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At Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller's event, an editor for the Alaska Dispatch was reportedly arrested and handcuffed by the candidate's private security detail after a scuffle. The editor, Tony Hopfinger, was pursuing Miller with a video camera to ask a question regarding the the candidate's time as a part-time attorney. Not surprisingly, Miller's campaign and the blogger at the Alaska Dispatch disagree about how the events unfolded. The campaign alleged that "the blogger physically assaulted another individual and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate." Hopfinger contends he "felt threatened" by the security guards "so he pushed one of them away." Regardless of who's at fault, the imagery of using a private security detail to handcuff a journalist may hurt Miller's bid to unseat incumbent Lisa Murkowski.

  • Lisa Murkoswki Is Already 'Doing Her Best to Make It An Issue' notes Politico's Ben Smith. "I'd only note that 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."
  • How Can Hopfinger Be Trespassing at a Public Event? wonders Washington Monthly's Steve Benen. "I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how it's possible for a member of the media to be "trespassing" at an event open to the public, and held on public property....Miller, a fringe lawyer, is running on a platform premised on his alleged love of the Constitution. He may want to re-read that part about the Bill of Rights."
  • 'This Would Have Never Happened in New York' figures Dan Amira at New York magazine's Daily Intel. In New York, "When a reporter gets in your face, you don't get rattled and put him in handcuffs. You just vaguely allude to murdering him."
  • Hopfinger Was Probably Obnoxious, But So What? Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway argues "If one is going to run for the Senate, then reporters are going to ask questions. I have little doubt that Hopfinger was being obnoxious from Miller’s point of view (a blogger and his video camera and all), but that comes with the territory. Second, even if Hopfinger could be said to have been trespassing...then surely he could have a) been escorted from the property, or b) the police could have been called. The notion that a candidate’s private security details could handcuff a private citizen and take possession of his camera strikes me as highly problematic."
  • I Was There: Here's My Version of What Happened according to Red Country's Thomas Lamb who was present at the event. "Hopfinger was aggressive in his pursuit - Miller's security was trying to keep Hopfinger from Miller's path and at a distance so Miller could leave. As Miller's security tried to push Hopfinger out of Miller's path and keep him at a distance, Hopfinger kept pushing in on Miller. Miller then reversed course and as he did, Tony began to follow Miller - two men in Miller's security detail stayed back and the scuffle between Hopfinger and the security detail began as a shoving match."
  • And (via TPM) Joe Miller's Democratic Opponent Scott McAdam's Responds By Tweet

@JoeWMiller - in case you were unaware, the Constitution also applies to reporters #Ak #AkSenless than a minute ago via web

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