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Oct 18, 2008


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Nice try, Ed. You completely take my remark out of context and that is dishonest. I made that statement as a way of questioning Joe's version of events because the reporting of the Palin rally was inaccurate in terms of the crowd size. I.E., "Joe Killian says some guy hit him, but there aren't any witnesses and he was way off on the crowd size, his paper was misleading about the whole rally, so I don't really believe anything they write". The whole part about "whether he deserved it" is because there are always to sides to every story and we only heard one. It's about credibility, Ed.

I don't think it's okay for someone to hit Joe out of the blue, but I question the veracity of the story.


Oh yeah, and Ed, you are the little man for not taking on the N&R's disparate coverage of events and instead buying into this whole assault story deflection.

I like Joe, and wish him no ill, but his entire coverage of events- including his reporting of this alleged assault on his blog- is questionable. The sequence of events that began Thursday is interesting and I will be blogging on it later.


(Apologies for long-windedness)

With ConvergeSouth surrounding me, it was hard to pay as much attention to Joe's being attacked when it happened - but I read most of what I could late last night. It was simply horrifying: a reporter is attacked for doing an interview at a political event. It's that simple and that complicated. But the reactions? "Prove to me it happened!" or "What did he do to cause it?"

This is the new political machine on the attack. Are these the folks who argue that a woman "asked" to be raped by wearing a short skirt or being out alone? Aren't we PAST that yet? This is the method that demands a video before acknowledging a crime and puts the onus on the victim to prove the law was broken.

There is no reason to disbelieve Joe's account and what bothers me more is the lack of outrage at a physical attack by someone who disagrees with what he presumes to be your POV. Encouraging hatred of your opponent (as opposed to "vote for me, I'm better") is simply not a tactic that belongs in our political process and unfortunately, the McC/Palin failure to end (and mean it) the visceral hate speech from some who attend their rallies is becoming a catalyst to the responses we've read ("prove it," "you deserved it," "karma," and more).

I'm most disappointed in Jeff Sykes' comments because as a former newsguy, he should be jumping up and down condemning people who attack reporters. It's also a little astounding to me that one of Joe's first thoughts was about keeping his job before defending himself physically. I'd really like to know what the policy is at the N&R (or any other paper) about reporters defending themselves when physically attacked on the job and if they're editing current policies in anticipation of more of this drek possibly being inflicted on their staff?


Go right ahead, Sam. Of course you won't comprehend this, but you and Tony and a few others have really outdone yourselves on this issue. Actually, that's a pretty damned good story unto itself! Stay tuned...


"I made that statement as a way of questioning Joe's version of events because the reporting of the Palin rally was inaccurate in terms of the crowd size."

What "version of events" would have justified someone attacking Joe, Sam? Really, short of Joe pulling a weapon on someone what other way could have things happened there that would justify bodily harm on someone?

The simple fact that you search for excuses to justify what was done speaks volumes all on its own.

Chris Coletta


Ever done one of those "guess how many jellybeans is in this jar" things? Now try to do the same thing with crowd size at a large, somewhat chaotic event. That's why reporters' guesses about crowd size are usually just what the police tell them.

Sure, you can read political bias into reporting a small figure. But that's not the explanation provided by Occam's razor -- it's the explanation provided by solipsism.

I rarely wade into these public forums and don't really want to get into a tussle. Just pointing something out based on my own experience.


"Nice try"- Spag

Nice try??? Dude, he nailed you! Don't be such a douche nozzle.


Here you go, Jackasses; you've earned it:


Jeffrey Sykes


Suck my left nut.

Beau D. Jackson

If anyone challenges you for examples of the ugliness in this campaign season, the battery on Greensboro's own Joe Killian provides a fine example.

Some of the reactions are interesting, too -- not sure they reflect political anger, or more general issues, but they're lovely all the same:

I'm sure you feel it totally justifiable, the vile smearing of "Joe The Plummer" by the Obama attack machine, Obama learned his lessons well while in Chicago.
What's more unbelieveable is that the press is aiding and abetting Obama in his smearing of this guys whose only action was to ask Obama about his Socialistic agenda!


Sarah Palin draws 2-15K in NC. Barack Obama draws 100,000 in St. Louis.


And there's this one, from "Stormy" at Joe Guarino's blog:

"I understand the alleged bearded man, but my guess is that none of that would have happened if there had not been Obama supporters there causing a distraction. I don't recall anyone causing similar disruptions at Obama rallies. When you have people going in with the objective of disrupting a rally such as this, it's what you get some times. And, if Joe Killian was actually assaulted as he claims, then he should have reported to a police officer and had the bearded man arrested, but he did not. This sounds like the alleged Palin supporters calling out for Obama's head, which no one can verify."


I am calling into question Joe's version of events, pure and simple. There are no witnesses to confirm his story, so before all of you preachy lefties start mischaracterizing what I said and what my position is why don't you comment on the stories about the other two reporters at two separate events who claimed that someone in the crowd yelled out "kill him" in reference to Barack Obama. The Secret Service investigated both cases and could find no witnesses to support the reporters stories. Similarly, Joe has provided no one to confirm his story. Am I saying Joe made it up? Not really. I am saying that it seems to follow a narrative about McCain/Palin supporters that has been shown to be false in some more prominent stories. Combine that with the way the rally was covered, and yes, I have some real questions about what happened.

Joe adds to my skepticism about his role in the assault he describes. He describes the man as a big fat redneck and I question whether that attitude about the crowd was on display when the incident occurred. Joe says that he laughed and shook his head when McCain/Palin people tried to shout down a protester, that certainly conveys an attitude that Joe was taking sides at the rally, hence my remark about not being there or knowing whether Joe may have contributed to what happened. We only have his version and no independent confirmation of it. Excuse me for being skeptical about what reporters write about Palin rallies. It's not like they haven't made up stuff before, and with the N&R it is obvious they weren't being fair anyhow.


Beau Jackson, quotation mark challenged.

Do you have any idea how your lazy unwillingness to use quotation makes or some other indication that you are pasting something from someone else makes your comments frustratingly difficult to read, Beau? It is an impediment to have to puzzle out where the copied material ends and your words begin. It fits your online persona, but it's to the point where you are encouraging readers to just skip anything you write.


"He describes the man as a big fat redneck..." -- Sam

Not that that description might not be accurate, but where did Joe say that?


I'm sorry Roch, he actually called him a "big fat 12 sandwich eating prick" and then says that most of the crowd was made up of big fat bearded men which is why he couldn't identify the man to the unnamed police officer.


None of this would have happened if only Obama had done those town hall meetings like McCain had asked.


At the local level, this thread will rally round Obama supporters. It is the just what the doctor ordered to rule out any chance of complacency in getting voters out to the polls.


Well, you've convinced me he had it coming.

Joe Killian

It was undoubtedly rude to call the guy names. My blood might have still been up a bit when I typed that, after coming home from a long day of indignities and writing a story on deadline with my leg still aching.

If I'd wanted to create a big thing about it I agree -- I would have abandoned the job I was there to do and filed a police report, documented everyone who was around me and had them all testify to this awful tragedy. Heck, I would have made sure the newspaper story was about what happened to me.

But I saw it as just one of those pain in the ass things that happens to you on the job sometimes, I went about my job and blogged about it when I got home. Which I do a lot. Because nerves are all a little raw and it's down to the wire this election season, it became a bigger deal than any of the other controversial stories I've blogged about reporting.

Had it occurred to me that some people were going to disbelieve the story out of hand without my providing video evidence and sworn affidavits I'd have taken the time to make that happen. As I was busy doing my job and have never felt I had to write any other blog post that way, I didn't.

So, like so many things, some people are going to believe the story and some are going to think it's been cooked up by the liberal elitist media to serve an agenda. I'm not in control of that and as far as I'm concerned, the whole thing was over when I went to sleep that night.

A state Republican party official e-mailed to personally apologize for what happened and as I told him, I really appreciated that and thought it was a class move from a guy who didn't have to bother. There are jerks in every large crowd and I've certainly been threatened with physical violence by some from all across the political spectrum.


"I made that statement as a way of questioning Joe's version of events"

Then why didn't you say exactly that, Sam? You've never had a problem speaking your mind. Don't be coy, couching your skepticism by wondering if he "deserved" it. That, my friend, is disingenuous.

Ian McDowell

Sam and Jeff, I repeat the question I just asked each of you in the "Assault and Battery, Ha Ha Ha" thread." Feel free to answer it here rather than there if you prefer.

Fred Gregory

Elsewhere a despised minority is hit in the face with her own sign at at a rally in NY:
Actual arrest for assault and battery on McCain-Palin supporter


Joe, I don't like saying this about you, but I simply do not trust anyone in the media when it comes to these reports about McCain/Palin rallies, particularly after the Secret Service has discredited two other reports from journalists that could not be corroborated. Like Tony, if I was there and someone assaulted you, I would be the first person to take the guy to task. But there are things in your story which lead me to believe that you may have been more antagonizing and not as objective as you claim. Is that a license to be assaulted? No. My comment was more in passing and was focused on my concern about the objectivity of the press reporting on these rallies. It appears to me that some have simply made things up which is why I discount matters that cannot be corroborated.

I think there is more to this whole story than Ed's deliberate narrative is addressing. He won't address it, I will.

Ed Cone

Seating capacity at the Elon baseball stadium is 2,000. Photos and eyewitness accounts agree that the infield and outfield were not packed. The 5,000 estimate came from the cops, and seems reasonable.

Joe Killian

Actually - the 2,000 figure came from the cops. I have heard a 5,000 figure, but not from anyone one official would give us that on the record by press time.

We went with the cop figure on the Obama rally too.


"Suck my left nut."

Quit flirting, Jeff. I don't swing that way, man.

David Hoggard

I think Jeff was just funnin' you, scharrison. I can't imagine him having a 'left' anything... certainly both of his nuts are on the right.

Doug Clark

Joe, where was Hank Jr. when you were kicked?


"Suck my left nut." - Sykes

To quote Derek and Clive "I love a man of conviction. Tell me what were you convicted of?" Inquiring minds are beginning to wonder, Jeff.

Joe Killian


He was, in all likelihood, whiskey bent and hell bound.


In this essay by Jasmina Tesanovic about the demise of the Radical Right in Serbia, there was an interesting piece of information:

A couple of days ago, journalists from various press groups were beaten up by Radical goons; at that point the new government declared Serbian journalists to be equivalent to Serbian police performing public duties, and severely penalized the street-thugs for attacking free speech.

Perhaps we need this kind of law here - if you attack a reporter, you are charged as if you have attacked a cop. Let me see the cowards do it.

Jerry Bledsoe

I earlier left a question for you at Sam Spagnola’s blog. You did not respond. Perhaps you didn’t see it.

I’m trying again. This time I’m posting it at the blogs of both Spagnola and Cone in the hope that you will see it and reply.

The question I left earlier was about the figure of only 2,000 people attending the Palin rally as reported by the News & Record. You said that a cop gave you that figure. I wanted to know who that officer is and for which law enforcement agency he or she works.

Not long after I left this question at Spagnola’s blog, John Robinson said at his blog. “The Burlington Police told us 2,000. That’s where we got the number.”

Since the rally apparently took place in Elon, which has its on police department, I wondered why the Burlington Police would be issuing such a statement. I asked John who at the Burlington Police department provided that information. So far he has not given an answer.

Was the officer who provided you the 2,000 figure from the Burlington PD? Is this the person John is relying on? Or did he get the figure from somebody else at Burlington PD?

I still want to know the name of this officer and the agency for which the officer worked. As a diligent journalist, surely you got the officer’s name and the department, didn’t you? Most cops wear name tags and insignia so that’s not too tough.

Will you now provide that information?

I now have other questions.

You could see the crowd. Were you aware that the stadium, as Ed Cone points out, seated 2,000? Weren’t the seats filled, along with the infield and most of the outfield, as video tapes and photos show? Weren’t more people in shaded areas beyond the stadium? Shouldn’t that have caused you to question the officer’s judgment that only 2,000 were present?

Do you accept anything that any police officer says as fact and present it that way even if your own judgment tells you that it’s not true?

Why did you accept the 2,000 figure?

Sam’s concerns about the attack on you also raise more questions.

As a reporter, if someone had come to you with a story about an assault that is as deficient in details as the one you have provided would you have published it?

Here are some questions about the attack that I think a reporter or police officer might ask. Who were you interviewing at the time of the attack? Can you provide a name? At which dorm did this occur? Did anybody attempt to stop the attacker?

You wrote that from your position on the ground after the attacker sent you sprawling, “I saw the bottoms of a number of feet almost accidentally stomping me to death as the two political camps screamed back and forth, the music continued to blare and some of the Obama crowd moved the large bearded man and his friends away. When I was helped to my feet the bearded man was walking quickly away”

How many friends were with this guy? What were their descriptions? How did the Obama crowd move him and his friends away? Did nobody attempt to detain him after witnessing the attack? Did anybody call for help? Call the police? Were you helped to your feet by the person you had been interviewing?

How far did you have to go to find a police officer? You wrote that you did find one eventually. How long did it take? Who was that police officer and what agency was he with?

You wrote that he was “courteous and helpful.” What did you tell him and what did he say to you?

Certainly, this officer can be located and can confirm what you say if you can only supply the details that any reporter would require. That would clear everything up, wouldn’t it?

Fred Gregory

Great idea Coturnix ! Maybe in an Obama administration where the press will be ogoon enforcers in obrown shirts with " O " armbands.

Something along the line of Woodrow Wilson's Espionage and Sedition Acts:

" The Sedition Act of 1918 was similar to the Espionage act; it prohibited people from speaking against the United States government or constitution. These acts would be used, out of context, by A. Mitchell Palmer to detain thousands of individuals because of their radical views."


my friends at newsbusters has chimed in on the issue

here is the link,



Fred can't read.

Not becoming cops (wearing guns and stuff). Legally being treated as cops, thus attacking journos becomes a much heavier offense. Which would allow the press to do their job even when surrounded by thugs.

Britt Whitmire

You could always ask your questions to Joe on his blog: http://joekillian.wordpress.com/

Britt Whitmire

This article could apply to the Killian Kaper:


Jerry Bledsoe

I did. They're still in moderation. But Joe says he's not censoring any comments and moderates only to keep out obscenity. Maybe they'll appear. If not, I guess we'll just have to assume that journalism 101 questions are obscene to Joe.

John The Catholic

Hey Jerry, would it make you feel better if I told you that James Hinson was behind the whole attendance thing at Elon?

Jonathan Jones

Jerry, you know there's an old saying about assumptions?

Learned that in Journalism 101.

Fred Gregory

Coturnix leaves pointless and ambiguous links subject to wide ranging inerpretation. If a group is declared to be a milita then with that imprimatur it is entitled to assume that it possesses all rights and powers bestowed on that entity and may act as it chooses even in unholy causes. No mistake about it.

So old chap, do you think assault on this
despised minority

should result in a declaration of a special
class of victims and avengers ?

BTW , do you think this was a hate crime ?

Assault, is assault, is assault.. not Gertrude Stein.

Duke of Denton

All you nut suckers need to get a room. I was on the way to the Palin perfidy when I saw law enforcement officers knocking out tail lights on the cars which had Obama stickers. They knocked out the head lights if they had the rainbow on it. They were all given citations. Then they made the women in the cars get out and assume the position for a body cavity check. I heard the guy who knocked Killian down say "you got a purty mouf" to which Killian adjusted his manly pantsuit and put a tobacco pipe in his mouth. I am the Duke of Denton and I approve this message.

Jerry Bledsoe


Don’t believe that old saw that was foisted on you in journalism school about never assuming. I’ve never known a reporter who didn’t assume to some benefit.

A reporter who doesn’t make logical assumptions is less likely to ask the right questions or to get to the core of anything.

The problem comes in presenting assumptions as fact.

From the information Joe has provided, that would appear to be what he has done with the attendance figure. He provided to his editors a cop’s false assumption that Joe should have been able to see for himself was not true. They published it as fact. If a cop didn't actually give him that illogical figure, then he had to have pulled it out of his ear for reasons of his own. Either way, it's dishonest journalism.

At any rate, we don’t have to worry about my logical and clearly facetious assumption that Joe might be considering my questions obscene. He has posted them. But for some reason he hasn’t bothered to answer them. Wonder why.

John Burns

Now you're upset because someone might have thought a crowd was smaller than it was?

You guys will go to any length to feel offended won't you?

I hope Obama obliterates McCain. 400 Electoral Votes would feel SUHWEEEET

sean coon

jerry bledsoe... don't you have a conspiracy to continue to fabricate?

please, we're all just dying to see how the resignation of a civil servant plays out.

longtime reader

watching a talented writer like jerry consumed by his bitterness at a former employer is sad.

watching him extend that bitterness to a talented young journalist like joe who sins only by working for that former employer is pathetic.


Jerry, this is why intelligent blogging is almost impossible and why smart people should stay away which is where I am heading after this election. You raise a legitimate question about reporting and rather than deal with your questions and the logic behind them, you get attacked. It's actually scary the way these Leftists are programmed to respond.

In any case, don't expect any answers. You won't get any.

And by the way, Mitch Johnson himself answered my interrogatories in an affidavit about the Black Book and stated that there was no illegitimate use of the black book, that it was a police photo array, and it was used for proper purposes at all times. Just FYI. I suppose questioning how that can be reconciled with his public statements are just the rantings of a journalist "bitter" with his former employer who is fabricating conspiracies.

Ed Cone

I bet Joe has sins other than working for the N&R...

Estimating crowd size is a tricky and oft-contentious business. Binker's article cites a police estimate, but that estimate doesn't seem to have been credible based on the seating capacity of the stadium and a quick sense of the action on the field. A GOP honcho told me that 6,000 + tickets were distributed, but that doesn't mean all of them were used; of course, there may have been people outside the stadium, too -- including the protesters. The headlines elsewhere proclaiming 15,000 look kind of silly, too. In any case, this is what's known as a "mistake," not a mortal sin.

Writers earn credibility through their work. What I've seen of Joe's work gives me no reason to suppose that he fabricated, or would fabricate, the kicking incident. Spag, on the other hand, posited at his own site a conspiracy theory that was immediately picked apart by readers; his credibility is not high. In fact, it's a joke.

Jerry does have it in for the N&R, but that doesn't mean the N&R isn't subject to criticism, or that Jerry is never the man to bring it. In this case, I don't see the basis for his accusatory tone about Joe's account. I count both Jerry and Joe as friends, and I think they'd enjoy each other and share a professional bond. (Crap, I almost typed "why can't we all get along?" there.) Maybe I can get the two of them together for a beer -- anyone who does this job can learn a lot from Jerry.

David Hoggard

I don't understand the questioning of Joe's story. It is just too much of a stretch for me to believe that Joe would make up the incident. I base this on the high level of credibility that he has earned - at least with me - over the years.

And Jerry, I seriously doubt that he is going to answer your inquiries. I know I wouldn't. Not because they came from you, but because of the time it would take to bring together all the sources you are asking for, not to mention the follow-up questions his answers would surely spawn. I see a tar baby in his future should he start down that path.

And all for what? It sure wouldn't be money... and it sure wouldn't be out of a concern to bolster his cred among those who don't think he has any anyway and who will be looking for the least little crack in every further detail provided.

Nope. I'd move on if I were Joe. Not worth the effort.

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