(What? Michelle Malkin wrong again? Say it isn’t so! – promoted by ThillyWabbit)
After the disagreements that erupted this weekend in the Pols’ post about anti-healthcare reform protests, in particular the disruption of a town hall meeting in St. Louis, I stopped particpating in fact-starved insult exchanges and started Googling.
There are some very serious problems with claims that union members at this event “beat up” a right-wing protester with no provocation. According to many sources, an SEIU member and pastor, Rev. Elston McCowan, was attacked first by right-wing protesters, and others intervened to protect him. And then there’s the matter of this right-winger’s “injuries.” Here’s a photo the SEIU is distributing to help clear up what was tough to see in the blurry YouTube video:
At the beginning of the video in question, you can see a man on the ground wearing a purple shirt. This is Rev. McCowan, NOT protester Kenneth Gladney as some have claimed. In the four photos shown above you can see McCowan getting up and holding his shoulder. You can also see Gladney up and walking around – the same man shown later in the weekend in a wheelchair, described as “too injured to speak.” No kidding?
Media Matters for America picks up the story here:
Inventing tales of a union “beating”
Mary Katharine Ham wrote up an especially excited write-up at The Weekly Standard about the vicious union thugs and how Gladney was severely beaten. The only mistake Ham made was including a YouTube clip of the incident; a clip that pretty much undercuts the entire tale of run-away union violence.
Go watch the YouTube video. (Or, the “shocking video,” as Power Line hypes it.) The first thing you notice when the camera starts rolling is a union member already sprawled out on the ground with somebody standing over him. No explanation of how he got there (pushed, shoved, punched?) and Ham couldn’t care less. Then yes, Gladney is pulled to the ground by somebody wearing a union shirt. (At the :06 mark.) But instead of Gladney being beaten and punched, as his attorney describes, and instead of union “thugs” standing over him and threatening him, Gladney bounces right back on his feet in approximately two seconds and the scuffle ends.
That was the savage “beating” the conservative blogosphere can’t stop talking about?
The only real mystery from the incident is why Tea Party member Gladney, who’s seen up-close after the brief encounter walking around and talking to people and who appears to be injury-free, then decided to go to the hospital to treat injuries to his “knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face.” All that from a two-second fall to the pavement?
Also unclear is why he contacted a newspaper reporter, or why his attorney wrote up lavish accounts and sent them to conservative bloggers, or why Gladney and his attorney appeared on Fox News.
Strictly my opinion: when I was in middle school, there was this kid who loved to get in fights with smaller kids. But the thing is, whenever he got caught beating up a smaller kid, he would launch into this pathetic tearful defense, insisting that the other kid had “started it” and the he was just “defending himself.” The fact that he purposefully went over to the younger kids’ playground to “defend himself” every day, and that every other kid present saw him acting belligerently toward the smaller kid, helped the principal to figure out the truth over time. He was eventually expelled.
What we have here really isn’t any different. You have a group of kids intent on crashing another groups’ party, shouting down discussion, starting fistfights outside, and then blaming the ones who hosted the party for their own violent actions.
And then here, on this blog, you have those who, directly or deceptively, support the actions of these violent fringe elements because it fits their agenda. They don’t want to actually be held responsible for the violence, or the crazy lies being told about health care reform, but they are happy to enable it. Use it for their purposes. And defend it, even if that means subsidizing a lie and casting aspersions to excuse violence.
Which, if you ask me, is only a couple of steps above throwing the punches yourself.