If this account of tonight’s altercation seems a bit disjointed, it’s because I am still rattled. I was physically accosted (or at least my camera was) by controversial speaker/author David Horowitz, founder of the Freedom Center. As the video shows, I asked him a question during the Q&A that apparently got under his skin.Unfortunately, this video ends when Horowitz grabs my camera and tries to wrestle it out of my hands, thereby shutting it off. (A blogger/citizen journalist’s worst nightmare.)
If memory serves, during the ensuing tussle, I told him this is a $3,500 camera, and he had no right to grab it. I think I also said that there were lots of other people videoing and taking pictures, as he continued to manhandle my lens. (Anyone else have video to share?)
Finally, I asked one of the two MSU campus police officers in attendance (you can see him in the background at the beginning of the video) to help me protect my camera back and to escort me out safely out the room in Case Hall where the talk was held.
Murmurs from the crowd indicated most were on his side, not mine, which added to my concerns. I have a damaged arm, and even well-meaning people who grab my arm often cause me serious physical pain.
I can honestly say that I was worried that the situation was spiraling out of control, so I was glad that the officer helped me leave the room safely. I ended up in the hall shaking, out of uneasiness and anger.
For the record, Horowitz knew damn well that I was videoing him and was happy to have me do so as long as he thought I was an adoring fan.
I arrived early and to scout where to shoot my video. His “official” videographer was there, and she and I conferred about find good camera locations. I went up to Horowitz and asked him if he knew where he would be speaking because I wanted to get good video. He said he didn’t know where he would be standing. Then I asked him whether I could lift the white screen in front of the blackboard or whether he would he need it for PowerPoint slides, and he indicated it would be fine for me to do so.
Horowitz was visiting MSU to deliver remarks about his views that the Obama administration is failing to protect Israel. He was introduced by representatives of the MSU Campus Conservatives and Christians United for Israel.
If my hands weren’t still shaking a bit, I would be editing tidbits of video of some of the ugly remarks Horowitz made. I hope to post a clip tomorrow where he claims Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the wife of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, is an operative of the Muslim Brotherhood. Really?)
Many consider Horowitz’ remarks beyond the pale. Horowitz himself noted that the College Republicans of Michigan State University and the campus Jewish group Hillel refused to co-sponsor his appearance.
Oddly, I did not come to hear Horowitz talk about Israel. I was intrigued by his transition from editing the lefty magazine Ramparts during the Vietnam era to producing the far-right publication Front Page today.
I had also heard that Horowitz was going to talk about his group Students for Academic Freedom, profiled here by Right Wing Watch. As my question about having students covertly video their professors indicates, I had heard rumors that Horowitz had urged students to use covert tactics, so I wanted to ask him if that was true. (Still no answer.)
Another person said he thought Horowitz was coming to support the Right To Work bills rocketing through the Michigan legislature. I spent an hour at the Capitol at mid-day capturing video of the protests against the Right To Work legislation rocketing through the Michigan legislature. I thought Horowitz’ remarks might help people understand the spectrum of opinions on the issue.
So I was surprised to find the topic was Middle East policy. I should have Googled, and I would have found that the Southern Poverty Law Center says he’s now part of the “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”
After an hour of listening to Horowitz’ disjointed and seemingly contradictory remarks, I debated just slipping out before the Q&A started. But I spotted a woman in the audience that I had seen previously at the Tea Party meeting on the proposed sharia law bills. (One of my videos from those hearings is posted below.) I wanted to see what she would say.
This is more than you need to know or want to know about the incident. But I remain upset that an errant question from me persuaded the ferociously entitled Mr. Horowitz that he had the right to bully me and grab my property.
Because I asked a pointed question? Because it hit a nerve? Because it was a woman who challenged him?
I have neither the time nor inclination for armchair psychoanalysis, but the man undermines his own specious arguments when he behaves this way. As an old Latin major, all I can say is res ipsa loquitur.