A nasty skirmish in the war between old and new media was fought at a Rahm Emanuel press appearance in Chicago yesterday.
William Kelly, a conservative pundit with no media affiliation, aggressively shouldered his way into a TV interview being conducted by ABC reporter Charles Thomas and CBS reporter Jay Levine. After Kelly repeatedly interrupted the White House Chief of Staff-turned-mayoral candidate, Levine exploded, shouting, "Let him finish or I'm gonna deck you!"
Watch the video:
Worth noting: as the Sun-Times reported Wednesday, Kelly's repeated claim that he's "with WIND radio" was debunked by the station itself:
In July, Kelly debuted a one-hour Saturday evening radio talk show called "The Kelly Truth Squad" on WIND-AM (560). But Kelly buys the air time on WIND and is not an employee of the station -- an arrangement that the host argues gives him more leeway in what he can say and do on the show.
"It was wrong for Kelly to call himself a reporter at WIND when he does not work for the station," said [WIND general manager Jeff] Reisman, who otherwise indicated he has no problems with the host or his radio show.
Still, quick to pick up Kelly's cause was none other than Andrew Breitbart's blog network. Dana Loesch, the editor of "Big Journalism," cast him as the white knight taking on the corrupt, Obama-friendly media: "Emmanuel [sic] didn't account for unassuming Kelly to fire off serious journalistic questions more pressing than the requisite 'how's it feel to be back?'"
After watching the clip, "unassuming" isn't the first adjective that comes to mind when describing Kelly. The only person who asked how it felt to be back was Kelly himself. And as for "serious journalistic questions," one assumes she means questions like, "There are a lot of people who speculate that the stimulus was just payback to your Wall Street friends who made you a multi-multi-millionaire. What do you say to those people?" -- that is, pointed, rhetorical questions only intended to score political points, which Kelly insisted on asking.
Kelly immediately portrayed Levine's blow-up as an example of the press cozying up to Emanuel and playing softball. But Levine's own station seemed to find his actions perfectly defensible. "Jay is an aggressive reporter, and we let his reporting do the talking for him," said a spokesperson to the Sun-Times.
Funnily enough, this isn't the first time fisticuffs and politics have mixed for the Southside Republican. Kelly ran in the Republican primary for comptroller, where he lost to Judy Baar Topinka. But during the primary, he released this head-scratcher of a video challenging Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias to a boxing match. [Hat-tip to The Capitol Fax Blog.]