Friday, September 17, 2004


Many on the right-leaning side of the blogosphere have been downright triumphalist about the role of blogs in Rathergate, and perhaps rightly so. But it is important to note that this is hardly a partisan issue. Blogs can fact check when either side runs without all of the facts. Latest example:

those mean Democrats! Posted by Hello

Many jumped on this and hoped that Karl Rove make the most of this golden opportunity. Drudge posts the picture with the headline: "GIRL CRIES AFTER BUSH/CHENEY SIGN RIPPED BY THUGS...:

The story Drudge links to tells the sad story:
"They just pounced on us," said Phil Parlock, who took his 11-year-old son, Alex, and 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, to the Democratic rally at Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va."

But there's a problem: this isn't the first time this type of thing has happened to Parlock:
Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, August 27, 1996, Page 3C

Phil Parlock's experience was less calm.

The Huntington man said he was knocked to the ground by a Clinton supporter when he tried to display a sign that read "Remember Vince Foster," the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in a Washington, D.C., park. His death has become the subject of much debate among Clinton opponents.

"It must have been a strict Democrat who did this," Parlock said, feeling the red abrasions on his face. "Everyone with the exception of him was real peaceful about our protest."


Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, October 28, 2000, pg. 1A:

Phil Parlock didn't expect to need all 12 of the Bush-Cheney signs he and his son Louis smuggled in their socks and pockets into the rally for Vice President Al Gore.

But each time they raised a sign, someone would grab it out of their hands, the two Huntington residents said. And sometimes it got physical.

"I expected some people to take our signs," said Louis, 12. "But I did not expect people to practically attack us."

More than anything else, I'm reminded of Patricia Vanlester, the woman who was allegedly trampled by a horde of DVD-player crazed Wal-Mart customers but who was later discovered to have had no fewer than eight mysterious accidents at Wal-Mart (as well as seven other accident claims elsewhere).

At the very least, Phil Parlock is a man who doesn't learn from experience. More likely he deliberately stages incidents in which he can portray himself as the aggreived victim of Democrat "thuggery." The fact that he involves his 3-year-old daughter in his shenanigans does little to endear him to me (or to most parents I would imagine.

I should note that while Jonah Goldberg on NRO's The Corner did note the political potential of the crying kid photo, he also linked to the new revelations about Parlock.

UPDATE: jtb-in-texas enthusiastically disagrees with my assessment of this whole affair. I feel compelled to remove any doubt that I am trying to argue that Mr. Parlock or anyone else deserves being treated uncivilly, let alone with violence.

Having said that, I also want to reinforce one previously made point: if Mr. Parlock wants to go to opponents’ political rallies and hold up protest signs, that is is his prerogative. But he shouldn’t have brought his 3-year-old daughter along, especially given his past experience.

Another point: how this incident is interpreted speaks volumes about our underlying worldviews. I suspect that for many on the right, the picture of a crying little girl reinforces the notion that the other side is uncivilized, ill-mannered, and perhaps even evil. Add to the mix Al Franken tackling a heckler or this incident and one might think there is evidence of a trend. There are two problems with this line of thinking, however. First is the fallacious generalization from a few isolated incidents to the whole. Is the behavior of Franken and the people who tore Mr. Parlock’s sign representative of all Democrats? All “liberals?” All “leftists?” Probably not. The second problem is that there are incidents of the same behavior at conservative Republican rallies. Examples include this case of pulling the hair of a heckler

hair pull Posted by Hello

or the infamous case of a young man kicking a protestor while she was being hauled out by security at the RNC (video here; more on the story here). Does this mean Republicans and Conservatives are generally uncivilized, ill-mannered, and evil? No. It means that there are uncivilized and ill-mannered people of all ideological persuasions.

wow, what an asshole!
So... because he wants to hold up a sign unlike everyone else -- and he's done it before -- he's a jerk?

Do you also consider the protesters/hecklers/dissenting voices at Republican events to be jerks if they've done it before?

Does his stubborn attendance where he's not wanted make the people who destroy his signs any less thug-like?

Does it say anything about a group that they cannot reason with those who hold opposing views, they must resort to physical violence, even against children?

Wouldn't it have been better to merely call the ever-present security and remove him?

I expected a lot more of you, Dr Larsen...
Updated comments are much more in line...

BTW, thanks for the mention!!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?