On CNN Newsroom this morning, hosts Heidi Collins and Tony Harris were covering the incident at George Allen's speech yesterday, where blogger and constituent Mike Stark was physically assaulted by apparent members of Allen's staff. During their reporting they continually referred to Stark as a "protestor". This video also contains a different angle of the attack as well as better audio:
At the end, Heidi Collins says: "The really scary thing I saw though - because you just don't know who you are dealing with anymore - because he had a backpack on". Of course only suspicious people would be wearing a backpack (or carrying luggage) in a place like a HOTEL!
Instead of CNN reporting off of what sounds like talking points from the Allen campaign, why don't they actually report and try to get Stark's side of the story. Here is a letter Stark has written, talking about what happened:
My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.
I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions...Read On