Steven Crowder, the Fox News contributor and Breitbart acolyte who admits he went to Lansing, Michigan union protests looking for trouble and is now touting, with a lot of help from Fox News, a highly-edited video showing him getting punched by “union thugs,” was on Hannity again tonight. But this time, there was another guest who accused Crowder of pushing the man to the ground first. Hannity denied that happened. But Crowder never did.
Last night, I wrote that there was something very fishy about Crowder’s behavior as he discussed the incident on Hannity the first time. I also noted that questions have arisen about the integrity of his video. For example, the New York Times reported:
Unfortunately for Mr. Crowder, a look at the video broadcast on the Sean Hannity show appears to show quite clearly that he left out an important section of the footage when he put together his edit. A section of the Fox News broadcast preserved by the Web site Mediaite shows that Mr. Hannity’s producers at Fox News started the clip five seconds earlier than Mr. Crowder did. What the extra footage reveals is the man who punched Mr. Crowder being knocked to the ground seconds before and then getting up and taking a swing at the comedian.
There is one more anomaly in Mr. Crowder’s edit of the footage shot by his associates. The still frame he used for the clip’s title image on YouTube, which offers a much clearer image of the man punching him, was obviously shot by a second camera, from an entirely different angle than the rest of the footage he presented of the man hitting him. If Mr. Crowder wants to clear up the mystery of exactly what happened just before he was punched, it might make sense for him to release any footage of the incident shot from that second angle.
Hannity, of course, was not only completely supportive of Crowder’s version of events, he seemed downright eager to use it to inflame hostility toward liberals. Again. Hannity said the incident represents “The ugly and twisted and dark soul of liberalism,” accused the left of “becoming increasingly vicious and violent” and said the “thugs” need to be “restrained” and “arrested.” He said, “Law and order has to prevail. If it doesn’t, this violence is going to spread, there will be blood in the streets and at some point, some people may, in fact, die. Now that’s the course we are currently on.”
Yet, Hannity showed no concern about the fact that Crowder seems less than eager to press charges against his assailant. Huffington Post reported, “Asked if he planned to press charges on the man who punched him, Crowder simply said to stay tuned.” On Hannity last night, Crowder challenged his attacker to an MMA fight as an alternative to the criminal justice system. Michigander emptywheel questioned why, when the event was heavily policed and patrolled, would Crowder "go and edit a video (possibly–though I haven’t been able to confirm the time of the alleged attack–for up to 3 hours) rather than tell the cops?” Good question. Predictably, it was one Hannity didn’t ask.
Hannity noted that “union guys” have denied Crowder’s accusation that they collapsed a tent that belonged to the anti-union group Americans for Prosperity. “You were there. Video speaks for itself,” Hannity said.
But, Crowder never actually said that pro-union protesters collapsed the tent. Instead, he gave a pretense of doing so.
People can try and say I edited the video, took it out of context. OK. What about the hours upon hours of footage from hundreds of different cameras online right now? You can Google search it and find more footage than you can watch in a lifetime. This occurred over the course of 20 or 30 minutes with hundreds of people tearing down the tent with women in there yelling ‘Tear down one more tent. Tear down one more tent.’ Cussing them out. Making death threats. It’s all over the internet. Please Google it. I encourage you to.
He also never says outright that his video is an accurate depiction of what happened nor that other videos will back him up. This is classic deceptive behavior.
However, as much of a lapdog as Hannity was, his other guest, Andy Sullivan, of BlueCollarCorner,com, was a plain-talking union man who simply, directly and effectively challenged Crowder. The fact that Hannity and/or his producers felt the need to have another point of view suggests that Fox, too, has some doubts about Crowder’s credibility.
Sullivan is no liberal. He’s a Romney-supporting, “Ground Zero Mosque” antagonist and is or was running for some kind of public office because he is concerned we have become a nation of dependency. He said Crowder "deserved what (he) got."
Unlike Crowder, Sullivan, was to the point. He said the video was “very well edited.” He said that in a clip he had previously seen, the man who punched Crowder was first pushed to the ground by him.
It wasn't clear if the clip on the show was the same clip Sullivan was referencing. If it was, I could not tell if Crowder had pushed the man. But what was unmistakeable was that Crowder did not deny that he had. Instead, he started yelling that the man went down because he was “attacking a tent.”
Sullivan obviously didn’t buy it (and it did not seem to be so in the video). He asked skeptically, “And what were you doing?” to Crowder.
Once again, Crowder gave an evasive response that did not specifically answer the question:
We were there trying to prevent people from being hurt in the tent. You are a liar, Sir!
Crowder was smirking as he said it. Displaying inappropriate emotions, such as smiling when denying committing a serious crime, are further signs of deception.
Again, Crowder changed the subject:
You are being swallowed. Your unions are being swallowed. These are babies flailing before being put to bed. They are violent. This was not an isolated event. Look around you, man. This was the event!
Sullivan said, "You should be so proud taking pot shots at these people who are terrified about losing their jobs and livelihood. OK? That’s what they’re doing."
Instead of challenging the taking of potshots, Crowder said, "Do you know what a potshot is? Do you know what a potshot is?"
Sullivan said: "These people are desperate. They are scared."
Crowder sat back with a look of smug amusement that seemed out of place from someone supposedly upset about being assaulted.
Hannity interrupted to say, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Steven, you didn’t push anybody.” Hannity said that Crowder sent him the raw tape and that he had reviewed it thoroughly.
But Crowder didn’t say he never pushed anyone. He said to Hannity, “You have the unedited tape.”
Just how complete and accurate the “unedited tape” is I don’t know. But that was the only clear, declarative answer that Crowder offered during the interview. In fact, he continued deflecting immediately thereafter.
Listen, it was a melee there. People – everyone was grabbing and pulling and trying to keep the tent from being torn down, OK? That was a melee. Now listen, if I were to walk up to someone, put my face in their face and say, ‘Unions suck, nanny nanny, boo boo,’ that still doesn’t merit four shots to the face. As far as people being afraid? These union thugs being afraid? You know what? They should be afraid. And they should be afraid because unions threaten their own job security.
From there, the discussion veered away to discussing unions and union leadership because Hannity was fascinated by Sullivan’s criticisms of union leaders.
But at the end, Hannity reiterated that union members “still attacked Steven.”
Sullivan retorted, “After Steven had his hands on his back and the guy got up…”
Crowder interrupted but he didn’t deny the accusation. He said, “They tore down a tent! With women and children in it. It’s not me! It’s the hundreds of people who were in a tent. Come on, man. Let’s be honest.”
I agree with Crowder that no matter what he may have said, it doesn't justify getting punched. But if he wants to hold himself up as some kind of credible witness of union thuggery, he needs to be completely aboveboard about what happened and work hand-in-hand with the criminal justice system instead of actively circumventing it.