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Whoops! Fox News Inadvertently Reveals Its Own Selective Edits Of Michigan Protest Video

By aaroncynic in News on Dec 13, 2012 5:30PM


On Tuesday Gov. Rick Snyder signed a controversial “right-to-work” bill, and while Republican lawmakers and other right-to-work supporters patted themselves on the back, more than 15,000 demonstrators protested outside the capitol and riot police equipped with tear gas, pepper spray and batons circled the capitol as the vote took place.

Meanwhile, a confrontation took place between opponents of the legislation and Koch Brothers-funded pro-right-to-work group Americans For Prosperity. Members of AFP said a “violent mob” destroyed their tent outside, but other witnesses said the scuffle broke out after members of AFP attempted to incite other demonstrators and loosened the straps on the tent.

In the middle of the scuffle, Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was punched and knocked to the ground by a union protester, and video from the altercation has been described by those on the right as an example of "union thuggery." However, when Fox News aired a slightly different video clip, it inadvertently revealed its own skewed original edit. Crowder appeared on Fox, speaking with Sean Hannity about the incident, and said if he believes if he'd defended himself, "they would have killed me where I stood."

A liberal blogger at Eclectablog said the altercation was "phony," and the AFP members helped to tear down their own tent. A bystander claims they loosened the straps, and the stakes came down from the inside.

The blogger also claims the original video was "faked and creative Breitbart-style editing helped it along much more." He said Crowder's video is a "composite," and some of the events happened "hours apart." When Hannity showed a slightly different clip of the incident, it revealed Crowder may have actually started the fight. That clip (video below) shows the man getting up from the ground. New York Times blogger Robert Mackey writes:

Unfortunately for Mr. Crowder, a look at the video broadcast on the Sean Hannity show appears to show quite clearly that he left out an important section of the footage when he put together his edit. A section of the Fox News broadcast preserved by the Web site Mediaite shows that Mr. Hannity’s producers at Fox News started the clip five seconds earlier than Mr. Crowder did.

Mackey also said the video suggests a second angle, suggesting more than one camera was present.

Though there were many other arrests throughout the day, no one at the scene was arrested. Several times police forcefully pushed demonstrators away from the building and deployed pepper spray. Former Representative Mark Schauer was among those sprayed. He told the Daily Kos “People are here to scream and holler and speak and make noise, trying to get the attention of Governor Snyder and the Republican legislature. Nothing else has worked…It's unfortunate that some of us were pepper sprayed. It was not necessary.” The site also reported in several cases, journalists were forced to leave the building during demonstrations.

The legislation makes the state the 24th right-to-work state, which opponents say cripples power to unions, limiting collective bargaining and potentially reducing membership. Proponents however, have said that the legislation “frees” workers. In a press conference, Governor Snyder said “I view this as an opportunity to stand up for Michigan’s workers, to be pro-worker,” the Chicago Tribune reports. Republican Representative Lisa Lyons said “this is the day Michigan freed its workers.”

Experts say the legislation could have far reaching affects on other states. Other states more friendly to labor could follow suit and with union membership currently at a low, bargaining power could become further weakened. Henry Farber, an economics professor at Princeton University told NBC News “The symbolism is mainly that it will embolden opponents in other states to try to do similar things.”