Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lawmaker Calls AP Reporter 'Despicable'

Posted by on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Why is there so much anger in the world?
  • Why is there so much anger in the world?
Speaker Kent Williams was back in good humor this afternoon as he returned to the House podium after this morning's fainting spell.

"I'd like to thank everyone for their concern. I'm going to sound like a hippie, but there is a lot of love in this chamber," he said before telling a few jokes.

"But I want to dispel the rumor that's already in the Legislative Plaza. I hope it's a rumor anyway that Mike Turner gave me mouth-to-mouth. But just as a precautionary measure, I did gargle a 16-ounce glass of pure bleach because I know there's not a mouthwash they make in this world that would have killed those germs. Any other announcements?"

At which point, things turned sour again. Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, grabbed his microphone and hurled new insults at the AP's Erik Schelzig, who had the audacity to do his job by snapping pictures of Williams after his collapse.

"Thank you Mr. Speaker," McCord said. "It was so good to see everybody rush in there in assistance. It was so disappointing to see that they had to get people out of the way trying to document such silliness. It was quite despicable behavior."

Update: At least one lawmaker supposedly is circulating a petition calling for banning Schelzig from the House floor. For his part, Schelzig is behaving like a professional and declining comment.

Update II:
Rep. Stacey Campfield gives his version of events on his blog. Recall that Schelzig is the guy who took a picture of Campfield's car parked right on the sidewalk outside the Capitol this session. That photo appeared on the front page of Campfield's hometown newspaper. In a big surprise, Campfield doesn't think Schelzig should have been taking pictures of the speaker.

I must say that while the speaker and I have had our differences I found it quite distasteful that someone would try and get a picture of someone while they are down in a weakened state like that.

Yes, I tried to block the pictures from being taken.

A few seconds later the capitol security showed up and ordered Eric Schelzig to stop taking pictures and leave the chamber. He tried to fight about it but they were ready to carry him out if he did not go, so he walked out, escorted by the security.

I did not hear any cussing or threats. I heard a lot of No,no, no!, Stop that! Sort of thing but that was about it. There was no real physical contact other then possibly capitol security had him by the arm.

Update III: Silence weighs in. "Arrogance in government, example 7,256,931,008,341,408,001." It really doesn't pay to mess with the press.

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