A lot of mileage has been made about the confrontations between two TV reporters at the 2009 Christian Right Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC this weekend.
I was there. Let me offer a different version of events. The two reporters were rude and lazy and disruptive. Other video standups by other reporters were done in a large lobby a few steps away from the camera risers in the auditorium.
This was not about conference attendees or organizers not wanting coverage, or failing to provide media facilities, or being wackos. This was about two loud, arrogant male oafs disrupting an event. I was 40 feet away from the Fox reporter when he began shouting into his microphone like he was covering a football game.
I could not hear the conference speaker, and the audio into my video camera was being blotted out by his pompous performance. At least ten rows of attendees sat up and turned around when he started his stand up routine. The same thing happened with the MSNBC reporter.
We could not hear the speaker at the podium. It was obnoxious, and not necessary. As I said before, other reporters had their crews lug a camera into the hallway. Other reporters used unidirectional, noise-canceling microphones when in the auditorium.
Clearly, I am a critic of the views of most people at the Values Voter Summit. But I feel an obligation to set the record straight. These two reporters were jerks. The attendees just wanted to listen to the speakers. I spoke with other reporters who agree with me. They are not in a position to be publicly critical. I am.
Liberals and leftists tend to sneer at these Values Voter folks in the Christian Right. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Markos Moulitsas, and other commentators and pundits get a lot of laugh lines when mocking and trivializing these folks.
Of course these are the same people that elected Ronald Reagan, and the Bushies I & II. These are the people that stopped the Equal Rights Amendment. These are the people that immobilized the Clinton administration. These are the people trying to take down the Obama administration.
Will they succeed? Perhaps. Maybe not. But while liberals and leftists keep laughing at them, the Christian Right will be busy trying to craft a last laugh -- and their track record is nothing to sneer at.
Follow Chip Berlet on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cberlet