There’s something a little too James O’Keefe about Steven Crowder’s “I got assaulted by the vicious, leftist union supporters in Michigan” story. Part of it is that like O’Keefe, Crowder is an Andrew Breitbart acolyte, now palling around the Michigan union protests with the Breitbartian Lee Stranahan - who still loves scamster O’Keefe. Secondly, like O’Keefe, Crowder admitted to embarking on his video project with a hostile agenda. Thirdly, the integrity of the video of the assault on Crowder has come into question.
I doubt I’ll be able to shed much light on what happened to Crowder at the protest of "right to work" legislation in Michigan. And let me state unequivocally that no matter how much I despise Crowder (and let me assure you I detest him with every bone in my body), I do not condone any violence toward him no matter what he did. However, that doesn’t mean he is necessarily blameless. Or acting in good faith.
For a guy who just got beat up, Crowder couldn’t have looked more pleased with himself on Hannity last night, like the proverbial cat who swallowed the canary.
He said the beating was “completely physically unprovoked.” Then with a goofy, comedian expression, he sneered, “ Apparently, I provoked it by asking them why they’re against ‘right to work.’ By asking them, 'What about someone in Michigan who might want to work for a company and might not want to join a union?' And then, of course, I asked them as they were consistently destroying private property, with people in the tent… I asked them to stop… Apparently, I did provoke the four unanswered punches directly to my face. Call me a provocateur, Sean.”
I don’t know about you but if I went to a demonstration and merely asked some tough questions and wound up getting assaulted, I would not have had such a smarmy, smug attitude. I’d be upset, angry and give details about exactly what happened and my own non-aggressive, unthreatening behavior. Well, OK, we’re all different. But then Crowder said he’s working with Andrew Breitbart even “in death” and added ominously, “Right now, it’s a very serious line being drawn, Sean.”
It sounded like a page right out of Andrew Breitbart’s “war against the institutional left.” So did Crowder’s later remark:
I want to make something very clear here, Sean. I never went out here to try and be assaulted, as leftists might say. I went out here to prove the left for who they truly are. Certainly, these union thugs. And I’ve achieved that.
So how had he planned to prove "union thugs" "for who they truly are?” By just “asking questions?” Crowder didn’t say and Hannity didn’t ask.
Talking Points Memo (h/t/ Aria) reported that Eddie Vale, spokesperson for the AFL-CIO, has said the protest was "almost universally peaceful and calm." Furthermore:
“While of course we do not condone the actions taken by a small group of people, the disciples of James O’Keefe were attempting to instigate the crowd all day,” Vale said, referring to the right-wing, video-camera-wielding provocateur. “As soon as the incident happened our marshals worked with the police to move the AFP people through the crowd to safety with no injuries.”
In fact, the video shown on Hannity seemed to show protesters intervening on Crowder's behalf. But Crowder didn't bring it up and Hannity showed no interest in Vale's perspective.
In his obituary of Andrew Breitbart, New York Times media critic David Carr wrote that when Breitbart was first reported dead, many who knew him thought it was a prank:
After a lifetime of pranks, capers and so many people wishing him dead, it would have been just like Mr. Breitbart to stage his own demise.
…Mr. Breitbart specialized in teasing a small ember of a story, whether it was an inconsistency or a gaffe, and dumping gasoline on it until it blew up — sometimes on him, sometimes on others. “If you do a good enough job, you can force them to make a mistake,” he wrote in his book. “When they do, you must be ready to exploit it.”
Those passages seemed eerily relevant as Crowder, supposedly rattled by his encounter with the vicious thugs, blatantly exploited it into a self-aggrandizing and hostile stunt – in which he presumably planned to beat his attacker to a pulp.
I just want to say one thing really importantly. I am issuing an ultimatum right now. They are trying to find this man who assaulted me, find this man who assaulted other people and you have a choice. You can come forward, I’ll press charges, you’ll go to jail. Or, since you wanted to cheap shot me, we can host a bout in a sanctioned, legalized, MMA competition where the winner will get the money to go to the charity of his choice. So all of this money that has been raised to have this man prosecuted and put in jail? I will match that and donate it to the union of his choice. It’s your choice: jail or face me like a man, one on one, legally. And I am easy to find.
Now that’s just bizarre. What is this, MMA at the OK Corral?
Of course, Hannity didn’t mind that Crowder was looking to subvert the criminal justice process and turn it into a vigilante circus.
Hannity said admitingly, “I’ve known you for a very long time. You are actually very well equipped to protect yourself. You decided not to fight back… You do have the ability to fight back.”
Let me say a couple of things, Sean. First thing, it would prove nothing and secondly… I literally believe, Sean, that if I had defended myself at all, even flicked a small little jab, that they would have killed me where I stood. I have never seen this kind of angry, vitriolic hatred.”
With a hideous, Joker’s smile, he said, “Maybe I deserve it, Sean.”
The actual uncut version of the Crowder instigation video was reviewed by the County Prosecutor (Stuart Dunnings) in 2013. Dunnings noted of the union man shoved by Crowder, “It’s pretty clear the person that they wanted to charge was acting in self-defense." Dunnings also wondered why Crowder didn’t provide the unedited footage to the prosecutors if he wanted to press charges: “I’m not holding that against him, but why would they provide the edited video? The longer video clearly shows the guy got pushed down and came up swinging." And the result was that Crowder’s nonsense was laughed out of discussion and never even made it to a courtroom. Essentially, Crowder started a fight, got punched in the face and was unsuccessful in his attempts to monetize the situation for himself. As someone noted here back when this was recent, Crowder got himself punched in the face for nothing.
Adam is forced to admit that his own account of the “thugs” destroying tents and attacking “women in children” is not based on the actual footage but rather from his own opinions about it.
Adam also foolishly admits that he would enjoy provoking union members and trying to parlay that into some kind of notoriety.
Unions have done a heck of a lot more for workers than get people their weekends. It’s because of unions that most workers have better working conditions, decent pay and benefits. I’m a member of both the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA. Thanks to the DGA, I am paid on a solid basis for my work, I have strong medical coverage and I am building a good pension. Were it not for the existence of the DGA, I would be required to work for far less with no coverage and no pension.
Adam’s nonsensical comparison aside, the NRA really does make major donations to Right Wing candidates, and they do collect on them. Whether Adam wants to admit it or not.
The tape shows the first guy in the midst of falling down while Crowder is standing over him. The guy then gets up and comes directly at Crowder, swinging. There are several other people there, but the guy is aiming specifically for Crowder, who then panics and backs up with his arms raised. Further, Crowder has admitted he was pushing people, trying to say in his defense that he was trying to keep them from pulling down the tent. Further, other eyewitnesses noted him being as provocative as he could.
Granted, Crowder has not actually said the words, “I pushed the guy to the ground”, which is understandable, since such an admission could get him jailed for assault.
I find it interesting that you think the guy that swung at him would be all over MSNBC right now after everyone has seen him on tape in a clear fit of anger swinging punches at Crowder. You forget that most people have condemned this guy’s behavior just as much as people have been skeptical of Crowder’s assertions.
Crowder’s bizarre behavior since the event, including challenging the guy to a MMA fight in public, is not the approach a genuinely assaulted interviewer would take. It would be understandable if the person was more of a publicity seeker trying to make hay out of a situation they provooked, but it wouldn’t make sense for a real journalist to take such an action. Nor does it make sense to think that Crowder’s version of this situation holds much water.
The evidence of the shove is on the tape, the slightly longer version that Fox inadvertantly aired, showing that first guy in the midst of going down and Crowder standing over him. The guy then gets up and charges at Crowder, swinging, while Crowder panics and backs up with his hands up.
Further evidence comes from Crowder’s own admissions that he was pushing people. Further evidence is starting to come from the eyewitnesses who noted that Crowder was extremely aggressive in trying to provoke people in the crowd into violence. Keep in mind that he waded into a hostile crowd that he knew was emotionally wound up about the situation and deliberately tried to provoke them. It’s understandable that they were shouting at him – they were angry about what was happening and he was deliberately trying to push their buttons.
Nothing justifies violence, but it makes sense that after Crowder crossed the line and began pushing people in addition to insulting them, a couple of the guys lost their composure and reacted to Crowder’s pushing and shoving. I agree that they should have simply called one of the many policemen over and had Crowder arrested, but as I noted, this was an extremely emotional situation. So they reacted badly and Crowder pushed himself into a fistfight that he was clearly going to lose on camera. So he made the best Breitbart moment he could. Unfortunately for him, most people pay better attention than he was hoping.
It’s becoming clear that Crowder wasn’t just calmly asking questions. He was apparently trying to create a video for the direct purpose of Breitbarting the situation. The witnesses are noting him being quite aggressive – not violent until he started shoving, but aggressive.
The thing to keep in mind here is that if he laid a hand on anyone, even to put a hand on their shoulder as he can be seen in the video to to be doing, his account totally falls apart. The second he made physical contact with the protesters, he was invading their physical space and initiating a physical confrontation. If he started it, and it appears he did so, then what happened here is definitely not assault.
And actually read this article, and the links. There’s plenty of testimony, as well as evidence that Crowder’s lying.
The point about naming a dog “Vicious Killer” is that it indicates your awareness (or lack of) of the effect such a dog name may have on your neighbors. In this case, it may say less about the dog in question than about the sensibilities of the owner. But again, to each their own. If you feel it’s okay to do that, I guess it works for you.
I need to ask if you have actually watched what llittle snippets of video Crowder provided. Did you notice him getting into the shoving match with the first man, who he knocked down and who then swung at him? Did you notice the jarring edits that indicate he was trying to remove footage that didn’t back up his story? This is a typical maneuver for someone in the school of Breitbart or O’Keefe.
You ask if anyone has come forward. I have to ask the same question – since Crowder not only didn’t ask for a policeman and didn’t try to have the man he says assaulted him arrested, but also has now tried to challenge this mystery man to a public fight. If a serious assault happened in the middle of a day where the police were quite present and in fact used pepper spray on protesters, why is it that the only people talking about it are right wing pundits? Does this make any sense to you? Had such an assault happened, everyone in the area would have been picked up by the local cops and we’d be hearing about the charges.
You assume an edited video is “proof he was attacked” and you follow that with “cant dispute that.” I would strongly recommend you think about that statement. You’re relying on edited material, and you’re talking without knowing the rest of the facts. You compound your first assumption by then assuming you know the thoughts and intentions of other people on this board, whom you have never met and do not know. Assumption is never a reliable basis for argument.
And you should know that while I can’t speak for anyone else, I can’t understand why anyone would enjoy watching someone getting in a fistfight. I don’t condone violence, nor do I condone Crowder’s behavior, which clearly included some violence on his own part. I don’t say that he “deserved” to be hit – I say that he deliberately tried to incite a riot and then edited out the parts of the video that would tells us what really happened. If there was nothing on the video but him trying to reason with “those violent people”, don’t you think he would have included the whole, unedited video? Aren’t you the least bit curious about what he edited out and why he did so?
Finally, you should be aware that this isn’t even an issue anywhere but Fox News and various right wing sites and shows. The reason you don’t see a whole bunch of people coming forward to correct Mr. Crowder is because they have much more important things to do with their time.
And no, we don’t really know what happened. To what other “eyewitness reports” are you referring when you make your statement? The only “video evidence” that’s been shown has been Crowder’s willfully edited video. There are crucial sections missing that could easily explain what happened here – and if Crowder was truly interested in showing what happened, he would just release the full, unedited tape and let everyone see it. I find it interesting that you believe you know that “not one single person that was there” is taking one position or another when you weren’t there and the only “evidence” you can point to is this incomplete record.
I just watched what little video Crowder gave to Fox again five minutes ago. You can clearly see him in the middle of a shoving match with the guy in the darker coat. He apparently throws the other guy to the ground, after which that guy gets up and starts swinging at him, resulting in Crowder frantically backing up and putting up his hands in a suppliant gesture. Of course, the video is roughly edited before the moment Crowder throws the first guy down, and it cuts away before the second guy (in the lighter coat) gets involved.
I find it unfortunate that you believe it’s “hilarious” to see someone like Crowder provoking people and engaging in violence. But perhaps this goes part and parcel with giving any dog a name like “Vicious Killer”. Please take some time to examine this.
Based on this material, it is equally possible to conclude that he actually started the fight with the first guy and then went and hid behind his buddies when it was clearly going badly for him. He’s already admitted that he went there specifically to provoke people, and the presence of the tent was clearly intended as a bigger provocation. We won’t know until we see more accurate footage exactly what happened here. For all we know, Crowder and his buddies set off this melee, including pulling down their own tent and trying to blame it on the protesters.
Unless you were there and can provide us with some eyewitness testimony as well as video proof to corroborate Crowder’s story, there’s no reason to deem it true. As I pointed out before, the Breitbart model is one of deceptive omissions. And the fact that the active police presence there made no note of this situation, as well as the fact that Crowder is not actually taking any legal action but instead wants to challenge someone to another public fight, makes your unfounded opinion here very difficult for anyone to defend.
As for the attack on the tent, the video is unclear as to what is going on. I find it interesting that the supports were apparently being removed by the AFP’s own people. Further, the tent itself appears to have been placed there as an act of provocation and the women you refer to were placed inside to provide cover for the guys who were trying to incite the crowd.
There are clearly key moments missing from the video footage, and one has to wonder why Crowder didn’t just include a complete ten minute tape of what he was doing and what the crowd was doing. (And that’s assuming his behavior took as long as ten minutes.) What did Crowder edit out of the tape, and why did he do so? This is why the Breitbart questions are important. Andrew Breitbart was a master of the mislead, as is James O’Keefe. Both were provocateurs, usually trying to trick their enemies into saying or doing things on camera that would support the right wing talking points.
For this reason, it is very important that we actually see footage taken by other people of Crowder’s behavior. I believe it will show he was saying and doing a lot more than just asking a couple of questions and then meekly backing off before getting into a fight with one of the guys. And the footage appears to show Crowder actually engaging with one of the guys in a fight and then hiding behind his buddies. I can’t tell what the other guy who stepped in did. And given that Crowder was getting a cogent discussion about the union’s issues from the first speaker before he suddenly cuts to another guy yelling at him, one has to wonder what Crowder said afterward to incite the yelling.
Crowder’s smug attitude when interviewed does not indicate he was in any distress. The fact that the police took no action here, when they were quite active in the area pepper spraying various protesters, indicates that this was not an assault at all, and that the police didn’t think there was anything going on. The fact is that Crowder’s official actions have been not to actually press charges and follow the law but instead to try to make a spectacle of himself with his strange challenge. When you add everything up, it doesn’t tell the story that Crowder would like gullible viewers to believe.
And, regardless of any “agenda,” you’re also not supposed to lie when you don’t have actual evidence. Let’s not forget—it was NOT the Jews who blew up the Reichstag but Hitler was certainly able to convince an entire country of their “guilt” (without a single shred of factual evidence).
Start with that.
@Alan: Nice catch, but you really should provide a link.
Oh, and how nice of Gateway Pundit to try pinning the tent collapse on the IBEW, conveniently forgetting that it’s reported both Union and AFP witnesses told the police that they saw the AFP compromising their own supports, while taking orders from a “suspicious man wearing an NRA jacket.” Links to that are in the KOS and TPM articles.
Ok, done posting- thanks for the updates, people who posted them!
1) Crowder refused to submit the video of his assault to the police. On Dana Loesch’s radio show, he told her he would rather show it to his fans. He then presented his ultimatum there, too- and it sounded vaguely like a threat the way he presented it to her.
2) Crowder also said both to Loesch and on Twitter that he’s not pressing charges against the guy. After saying that the guy told him he was coming back with his friends and a gun to kill him. When people tried to ask him why he was keeping the law out of a potentially lethal stalker that had already physically assaulted him, he deleted his tweet.
3) Most importantly- the Americans for Prosperity tent that he was conveniently standing next to, and had that obviously staged video of the people inside? Witnesses told the police that they saw the AFP weakening their own tent, aided by a man who claimed to be representing the NRA (huh?).
If you watch the video he gave to Breitbart.com, there’s one thing no amount of splicing could ever cover up: He was staging his ruckus so that people were facing anywhere but the tent. The case that he was in on staging the tent attack, and the person who hit him was an actor. Union leaders who were at the protest, including the city’s head of the AFL-CIO offered to help the police find his attacker…
Crowder didn’t cooperate.
The case for this being an O’Keefe he set up with Lee Stranahan (who conveniently was the cameraman) grows stronger literally at the speed I can find new accounts. Even the AFP people think this seems a little too “Hollywood.”