The Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara is outraged that the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post covered the “swastika guy” hugging nationally syndicated columnist Michele Malkin at Caldara’s anti-stimulus rally at the Colorado Capitol yesterday.
“The idea that the media would take this spun story, about some guy who stands up next to Michele Malkin, somehow that’s a story?” Caldara told me. “I looked at the photos, and there was a photo of [the swastika guy] standing next to another guy holding a sign that also said Obama but instead of a swastika, it had a hammer and sickle. That one didn’t seem to rile anybody even though many fold more died under the symbol of a hammer and sickle than a swastika. But that doesn’t get the same sort of media rage, and if you’re looking at this from a media point of view, I would hope in all honesty you would criticize the media for biting on such a transparent attack ploy.”
Reporters at Caldara’s rally saw some weird things. They saw a live pig. They saw a roasted pig. They saw a swastika. All these things are of note, and reporters were right to include them in their stories about the rally. That’s what The Denver Post did in its article.
The Rocky, according to Caldara, got its story about the swastika guy later, after ProgressNow Colorado and others posted the Malkin photo. Caldara makes this conclusion because the Rocky reporter tried to reach him after the rally had ended. The Rocky’s story references the Malkin photo on the blogs.
Should the Rocky have written 200 words about the photo? Yes.
I mean, if you see a photo of a prominent person hugging someone with a swastika in his hands, you have to wonder what’s going on. The Rocky contacted Penry, and he gave a response. The Rocky tried to reach Caldara. And the Rocky tried to reach Malkin as well, to find out the circumstances of the hug. It’s a valid question and a valid story, handled fairly and accurately by the Rocky.
Caldara disagrees. “It seemed like a low-blow story and a low-blow tactic of personal destruction that has [ProgressNow Colorado's] Huttner’s marks all over it. To say, ah, we got a picture of some idiot next to Michele Malkin. Instead of addressing the stimulus package, let’s go after a swastika. It might be working for a certain crowd, but it certainly seems petty.”
I attended the rally with Huttner, and I don’t think it was petty to promote the Malkin photo.
Sure, as Caldara says, you could see ugly things at a rally of progressives, just like you saw at Caldara’s rally of righties. And if a person was holding a swastika and was caught on camera hugging a prominent lefty, reporters would have the right to ask questions about it.
As for the politics of personal destruction, take a look at what the Republicans tried to do to Barack Obama in the last election. Does William Ayers ring a bell?