Al Franken of the WWE

Al Franken of the WWE
: The NY Post reports that Al Franken tackled a heckler at a Dean rally:

Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.

The tussle left Franken’s trademark thick-rim glasses broken, but he said he was not injured….

Franken said he’s not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely…. “I’m neutral in this race but I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down.” …

“I was a wrestler so I used a wrestling move,” Franken said.

That might seem like an odd contradiction — I’m in favor of free speech and so I body-slammed you to shut you up — but it turns out he was going after a Larouchie. Now it all makes sense, eh?

Better watch out, Bill O’Reilly.

: UPDATE: Nick, a commenter, says the Post is tabbing it up and he points us to two other versions of this most momentous event. From NRO:

But just then, a second protester stood up and began his own high-volume tirade.

“Dean’s a liar!” he hollered.

At that point, comedian Al Franken rose from among the journalists and others near the stage and said, “Let’s get him out of here.”

Franken and a few others hustled the second man outside. As they did so, the first ill-mannered LaRouchite reemerged…

Throughout all this commotion, Howard Dean’s fuse stayed long and moist.

Bad visual.

And CNN does a Larouchie roundup:

Franken, a comedian and self-described liberal well-known for his attacks on the Bush administration and conservative-leaning media, helped carry out one of the disrupters. In the process, Franken’s glasses were knocked off his face and broke in two.

Putting them back together with electrical tape, he quipped he had been “deputized” by Dean’s security.

  • http://cellar.org/ Undertoad

    When humorists turn bitter, they are no longer humorists.
    Mike Moore is no longer a humorist.
    Bill Maher is no longer a humorist.
    Franken is teetering over the edge.

  • http://www.leadandgold.blogspot.com craig henry

    Doesn’t his actions come dangerously close to a crime? Slamming someone to the ground sounds like assault and/or battery.

  • http://www.modempool.com/nucleardann/blogspace/blog.htm Dann

    So much for Stuart Smalley??
    Seriously, there needs to be a change in how and who the media covers. Only covering Dems and the GOP is a serious disservice to the public. Having supported Libertarians in the past, I fully understand how it feels to have a message that the media ignores.
    Perhaps this sort of thing will become more common as people outside of the two dominant parties get more exposure at all levels of election races.
    -Regards

  • Mike G

    Normally I’d agree, but have you ever tried to have a sensible conversation with a Larouchie nearby? They’ll wreck anything they touch, absolutely unstoppable, not to mention unreachable, unfathomable and unspeakable.

  • http://www.stevegigl.com Steve Gigl

    “…have you ever tried to have a sensible conversation with a Larouchie nearby?”
    So that excuses a physical attack? Gotcha. Love how the Post was only concerned with Franken’s condition, not of the poor idiot he took down. And why the hell was Franken in a “state of shock” after the incident? Did he surprise himself by being such a violent asshole?

  • http://www.doctorweevil.org Dr. Weevil

    “Dangerously close to a crime”? I’m no lawyer, but it looks like a clearcut example of a crime, if it happened as described. If the LaRouchie had been asked to leave, and then Franken or someone else had taken him gently by the arm and propelled him towards the door and then he had thrown the first punch, then punching him could be construed as self-defense. But tackling a guy for purely verbal offensiveness? Sounds like assault and battery to me, and Franken probably has enough money to make the guy more likely to sue even if the facts are ambiguous. A really stupid move on Franken’s part.

  • Leland

    I read this earlier and my first thought: Assault. I don’t care for LaRouche or annoying protestors either; but then, if I intentionally knocked one down, I’d expect to be at least ticketed for assault. If this is not the case, expect it to be open season on protestors! I wonder what means Franken would support against protestors using rocks and stones on peace gatherings like say the WTO meetings?

  • http://o4brons.blogspot.com out4blood

    Irony in action. If you ask me.

  • http://youngcurmudgeon.typepad.com Eric Deamer

    Larouchie or Franken. Jeez. Nobody to root for.

  • http://www.photodude.com/ Reid

    I think Al’s going to find the market for Performance Satire is pretty shallow.

  • http://www.stevegigl.com Steve Gigl

    “I think Al’s going to find the market for Performance Satire is pretty shallow.”
    Particularly Full-Contact Performance Satire.

  • http://www.rsrobinson.net Randal Robinson
  • Catherine

    It never fails to irritate me that people, like Franken, who think they support free speech, but really they only support their own speech. Anyone who disagrees with them (or the Dixie Chicks or the Sarandon’s…the lot)are “crushing dissent.” Dopes.
    He should definitely get ticketed for assault. I wonder if anyone got this incident on video.

  • http://duckseason.blogspot.com Hei Lun Chan

    Dean and Franken: the next WWE tag team champions. Dean can cut the promos while Franken attacks from behind.

  • http://geistbear.blogspot.com Thomas

    So let see if I understand Franken’s message ‘if it’s in the United States we should stand up and defend freedom, but if it’s in another country we should let people continue to be oppressed under a murderous dictator and stay home…’

  • John

    The story about the New Hampshire incident was only one of two atricles about “Aggressive Al” today in the New York Post. In the other, on Page 6, Franken is alleged to have attempted to barge in front of a long line waiting for flights at the Des Moines airport last week following the Iowa caucuses.
    No punch-outs here, though and considering the airport location, probably a good thing for Al or he’d be suffering under Patriot Act oppression at this very moment, no doubt serving as John Ashcroft’s cabana boy in some remote corner of the Justice Department building.

  • Dennis

    Could he be any more ridiculous. He physically attacks a protestor and then tries to justify it in the name of free speech? Even he can’t believe that nonsense.
    I think he just freaked out. So much anger and demagogery in the Dem party, it’s bound to lead to this sort of thing. They sound like Buchanan’s brown shirts from around ’88 or ’90
    And he really hates Bush. I think the secret service should watch this guy!

  • Alex

    I am no Al Franken fan, and his actions probably do constitute assault, but let’s not fall into a trap here. I know the irony of “Shut up in the name of free speech” is too good to resist, but shouting down a speaker (what the Larouchie was reportedly doing) is not excercising free speech. In fact, it is the opposite. I think the airport story is a much better thing to bash Franken for.

  • Dean

    With all the references to Bush=Hitler, I’m surprised few have noted that, in the run-up to Hitler’s elections, it was Brownshirts who were beating up the opposition so Hitler could come to power.
    (Horst Wessel, whose death was commemorated in the Partei’s anthem “Die Horst Wessel Lied,” died in a street brawl along these lines.)
    But, then, that would be inappropriate, wouldn’t it? (Who does Franken support for President, again?)

  • Doctor Slack

    I think Al’s going to find the market for Performance Satire is pretty shallow.
    Why? It’s worked for the Bush Administration. ;-)
    (Well, to an extent…)
    Mike Moore is no longer a humorist. Bill Maher is no longer a humorist.
    Mike Moore never was nor pretended to be. Bill Maher is a mouth and always was. Dennis Miller is a way better example of former humorists going to pot… oh wait, he agrees with you! Then he must be darned funny! My mistake.
    So much anger and demagogery in the Dem party, it’s bound to lead to this sort of thing.
    That’s right, this week the Dean camp are… fascists! Yeah, that’s the ticket! They’re not just unstable, they’re “brown shirts” like Pat used to have! But, ummm, Hitler comparisons are Eeeevil and anyone who makes them is an anti-Semite…
    I think the secret service should watch this guy!
    The pitiful part of this is that you’re probably not joking.
    it’s in another country we should let people continue to be oppressed under a murderous dictator and stay home…
    Nth Corollary to Godwin’s Law: anyone who tries to pretend that disagreement with the war amounted to support for Saddam Hussein forfeits the argument.

  • http://www.agonist.org Nick

    Deroy Murdock of NRO paints this quite differently than Vincent Morris of the Post does.
    Seems that Dean’s security was predisposed with another LaRouche supporter, when Franken acted with other people in the audience to take this man outside.
    And CNN, far from mentioning a body slam, says “Franken … helped carry out one of the disrupters.”
    Typical NY Post garbage, IMHO. But they did get a couple good quotes out of Franken: “I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally.”
    What about a Dean supporter at a Bush rally, Mr. Franken?
    “…I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down”
    Yet I see Mr. Franken has resorted to an O’Reilly tactic, turning off the mike. Doesn’t freedom of speech also mean the guy yelling has a right to yell?

  • Doctor Slack

    Doesn’t freedom of speech also mean the guy yelling has a right to yell?
    Yes, obviously, freedom of speech means hecklers have absolute carte blanche to disrupt any event they see fit, and the organizers of that event just have to sit there and put up with it. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • http://hubrisfortyros.blogspot.com/ Dan Herzlich

    “Wise-cracking funny man…”
    The way this piece begins tells you about the author’s intention to set you up for a nice big slice of irony. There’s an adage in journalism that goes something like, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
    What’s really funny is how Dean was initially labeled as a “metrosexual,” now he’s seen as a rumpled-suit red-faced ranter. (Aliteration is another way to wink your eye at the reader.)
    DH

  • Angus Jung

    “Mike Moore never was nor pretended to be [a humorist].”
    Well, only when he’s backed into a corner.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    “Typical NY Post garbage,” except of course that Tim Russert confirmed the Post account on Imus this morning.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com H

    Murdock’s seems to be a first-hand account and doesn’t necessarily disprove the Post account. “Hustled” is very vague language. CNN’s appears to be a whitewash… not sure how that would happen to his glasses without some sort of scuffle.

  • Paul Zrimsek

    MOORE: Some of these, I think they found some guy named Dan was named Dave, and there was another thing. But you know, look, this is a book of political humor. So, I mean, I don’t respond to that sort of stuff, you know.
    DOBBS: Glaring inaccuracies?
    MOORE: No, I don’t. Why should I? How can there be inaccuracy in comedy? You know.

    CNN Moneyline, 4/12/02.

  • penny

    Mike Moore never was nor pretended to be(a humorist).
    Should also apply to a variation of your……..
    Nth Corollary to Godwin’s Law: anyone who tries to pretend that disagreement with the war amounted to support for Saddam Hussein forfeits the argument.
    Anyone that pretends that Michael Moore doesn’t fashion himself as a humorist forfeits the argument.

  • Charlie

    Anderson Cooper said tonight that Franken could be in trouble because LaRouche supporters are an endangered species.

  • John

    “Mike Moore never was nor pretended to be [a humorist].”
    Funny — at his 1996 libel trial he denied being a documentarian and said he was a humorist/entertainer who therefore didn’t have to meet the same standards of truth that a regular documentary producer is required to fulfill.

  • lk

    Novak went after somebody also, the old fart, who does he think he is, Don Zimmer?

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Josh Marshall, that horrible Murdoch right winger, does not deny the stuff about Franken and actually says this: “But as he was working up into full-froth a crew-cut three-hundred-poundish all-together not nice looking guy stomped out, extended his arm, grabbed the dude by the scruff of his neck, said a couple unpleasant things, and then proceeded to shake the guy around like a friggin’ rag doll, all the while making clear that he really shouldn’t have made such a scene. ”
    Is it really so hard to believe that in an atmosphere like that that Franken would get physical?

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Russert on Imus confirms NY Post – http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/1/27/94253.shtml

  • anne.elk
  • Charlie

    Oh, Anne, now you’ve done it. You’re hitting at Bob Novak, someone I think is one of the biggest scoundrels un-hung. That’s confusing.

  • Angus Jung

    Isn’t Symbolman the guy who did one of those “Bush = Hitler” ads?

  • James Stephenson

    Wow Doctor Slack, I guess you must like those Free Speech zones set up by the Secret Service right?
    I mean if a person should not be allowed to disrupt a political event by a candidate, they sure as heck should not be able to disrupt a political event by the President of the United States right?
    Or is it the case of, I don’t think they should disrupt an event by someone I like, but I don’t give a crap about someone I do not.

  • Luke

    I smell a civil lawsuit coming.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Yeah Symbolman gets around… Joe Conason wrote a column criticizing the Bush/Hitler theories that Symbolman quite seriously pushed at TakeBacktheMedia before becoming a finalist for Moveon.org’s (“We are against Bush/Hitler comparisons… unless they come from Margaret Cho or Janeane Garofalo or Michael Moore”) contest.

  • Doctor Slack

    I mean if a person should not be allowed to disrupt a political event by a candidate, they sure as heck should not be able to disrupt a political event by the President of the United States right?
    Right you are. Also, when someone argues that free speech doesn’t guarantee unrestricted freedom of heckling, they must automatically be endorsing each and every harebrained security scheme that could be cooked up to avoid hecklers, and context doesn’t matter a whit. Thanks for clearing that up!
    (To be a bit more serious, I wouldn’t say the Free Speech zones are unjustifiable First Amendment-wise. They’re politically boneheaded, of course, but that’s a different issue.)

  • Angus Jung

    Yeah, I figured there couldn’t be more than one Symbolman who’d be following the media around…