Yesterday, I wrote about how Americans for Prosperity representatives helped knock down their own tent on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol building during an anti-Right to Work for Less rally there. Subsequent to posting that piece, I was alerted to comments on Reddit by user “mtalna”. You can read those comments HERE. What is evident from the comments is that there is a lot of editing that has gone on with the videos Fox News is now running in nearly constant rotation making it look like all of the violence and hostility at the rally yesterday came from union members. As it turns out, significant portions of it were faked and creative Breitbart-style editing helped it along much more.
This morning I spoke with “mtalna”. “mtalana” is Matt Allen from Fowlerville, MI. He’s an 18-year college student and not a union member. He assisted me in putting this piece together and was present for the conversation that happens in the first minutes of the first video below.
This video is actually a composite of a things that happened over the course of the day, many of them hours apart. The initial conversation happened early in the morning. At about 0:16, it cuts to Crowder saying, “You’ve already destroyed one tent, leave this one alone.” That happened hours after the interview with the union workers that starts the segment. The guy he’s talking to is standing quite a distance from the tent but Crowder insists that he’s somehow tearing down the tent.
Selective editing at about 0:39 mark shows what appears to be union guy attacking Crowder for no apparent reason. However, if you look closely, you’ll see that the guy is getting up off the ground — that he was NOT the one that became aggressive first.
At about 1:13, as the tent is coming down, Crowder comes over to the cameraman and waves him off as if to say, “that’s enough filming.”
What they apparently don’t want you to see is union members using knives to cut the tent open to let people inside out. Rather, the message that is being sent by the conservative media and blogosphere is that the union members deliberately cut the tent to pieces in an act of malicious vandalism. As Matt Allen points out in his comments HERE, the union members actually ask, “Is everybody out?” and then proceed to make sure that they are.
At 1:49 in the longer video, one union members notes that an AFP guy has a gun and brags that he’s “killed plenty of mother fuckers with a gun” (i.e., he’s killed people who were in possession of guns.) This is being played up as if a UNION MEMBER had a gun. Not true.
If you want to see a blatant act of theater on Crowder’s part, keep watching that segment. At 2:07, Crowder asks the cameraman “are you recording this?” The cameraman answers, “Yes”, then Crowder acts as if he’s being roughly shoved back into the crowd unprovoked. If you watch closely, the guy who supposedly pushed him has his hands by his side.
For those who have accused me of defending violence by union members, I don’t. It pisses me off to no end that these people allowed themselves to be manipulated by Americans for Prosperity and Fox News and incited into doing stupid shit that gives ALL union members a bad name even though the stupid shit was done by only a small handful out of the 15,000+ people that attended the rally and behaved perfectly calm.
That said, there is no question in my mind whatsoever that AFP and Fox employees set out to incite a huge crowd of very angry people.