Last month, in a bizarre episode befitting Idaho's 1st District, Congressman Walt Minnick was caught on video running from Huffington Post and FireDogLake blogger Mike Stark who was on Capitol Hill questioning congressmen about where they stood on the Birther Conspiracy. In explaining why his boss ran from the blogger (who at one point Minnick even called "the scum of the earth"), spokesman John Foster wrote in a comment here at MGR, "When the guy jumped out with a video camera, Walt assumed he was one of the many 'tracker' types who pretend to be part of some pseudo news organization while harassing people on The Hill."
Earlier Foster attempted to difuse criticism by responding to the Idaho Statesman in part, "Walt answers to the people of Idaho, not people with cameras ambushing Congressmen on Independence Avenue."
Except two months earlier that's exactly what Walt did.
Only that time it was a "video reporter" from CNSNews.com, an arm of Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, whose mission, they say, is to expose liberal media bias and neutralize it. (If that sounds vaguely familiar, MRC members are regulars on hate-talker Zeb Bell's "Zeb at the Ranch.") CNSNews carries the tagline, "The Right News. Right now" in case there was any confusion about the angle from which they approach their work.
In May, Nicholas Ballasy of CNSNews was on Capitol Hill interviewing congressmen for reactions to the firestorm swirling around Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that she had been misled by the CIA on the extent to which torture techniques were being used on detainees. A couple of congressmen did run but that time not Walt Minnick. That time Walt stood and gave a clear response.
Since these incidents, Walt accepted an invitation and appeared at a town hall meeting hosted by TEA Party Boise, the organizers of which espouse many fringe views, including that the country is verging on Fascism and the birther conspiracy theory. One even landed in jail for pointing a handgun at a homeowner just days before the event. This appearance did not produce the raucous crowds seen in other townhalls held across the country but it did prompt some to question Walt's motives for pandering to this crowd while derogatorily dismissing the most reliably Democratic neighborhood in Idaho.
It also prompted some to wonder again why Minnick was running from Mike Stark. This new information only adds more questions.
Did Walt's aversion to "ambush journalism" develop in the two months between the two incidents? Did the viewpoint of the two organizations—the liberal Huffington Post/FireDogLake; the conservative CNSNews—influence Walt's reaction? Did it have something to do with the topic or, in the case of Stark, what it might presumably be? Why did he call one "the scum of the earth" but respond politely to the other? Is Walt really the bona fide conservative he appears to be?
Maybe Walt could provide some answers at some point, if he's not too out of breath.>