizen exercising his free speech at a Senator’s campaign stop, the headline reads:  “Around the nation in politics.” 

    The big story here is not just “GOP lackeys batter citizen-journalist on tape as Senator stands silent.”  A more fully accurate headline might read, “Allen Staff, Press Assault Virginia Law Student.”

    Report this

    By John, November 2, 2006 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    To claim that the guy was “beat up” is total fabrication and a lie.  Yes he was tackled and taken to the ground and it looked to me like they all pretty much fell to the ground.  Tell me how many punches were thrown as this guy was “beaten up”.  You people are so morally dishonest.

    Report this

    By Katelyn Sack, November 2, 2006 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    In response to mutterhals: 

    Your choice of parallels betrays the lack of empathy underlying your support of the beating of a journalist at a public event. 

    I do not know any old ladies who fake falls.  I know several who have taken real falls, though.  I know people who are sick and people who are poor, and it is not their fault. 

    This “old lady faking a fall in the store” is a myth, like the Reaganite myth of the black welfare queen.  It plays on classic “blaming the victim” psychology that enables uninvolved parties to remain emotionally uninvolved, instead of wondering why misfortune does not befall us.  It is the same psychology that lets Americans think we deserve to use up vastly disproportionate amounts of the world’s natural resources.  It lets us sleep better at night, knowing that we are well-fed and safe because the world is logical and just—rather than because we won a few games of Russian (or Mesopotamian) roulette.

    Report this

    By Dan, November 2, 2006 at 12:14 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The headline regarding this story on Yahoo! News read “Heckler subdued at George Allen event”.

    That is an interesting euphemism for “tackled”. Sports announcers should start using that in football…

    “McCoy was ‘subdued’ at the 35 yard line.”

    The video tells an entirely different story.

    Report this

    By Steve, November 1, 2006 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Why are the regressive right Born-Again, Faith-Based, Pro-Life Extremist Hypocrites so enamored with Clinton and Gore? They aren’t in public service anymore. So, Clinton had a fling, was he responsible for hundreds of thousands of American and innocent civilian deaths? Don’t forget all the severely injured and maimed. Half a trillion dollars has been flushed away in this illegal, immoral massacre by the Killer-in-Chief. Stay the bloody course forever and flush away more lives and $2 billion American taxpayers money each week. Yes, keep the Mass Murderers and Serial Killers in power. That is what Jesus would want, right Hypocrites? Who Would Jesus Kill?

    Report this

    By jim morris, November 1, 2006 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Hey Mutterhals,
    I saw the video but I it doesn’t sound like you did. Did you ever hear of the 1st Amendment? Having three guys grab you and throw you to the floor is the same as an “old lady” who fake falls in a grocery store? What are you taking? Kool-Aid?

    Report this

    By Linga, November 1, 2006 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    A constituent for that matter anyone has the right to question politicians, especially a senator. If personal attacks wern’t the norm, then I would be inclined to say, one should leave personal matters alone.

    Unfortunately, in 2000 and 2004 politicians transcended that and even attacked and showed a decorated veteran as a coward. Even questioned, whether, he received his Purple Heart with self inflicted wounds and we simple listened to it. To me that was a new low in our collective national and political consciousness.

    Further, when one watches Mr. Allens advertisements, one gets appalled by the utter nonsense being spewed out.

    Will we ever again have common decency back in political campaigns and start discussing national and international issues, instead of acting like uncivilized idiots.

    Report this

    By shayla, November 1, 2006 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    What’s telling to me is that Allen didn’t try to stop his minions. If he had stopped them and still not answered the questions, I could have a bit of respect for him. But might equals right? I don’t think so!

    Report this

    By Michael Fein, November 1, 2006 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I cannot believe anyone would defend Allen’s staff and blame the victim. This is exactly the tactics this version of MY Republican party has been employing ever since Bush wound up in office.  Sure, there was always some inappropriate behaviour on the side of both parties since this country’s inception. I have been a Republican since 1968, and was even co-director for Richard Nixon’s Campaign in my borough of New York City.  But this is NOT the Republican party I joined. They are bullies and liars and constantly blame the victims of their errors FOR their errors.  Maybe the questions were uncomfortable for Allen, but tough shit. This is not new to politics.  Does anyone remember the uncomfortable and downright nasty questions and statments that were asked and made by the Republicans of Democratic officials and candidates?  What the hell has happened to my Republican party that has now made me embarrassed to admit I am a member?

    Report this

    By Richard Blackmoor, November 1, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    mutter ...asking someone why their divorce and arrest records are sealed or asking about a comment that Allens wife made are hardly obscene questions.  Beating up journalists for asking questions is obscene.

    Report this

    By John, November 1, 2006 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    OK…I have decided between Allen and Webb and I was truly on the fence for this one.  I voted for Allen for Governor and for the Senate.  Still I wondered if Webb and Democrats could affect change.  The more I looked for a democratic response to the problems the country faces the more I saw them expound on a persons actions over 30 years ago.(Democraps argue that Bush didn’t fight but at least he was in the military…Clinton fled the country)  We are fighting a tough war in IRAQ and the democracts are applauding Stark for seeking answers about Allens arrest in the 70’s.  If it were a serious arrest charge how could he have he been elected Gov.and Senator?  Who cares what he did in the 70’s.  His divorce is his problem.  Starke asked why Allen spit on his ex wife…a charge his
    ex-wife denied but still again what does that have to do with anything.  Does his current wife have issues with George?  Is he beating his wife and kids?  NO.  Democraps are the party of no character and no integrity. If they were they would be in office because this country has been begging for integrity and character.  The last I heard Bush wasn’t getting oral sex in the OVAL OFFICE….your PRESDIENT BILL CLINTON WAS!  Now that is character and integrity for you.
    Stark is a news seeker not a news maker and if he is a former Marine it should embrass him that 2 old men took him down so easily. 
    I think it is time for a change in this country.  I just don’t see the democraps as the the kind of change I am looking for.
    I will vote for George Allen NOT Webb.

    Report this

    By Rowdy!, November 1, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    You go Mark!

    I don’t think your question was out of line (or below the belt).  Hey, if politicians want to use their families for those “feel good” spots, then those same familes are fair game for everything else during the campaign.

    One way to avoid these types of things in the future:  ALL political ads show ONLY the politician.  No smiling and nodding wifey-poo, no proud hubby, no shining sons and daughters, no glowing parents or tail-wagging dogs.. .just the candidate, talking about his policies, NOT their opponent.

    Go get ‘em Mark!

    Report this

    By joe, November 1, 2006 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Go dude….Allen is just a comic like Bush. They cater to the low IQ set.

    Report this

    By Robert Kimbro, November 1, 2006 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    “I’ll be damned if I’ll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.”

    Well played, sir. My father was with the 82nd in Europe 43-45, Korea 51-52, and Vietnam. He has basically said the same thing, to wit: I didn’t march across Europe so these drunken frat boys could drive my country into the ground.

    Good luck in law school.

    Report this

    By John C. Bonser, November 1, 2006 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Unfortunately we saw the same strong arm tactics used in Europe during the 1930s.

    Report this

    By mutterhals, November 1, 2006 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This is just getting ridiculous. What good does it do to shout semi-obscene questions at anyone? This guy was looking to get his ass handed to him. Now he’s going to press charges? Unbelievable. You know who that benefits? Yep, you guessed it, Mike Stark. Let’s not make a martyr out of someone who is on par with those old ladies who fake fall in grocery stores.

    Report this

    By Margaret Currey, November 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Asking the man about his wife may have been below the belt, but was it up to his bouncers to put their hands on a man who was asking questions, I mean if you are in politics you should be informed that some questions about your personal life will be asked, the GOP people must have very thin skins the real issue is they are like a bunch of 2 years olds.  If you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

    Marge from Vancouver Washington

    Report this
     
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