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After His Security Force Handcuffs A Progressive Blogger, Joe Miller Heads To Fox News For Republican Rehab

Reported by Ellen - October 19, 2010 -

Alaska’s Republican Senate candidate, Joe Miller, took his press-avoidance issues to new lengths Sunday night (10/17/10) when his private security detail handcuffed and detained an editor of Alaska Dispatch who was aggressively questioning him after a town hall meeting. But when the incident became what Neil Cavuto called “all the talk” on Monday (10/18/10), Miller ran to where else? Fox News, of course. In this case, Miller ran to Cavuto’s Your World show where only friendly questions were asked.

According to the Anchorage Daily News,

Alaska Dispatch's Tony) Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at Central Middle School until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release Hopfinger.

…Hopfinger, who was holding a small video camera, said he was attempting to draw out a statement from Miller on why he was disciplined by the Fairbanks North Star Borough when Miller worked there as a part-time attorney. After Miller walked away, Hopfinger said, he was surrounded by Miller supporters and security guards and felt threatened, so he pushed one of them away.

(The owner of the security company) said the man shoved by Hopfinger was not hurt.

Hopfinger said that after he shoved the man away, the guards grabbed him, cuffed his hands behind his back with steel handcuffs and sat him in a chair in the school hallway, Hopfinger said.

After Hopfinger was detained, the security guards refused to allow the Anchorage Daily News to talk to him. ADN shot video of the guards’ thuggish response to their attempts to investigate and report. You can watch that video below.

The incident raises some troubling questions about Miller’s views on the First Amendment, especially given his stance as a Constitutionalist extraordinaire. But, not surprisingly, Cavuto had no such concerns. Nor did he show any interest in the issue Hopfinger was asking Miller about: disciplinary action taken against him when, as a public attorney, he used government computers for his election fundraising, which Alaska Dispatch has been investigating.

Cavuto’s first question set the tone with its suggestion that the negative press had misrepresented the situation: “Joe, what really happened here with this guy?”

Miller chuckled. “Well, we don’t know what he was up to, except he was doing things in a very unruly way.” Miller later said he thought the incident “was probably planned” by Hopfinger. Cavuto showed no skepticism about that claim.

Miller said that at the town hall, “people could come in and just kind of, in a free flow way, ask questions.”

Yeah, “free flow” so long as Miller liked the questions. Anchorage Daily News noted that Miller interrupted one questioner to accuse her of being a supporter of one of Miller’s opponents and refused to discuss his personal history with her.

Miller told Cavuto that the middle school venue where the town hall was held required him to have security. But Alaska Disptach reported that while Miller was required to have a security plan (for monitors to watch parking, people at the doors, etc.), private security guards were not necessary.

One gets the sense from Miller’s account to Cavuto that Miller just didn’t like Hopfinger or his reporting. Miller complained Hopfinger was “just being a real pain” and “was asked to leave.” Miller also told Cavuto, “The reason why this whole thing is kind of curious, …this same individual… actually followed me into the restroom.” (The Wall Street Journal notes that Hopfinger disputes this). Miller also whined that Alaska Dispatch “has had a history of being quite unfair in its approach to our campaign and so this kind of behavior, I guess, shouldn’t be taken as a surprise.”

Cavuto made no challenge to Miller’s version of events and made no apparent attempt to do any independent investigation. Otherwise, Cavuto might have reported on a witness who came forward to criticize Miller’s handling of the incident, saying it turned her off from being a “big supporter” of Miller.

Cavuto also seemed to know or care nothing about the thuggish behavior toward the ADN reporter. Cavuto said credulously, “So he (Hopfinger) was asking you a little bit about some of this fundraising controversy, and we’ve chatted about this in the past, but, but he wouldn’t leave you alone and that’s when the charges came up that your guys, your security sort of did like the Tony Soprano thing. You’re saying they did not.”

Cavuto’s “balance” was asking Miller how he’d answer his critics. “So when some of the people challenging you say, ‘Well, this is a First Amendment deal and your guys were thwarting that and you’re the candidate… that seems to be acquiescing that,’ you say what?”

Miller said he was the “most transparent candidate... That town hall meeting was full of people with questions and we answered ‘em. So, if anybody’s gonna talk about the First Amendment, we’re huge proponents of it. And we like to have that free exchange of ideas.”

Right. Just so long as the questions and the way they’re asked and where suit him.

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