Note of Disclosure: I have had a big celeb crush on Janeane Garofalo since at least 1997 so in no way am I promoting any objectivity. I am a radical, left-wing progressive if I’m anything at all and thought this was the perfect example to use of how right wing media operates because there’s lots of video footage. If any readers have any issues with the way I have presented the events, please feel free to leave comments below. So let’s begin shall we?
I first became aware of this back and forth when I did my weekly check of YouTube subscriptions and caught an interview with Janeane on BreakRoom Live with Mark Maron. In it she was describing what happened before and after a performance near Boston. We’ll get to that video in a bit.
What I would like to do is start off with the video that started it all. This is an interview on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann in which Janeane Garofalo charactarizes the participants of the Tax Day Tea Party “protesters” as redneck racists who are using the pretext of tax protests as a thin veneer to vent their disapproval of a black man as president. I’m not quite sure when it aired. The earliest date I can get is April 16th.
Right after this, Fox News rebutted on a lot of their shows, all basically saying the same thing. What she said was crazy and out there, an insult to hardworking Americans and equated what she said with hate speech. This you can see for yourself below with clips from Bill O’Reilly, the Red Eye Show and Lou Dobbs respectivly.
Though I must admit, I find this O’Reilly one a bit odd since while it shows the clip of Janeane, he then goes on the personal attack of GE and its chairman. I’m assuming the point that he’s trying to make is that GE as the parent company of MSNBC is obligated to encourage left-leaning journalism and become a mouthpiece for the Obama administration since GE took the bailout money. Therefore Janeane is allowed to spread her “hate” on air.
Now enter Ken Pittman. Ken is a conservative talk show host based in New Bedford, MA about an hour south of Boston. From all of the searching I’ve done on the Internet besides this local radio talk show, the only national exposure he’s had is a couple of appearences on Fox when the Feds raided a New Bedford sweatshop and started arresting illegal immigrants back in 2007.
Well Ken is watching Fox and sees how upset they are at what Janeane has said and decides that since she is performing at the Somerville Theater, he’s going to organize a protest and make her apologize. This is where the Breakroom interview comes in as Janeane describes what happened.
Questions of Ken’s sexuality aside, the gist of her description is that after calls to the theater threatening a protest that led to the assignment of more police officers around the venue, the only two people who showed up was Ken Pittman himself and a cameraman who then followed her to a Starbucks demanding that she apologize for calling the teabaggers racist.
As you see below, she staunchly refused to take back what she said and made to me a good point. If these teabaggers were so worried about taxes and deficit spending, why were they not protesting Bush’s rampant spending policies?
Now I would like you to listen carefully to what is being said in those two preceding videos. Janeane states time and time again that she was followed from the theater to the Starbucks by Ken Pittman and a cameraman. She stresses the fact that they were alone.
However Griff Jenkins, who Sean Hannity calls “our own” is said by Hannity to have confronted Janeane at the Starbucks and asked her about apologizing to the teabaggers. He even says that he was sitting at the Starbucks having a latte when “she just happened to come there”. Now until he said that, I was thinking that he must have been the cameraman that was with Ken Pittman who had followed her to the Starbucks but he specifically said that he was already at the Starbucks. And any mention of Ken Pittman is glaringly absent.
So after all of this, Sam Seder and Janeane decide to pull a funny and call Pittman’s show asking about the turnout. While a bit juvenille for my tastes, Ken says that the reason no people showed up is because the Starbucks incident happened 90 minutes before the show and he made some calls and to tell people not to come.
Ken on Cavuto recaps the events and yet mentions nothing of news correspondent Griff Jenkins or the fact that he “called off” his many protesters because the events happened 90 minutes before the show.
Look, my biggest beef with Fox is not that they are conservative. In this country, everyone should be entitled to express their views whether I agree with them or not. I don’t even expect them to be fair and balanced. But real jounalism, even slanted journalism should be based upon facts. Fox lies and misrepresents the truth on a regular basis.
Catching Janeane Garofalo at that Starbucks would in and of itself been a perfectly legit piece of journalism. Hell, Michael Moore does it all the time. So why lie about the circumstances surrounding it?
UPDATE: I just came across some footage from Greta Van Susteren showing Ken Pittman actually questioning her from a different angle. I see Pittman but where is Griff Jenkins? Is he the cameraman? If so, did he take it from the other cameraman who was following Janeane as he was already at the Starbucks?