...have finally convinced me that they're right.
"McCain Campaign Worker Attacked and Brutalized Over Bumper Sticker
Written by Dave Nalle
Published October 24, 2008
Part of On The Road To 2008
In an incident which seems like it epitomizes much of the anger and bitterness of this election season, a McCain campaign worker from College Station, Texas who was in Pittsburgh helping to work a phone bank was robbed and then attacked, brutalized, and disfigured in what appears to be a politically motivated hate crime.
According to a report from television station KDKA, on Wednesday night, 20-year-old Ashley Todd was robbed at knifepoint at an ATM near the Republican phone bank where she had been making calls on behalf of the McCain campaign. After taking $60 from her, the robber noticed the McCain bumper sticker on her car and became enraged. The man hit her in the back of the head, knocked her to the ground and began punching and kicking her. He threatened her with the knife at her throat, finally carving a letter "B" in her cheek. During the attack he reportedly shouted "you are one of those McCain people," making the political motivation of the attack clear. The attacker was described as African-American and about 6' 4" tall with a medium build.
Both John McCain and Sarah Palin have called Ms. Todd with their sympathies and support. A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Pittsburgh said that they "hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."
Todd is one of 50 college Republicans working for the McCain campaign and is maintaining a blog of her experiences on the campaign trail. The picture to the right appears to be her based on photos from her blog and shows her with a backwards "B" on her cheek and a black eye. Its provenance is unknown.
In response to claims from pro-Obama bloggers that the story is fabricated and that she mutilated herself, Todd has offered to take a lie-detector test administered by the police. Police will also be viewing ATM video footage to verify her report and attempt to identify the attacker.
The Conservative Voice site...
"McCain Campaign Worker Attacked and Slashed - Updated
October 23, 2008 07:12 PM EST
by Jim Kouri - Once again, the mainstream news media are bending over backwards -- except for Fox News Channel, talk radio and the blogospehere -- to avoid covering a breaking crime story that occurred in western Pennsylvania that may cause Barack Obama political problems.
According to my sources within the Pennsylvania law-enforcement community, a man armed with a dagger robbed and assaulted a female McCain campaign volunteer and sliced a 'B' onto her face after he saw a McCain-Palin bumper sticker the bumper of the victim's car.
Ms. Ashley Todd, a 20-year old Republican activist from College Station, Texas, was using an ATM machine in Bloomfield, PA prior to 9 PM Wednesday night. According to police sources a man approached her, put a knife to her throat and demanded $60 from the young woman.
Ashley Todd handed the armed robber $60 she had in her pocket and stepped away from him, one detective told this writer. At that point the robber noticed the campaign bumper sticker on the woman's car, which was parked in front of the ATM.
The man became very angry, yelled at Todd about John McCain and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her down onto the concrete sidewalk. "He continued to kick and punch her repeatedly and said he would teach her a lesson for supporting John McCain," said police Chief Nate Harper during a press conference.
The man then viciously carved the "B" into Todd's right cheek. While the cops are continuing their investigation, one officer told this writer that he believes the "B" carved on the young woman's face is an initial for Barack Obama's given name.
Law enforcement sources described the suspect as black, about 6-foot-4, and said he was wearing dark-colored jeans and a black undershirt. The ATM has a security camera and the investigation is ongoing.
No doubt, this story would have created a feeding frenzy throughout the media, even without confirmation, had a black female Obama volunteer reported a similar incident with a white attacker carving a "J" onto her face.
Instead, watch how the news media attempt to discredit and smear this woman with the help of their comrades in the Democrat Party. ---
UPDATE: According to the news media -- I'm trying to confirm it with police -- Ashley Todd made up the story of the attack. However, notice how quickly the police were able to interview her and get the truth out of her. If only that would have happened with the Duke University LaCrosse team's accuser; or with the Tawana Brawley circus orchestrated by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund's weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He's also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri's own website is located at http://jimkouri.us"
Canada Free Press site...
"McCain Campaign Worker Attacked and Slashed
Oct 23, 2008 ... McCain Campaign Worker Attacked and Slashed, man armed with a dagger robbed and assaulted a female McCain campaign volunteer and sliced a ...
www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/5773 - 23 hours ago"
has mysteriously disappeared from the right-wing site.
"The Hedgehog Blog: Robber Carves "B" on Face of McCain Campaign Worker
Oct 23, 2008 ... Robber Carves "B" on Face of McCain Campaign Worker. We have all heard the stories about the rabid, hateful audience at McCain-Palin rallies ...
hedgehogcentral.blogspot.com/2008/10/robber-carves-b-on-face-of-mccain. html - 23 hours ago"
has mysteriously disappeared from the site
Huffington Post Site...
"Drudge Puts Dangerous Spin on Mugging, Implies Violence Targeting McCain Volunteers
Yesterday, a horrible incident took place in Pittsburgh: a young woman was robbed; and then, after the assailant noticed that her car had a McCain sticker, he returned to brutalize her, including scratching a backwards 'B' in her cheek with a knife. Although horrible by itself, what makes this story even more shocking is the way right-wing media has tried to twist the coverage with rhetoric suggesting that this ATM mugging was actually a pre-meditated act of political violence aimed at the McCain campaign.
At 4:03pm, today, a WTAE-TV Pittsburgh reported that a 20-year old woman was robbed at an ATM machine, and then subsequently had the letter 'B' scratched into her cheek with a knife--supposedly in response to her assailant seeing a 'McCain' campaign sticker on her car. This is how WTAE reported the story:
Woman Attacked At ATM, Assailant Carves Letter Into Her Face
Woman Robbed, Attacked With Knife At Bloomfield ATM POSTED: 4:03 pm EDT October 23, 2008 UPDATED: 4:30 pm EDT October 23, 2008
PITTSBURGH -- A 20-year-old woman who was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield was also maimed by her attacker, police said.
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard tells Channel 4 Action News that the victim was robbed at knifepoint on Wednesday night outside of a Citizens Bank near Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street just before 9 p.m.
Richard said the robber took $60 from the woman, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim's car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter "B" into her face, Richard said.
Richard said the woman refused medical treatment after the assault, which happened outside the view of the bank's surveillance cameras. The robber is described as a dark-skinned black man, 6 feet 4 inches tall, 200 pounds with a medium build, short black hair and brown eyes. The man was wearing dark colored jeans, a black undershirt and black shoes. (link)
The crime was horrendous. Anyone who mugs another person, whether it is for $0.60 or $60, is a criminal who deserves punishment. And to beat someone up--and then scratch a 'B' in their face--supposedly in response to seeing a McCain campaign sticker on a person's car--that is an act that demands immediate criminal prosecution. The young woman attacked deserves a speedy recovery and quick restitution of her property and dignity by the courts.
The problem with this crime, however, is not just that it happened, but the way that Matt Drudge has obviously tried to spin it into a political watershed for the 2008 Presidential campaign by rewriting the headline and carefully omitting several crucial elements. The end result is that a mugging punctuated by an odd act of violence has been transformed at the hands of a right-wing media figure to appear like a targeted act of violence against the McCain campaign.
Not long after the original WTAE story, Drudge added the following incendiary headline on The Drudge Report:
SHOCK: MCCAIN VOLUNTEER ATTACKED AND MUTILATED IN PITTSBURGH...
'B' CARVED INTO 20-YEAR OLD WOMAN'S FACE... DEVELOPING...
Note two things that Drudge has strategically left out of this headline: (1) the actual details of the crime (e.g., an ATM robbery, followed by an assault) and (2) the fact that the robber brutalized the young woman after the initial crime had been completed, when the criminal noticed the bumber sticker on her car. The omissions are crucia because they repackage a story of theft and assault into a story of political violence.
What Drudge has done, in other words, is reframe a report about a mugging to make it seem like the beginning of targeted political violence against the McCain campaign. Hence, it seems from his headline that there are criminals in the U.S. currently out looking for McCain volunteers with the goal of brutally assaulting them--that someone was looking for McCain volunteers to attack, found one, and beat her.
Now, Matt Drudge's blog is one of the most visited websites on the internet and is well-known for its Republican Party leanings, it's deep connection to right-wing media outlets, and the phenomenal speed with which it can disseminate a story--whether that story is true or false. It is important, therefore, to consider the grave danger carried Drudge's spinning of this story.
Given Drudge's choice of words, one could imagine the Drudge headline as the basis for right-wing media and the Republican base to conclude that political violence has begun against the McCain campaign--despite this being a false and misleading representation of the events.
Even worse, the immense site traffic at The Drudge Report enjoys, combined with Drudge's implication that this horrible mugging incident in Pittsburgh was in fact targeted political violence against Republicans, could result in widespread panic amongst by McCain supporters mislead by Drudge's manipulative reporting into thinking that they were the target of some kind of organized assault.
If either of those things were to happen, the Drudge headline of the WTAE story could quickly tip the the Presidential election into a dangerous place by heightening the 'us vs. them' tensions already set in motion by the McCain-Palin campaign rhetoric.
Finally, since Pennsylvania is a 'swing' stage--a state that is still too-close-to-call in the Presidential election polls--it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Drudge's deceptive re-framing of this mugging story could result in heightened tensions on the ground, and possibly contribute to outbursts of violence by people who believe they are under 'attack,' as a result of Drudge's rhetoric.
However Drudge's headline is interpreted, it has the potential to provide an excuse for actual political violence under the guise of self-defense.
Just to give an idea of how incendiary this story could become, since I began writing this post, the Obama-Biden campaign has already issued the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."
Their response shows the necessary and swift intolerance that any crime of this nature deserves. Whether or not The Drudge Report will succeed with its dangerous ploy to recast this crime as the beginning of political violence against Republicans remains to be seen.But at the very least, we can expect Drudge's spin to be the lead on every right-wing media outlet at least to the weekend.
How mainstream media handles it is another story. Will news producers at CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS refute Drudge's irresponsible flirtation with rhetoric that has the potential to spark widespread panic? Let's hope so.
***UPDATE (Fri Oct 24, 1:48pm EST): Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate KDKA is just now reporting that the 20 year-old woman in question has recanted her story:
A Pittsburgh police commander says a volunteer for the McCain campaign who reported being robbed and attacked near a bank ATM in Bloomfield has confessed to making up the story. Police say charges will be filed. More details to follow.
I am relieved, in the end, that this young woman was not the victim of a robbery or assault. However, the false accusation of political violence--tinged with racial profiling--raises serious ethical and criminal consequences for this young person. Needless to say, the way right-wing media attempted to transform this story remains an object lesson for this election season and beyond. -- JF
© 2008 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop"