Brian Ross Received 'Mafia'-Style Bruising From Bachmann Staff

He asked one too many questions about her migraines

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Here's one way to deal with a nagging reporter. At a campaign event in Aiken, South Carolina, bodyguards of Michele Bachmann reportedly gave ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross one of the roughest manhandlings the 62-year-old reporter's ever gotten. Ross had been trying to ask Bachmann about a story published last night about her allegedly debilitating migraines. But things quickly got out of hand as Time magazine's Michael Crowley observed at the event:

Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she continued to ignore him.

Afterward, I asked Ross — a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken — whether he had ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by mafia people.”

Did Ross deserve it? That's a tough sell. But the notion that her migraines should be off limits has been vigorously debated this afternoon. Amusingly, the encounter will likely become a viral video hit in the coming days. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent spoke with ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey Schneider who said "we were videotaping Brian asking questions. I'm sure it will find its way on to our web site at some point." Disappointingly, what is on ABC News's site is a straight-nosed report from Ross in which he merely notes that Bachmann's security staff "blocked reporters when they tried to follow her and answer further questions." C'mon, Brian! Embrace the first-person narrative!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.