The Palin Model, Ctd

Her anointed candidate for the Senate from Alaska, Joe Miller, had his security goons grab an Alaska Dispatch blogger, Tony Hopfinger, and handcuffed him as he tried to get Miller to answer a question as he left an open forum. Ben Smith notes:

This isn't exactly the first time a reporter has ever chased a politician out of an event, shouting questions. Indeed, that's how almost every political event ends. And while I get the partisan impulse to defend Miller, imagine if [Martha] Coakley's staff had not just shoved, but handcuffed and detained, that Standard reporter.

Here's the context:

Hopfinger was reportedly pressing Miller on whether the candidate had ever been reprimanded for politicking while working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. Alaska Dispatch and other media have sued for the release of records related Miller's time at the borough. Various accounts of what happened next generally agree on this course of events:

  • Two or three bodyguards told Hopfinger to stop asking questions and to leave the building.
  • Hopfinger continued to ask questions while apparently videotaping the candidate.
  • Bodyguards told him that if he persisted they would arrest him for trespassing, but refused to identify themselves to Hopfinger.
  • Hopfinger asked why he was trespassing, as the event was at a public school. Seconds later, he was then put in arm-bar and later handcuffed and sequestered at one end of a hallway for at least 30 minutes. He was told, "You're under arrest."
  • Anchorage Police arrived on the scene shortly after.

The cops let Hopfinger go with no charges. The ADN story here; Miller campaign's version here ("the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent"):

William Fulton from Dropzone Security Services said Hopfinger should have known from the "Joe Miller for Senate" signs outside Central Junior High School that the town hall meeting -- to which Miller invited citizens on the internet sites Facebook and Twitter -- was a private event. "They leased it for a private event," said Fulton. "It wasn't a public place."

This would be a relatively small kerfuffle in my view if it didn't reflect the core of the Palin model of politics: bypass the non-Republican media entirely, refuse to answer questions or be accountable for factual errors, always sequester candidates in docile, friendly crowds, and, if necessary, restrain, hold back or even physically assault journalists doing their job. It scares me.