The Fox News Union Scuffle Scam: Steven Crowder’s Story Falls Apart

A few days ago a Breitbart/Fox News provocateur infiltrated a union protest in Lansing, Michigan with the intention of inciting hostilities. Steven Crowder, whom Fox describes as a comedian/contributor, completed his mission after goading protesters into a brief scuffle and then scurrying away with his video of the manufactured scandal.

In an appearance the next day on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Crowder admitted that he went to the protest with provocation in mind saying “I went out here to prove the left for who they truly are. Certainly, these union thugs. And I’ve achieved that.” Crowder’s post-bout media tour took him to several other Fox programs where he basked in his pride for having successfully carried out a preconceived mission to fabricate bad publicity for the workers seeking to defend their rights and their families.

Since then, however, Crowder’s version of events has suffered under scrutiny. The video he released was exposed for having been heavily, and deceptively, edited. Another version came out later that showed that just prior to what was characterized as an assault on Crowder, the union member accused of the assault had been shoved to the ground and was reacting to that when he stood up and swung at Crowder.

Crowder went back on the Hannity show and debated Andy Sullivan, a union representative, who pointed out the new evidence that Crowder may have been the aggressor. Crowder then admitted that the union member was pushed down first and never denied that he was the one who pushed him.

Hannity: You claim he’s inciting this violence?
Sullivan: Well listen, first off that tape was very well edited. I happened to have seen some footage where it looked like he had actually pushed the guy down to the ground. And that was the fellow that was actually striking him. That’s the way it looked to me.
Crowder: He did go down. He was attacking a tent with people and children in it.
[Note: The video does not show the union member tampering with, or even in close proximity to, the tent]
Sullivan: Oh, he was attacking a tent? And what were you doing?
Crowder: We were there trying to prevent people from being hurt in the tent.
[Note: Crowder was not seen helping anyone, and there were no children seen in the video. Then Crowder becomes hysterical]
Crowder: You are a liar, sir. You are being swallowed. Your unions are being swallowed. These are babies flailing before being put to bed. They are violent. This was not an isolated event. Look around you, man. This WAS the event.
Sullivan: Steve, you should be so proud about taking pot shots at these people who are terrified about losing their jobs and livelihood.
[Note: Hannity seems to have noticed that Crowder did not deny initiating the assault, so Hannity did it for him, but Crowder was oblivious and did not follow his lead]
Hannity: Wait a minute. Steven, you didn’t push anybody. You sent me the raw tape. I looked at it a number of times.
Crowder: You had the unedited tape. Listen, it was a melee there. People, everyone was grabbing and pulling and trying to keep the tent from being torn down.
[Note: And there was one more opportunity to deny his aggression, but Crowder again did not do so]
Hannity: But some of them attacked Steven.
Sullivan: After Steven had his hands on his back, and the guy got up not knowing who hit him.
Crowder: They tore down a tent.

Crowder became apoplectic during much of this segment as he alternated between yelling at Sullivan and smirking self-righteously. At no time did he convey the demeanor of someone who had been assaulted. He was clearly enjoying the attention.

The Michigan State Police weighed in on the controversy, noting that Crowder was behaving in a peculiar fashion for someone claiming to be an assault victim. They said that they were available to investigate the alleged crime, but that Crowder refused to cooperate. The police spokesman said…

“If someone assaulted you or your family member wouldn’t you report it immediately to the police? Well, why wouldn’t you, unless there’s a personal agenda there.”

Exactly. Crowder is milking this for all that he can get out of his 15 minutes of infamy. There is also the possibility that he cannot press charges because if the police see all of the video they might learn that Crowder was the perpetrator. His story has so many holes that a prosecutor might not even consider an indictment. Among the inconsistencies is his claim was that his injuries included a chipped tooth. So I found a picture of Crowder from two years ago and compared it to the photo he Tweeted after the incident in Lansing:

Steven Crowder

From these photos it appears that Crowder already had a “chipped” tooth two years ago in the spot he is now claiming it just occurred. Also, Crowder Tweeted last August that he had chipped his tooth and sustained other injuries (perhaps in an MMA match). It appears that he likes to use this same tooth whenever he’s seeking sympathy. That’s the sort of dishonesty that makes him such a perfect fit to be a Fox News comedian. And it is endlessly perplexing that any legitimate news enterprise would give credence to anyone associated with Breitbart News given their propensity for falsifying video and straight-faced lying.

Update:] Crowder just Tweeted that he has hired “heavily armed” security after receiving death threats. This reeks of more publicity hounding since he still has not made a report to police about the incident or the alleged threats (which are probably just Internet chatter). What’s more, somebody genuinely concerned about impending harm does not disclose such concerns on Twitter. Security professionals would have advised him that it is not wise to make your security methods public where anyone, including an assailant, could see them.

Also, Crowder appeared on Canada’s Sun News (the Fox News of the North) where he admitted to “pushing” people, something he declined to say on Fox, and even failed to correct Hannity when he said that Crowder did not push anyone. The more that comes out about this, the more he is exposed as a liar. And now he can’t keep his own lies straight.

Burying The ‘Tax The Rich’ Lede: Fox News Misrepresents Their Own Poll

You know that a “news” enterprise is desperately biased when they can’t even report on their own polling honestly. In the case of Fox News, they have been relentlessly advocating the Republican position on the so-called “fiscal cliff.” They believe wholeheartedly that fighting for the wealthiest 2% to get another break on their taxes is so important that it’s worth making every American pay more rather than give in.

In order to support their crusade for the rich, Fox conducted a poll wherein they asked respondents to indicate their preferences for dealing with the budget deficit. In fact, Fox asked the question in a variety of different ways, seemingly to insure that eventually they would get the answer they wanted. And guess what?

After several attempts, Fox managed to find a framing of the issue that produced their desired response. So they went with that in their headline saying “According to voters, spending cuts are a must.”

Fox News Poll

However, the actual question that produced that response did not reflect any proposal by either side in the budget debate. Here is the question:

“Do you think raising taxes on the wealthy can solve the country’s budget problems — or do you think major spending cuts are necessary also?”

It’s the “also” that tells the real story. Since nobody has proposed raising taxes alone as a method of reducing the national debt, the question is a red herring that proves nothing. Even President Obama, were he asked, would have told Fox’s pollsters that spending cuts were a must. He has consistently said that he is seeking a balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and a small increase in the tax rate for incomes that exceed $250,000.

Despite that fact, Fox News proceeded with a headline that inferred a preference on the part of the public for spending cuts without any mention of higher taxes for the rich. But here’s the fun part. Another question in the poll asked respondents to rank a list of proposals to reduce the federal budget deficit. The most popular item turned out to be “Increasing taxes on incomes over $250,000 a year” (69%). That item was favored by a majority of every political group: Democrats 87%; Republicans 51%; Independents 68%.

You would think that the highest rated option in the poll would make it to the top of the article, yet for some reason the editors at Fox chose a headline that was further down the list of preferences. We know, however, that they were aware of the taxing response because they put it in the second paragraph of the article, although their tone was somewhat dismissive:

“Even so, the most popular proposal among voters for reducing the deficit is, you guessed it, raising taxes on the rich.”

Fox should recognize that the reason their audience would guess this fact is because it has been established in pretty much every other poll that has been conducted on this subject. Also, there was an election held recently (remember that?) during which the question of whether the rich should pay more in taxes was directly addressed. And the candidate favoring higher taxes on the wealthy won by a substantial margin.

Fox News obviously doesn’t care about honest reporting or journalistic ethics. They prove that daily in their mangling of stories to deliberately harm the President and to promote a conservative agenda. But you know they are in deep denial when they have to resort to misrepresenting the results of their own polls. They did this repeatedly during the election, and it doesn’t look like they intend to operate any differently even after their deceit proved to be a losing strategy.

On a side note, the Fox News poll routinely publishes a demographic breakdown of the results with categories that include political party, gender, race, age, and income. One category that has been included for some time now was missing from this poll: The Tea Party. Apparently Fox no longer regards the Tea Party as having enough significance to warrant breaking out their survey results. That omission is pretty significant and ought to make some news itself.