USAT-Carried Report on Crowder Assault, AFP Tent Tear-Down: 'No Reported Injuries'

Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn't scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.

The pair's actual report carries a misleading headline ("Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests") directly contradicted in their dispatch's content ("The right-to-work legislation ... makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment"). But it's their description of Tuesday's incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report's biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):


Crowds tore down two large tents that had been set up on the Capitol's front lawn, one for right-to-work supporters, who were greatly outnumbered among the demonstrators, and another for opponents. No one was reported injured.

If there's other evidence that right-to-work opponents had a tent torn down by "crowds" (except in normal post-event takedown), I haven't seen it.

It wasn't "crowds" who tore down the Americans for Prosperity tent, a local TV station reported:

Right to work protesters toppled a tent on the capitol lawn that had been erected by supporters of the legislation. The tent straps were loosened and then toppled even though there were people inside.

All who were inside escaped before the tent completely collapsed, but as Bill Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection noted, it was "only by luck ... the crowd didn’t know that."

As to the alleged lack of injuries, well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "reported."

A video which has gone viral and which was posted at NewsBusters on Tuesday by Matt Sheffield shows that "union supporters turned violent as they attacked supporters of the Michigan law ... punching conservative activist and comedian Steven Crowder in the face."

Crowder himself "reported" that he was injured, and posted photos of himself with a post-attack "cut on forehead" and a "chipped tooth."

In an unbylined blog post, UPI almost worked up the nerve to report Crowder's injuries factually. But despite the irrefutable proof that the attack on Crowder occurred, it wimped out on objectively describing what happened:

Conservative comedian Steven Crowder also posted video of himself being threatened by a union supporter, later telling a conservative radio show that they had punched him in the face and threatened to kill him.

Crowder later tweeted photos of himself with an allegedly chipped tooth and a small cut to his forehead.

... AFL-CIO rep Eddie Vale distanced the pro-union supporters from the particular group that tore down the tent, but accused people in the AFP tent of taunting them.

“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.

“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.”

It's as if we only have Crowder's word that "they had punched him in the face" and "threatened to kill him" when there's video and audio proof that they punched him in the face and that someone threatened to kill him. If the wire service wanted to say that Crowder "allegedly" got his forehead cut and chipped tooth in the attack, that might be understandable, but as written, it's as if the obviously present cut and chip might have been fabricated by Crowder.

So UPI took the word of a union spokesperson that that were "no injuries." Sure, that's reliable.

In a complete non-surprise, the Associated Press, the self-described Essential Global News Network, didn't mention the AFP tent teardown or the attack on Crowder in its 27-paragraph report on the day's events in Lansing.

On the day of the final ObamaCare vote in March 2010, the national establishment press struggled mightily to make completely false allegations of spitting and racist taunts stick. Yet on Tuesday, Yet on Tuesday, it ignored or downplayed physical violence committed in plain sight.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.