ABC News Blog: Political Radar
For politicians, hecklers come with the territory. But the arrest and detention of Meyer at Kerry speech on Monday stood out in at least two respects: Police acted aggressively in trying to silence Meyer, and the entire incident was captures on video -- making it an immediate Internet and TV sensation.
I've been refraining from commenting on this story because, well--the kid was an idiot. And it would appear that Meyer was looking for a conflict. Indeed, I find it somewhat convenient that a video camera was on him from beginning to end.
Not that I am suggesting the Campus Police handled the situation correctly. From all appearances, they were fools duped into looking like fascist henchmen. There were definitely better ways to have handled the situation. Now, though, the rest of the nation sees the police as thugs quick to use weapons simply because a person is struggling.
Struggling does not justify the use of a Taser. I suspect these officers lacked the training to adequately defuse a situation. It would appear they also lack the training to handle a struggling person.
On the other hand, Andrew Meyer appeared to be looking for a conflict. From Will Bunch of Attytood
Every piece written by Meyer, mostly intended for the Alligator
student newspaper and one or two published in a daily newspaper, the
Sun-Sentinel, is an angry diatribe against someone, no matter what the
subject matter -- Republicans, his fellow students, Florida quarterback
Chris Leak, even a fraternity Dance Marathon for charity.
Of course, not everything got published.
"Not printed in the Alligator...whatever, f--- my editor," it reads
atop one of the articles reprinted online, a strange rant against
Valdosta, Georgia. We can't imagine why they didn't, with gems like
We stopped at the local Chinese buffet, which my friend
John would later describe as "terrible" and "horrific," which said fast
sounds like "terrific," which is what I'm sure he meant to say. After
dinner, we picked up some supplies at the dollar store (torch fluid,
bleach, aluminum foil, orange soda, three lighters, and four plastic
Barbie dolls: $15), and drew strange looks from the cashier. In
Georgia, you have to make your own fun.
Frankly, Meyer's writings are often hysterical, although I don't
think intentionally so. He's determined not to allow facts get in the
way of a strong opinion -- creating this classic lede in the process:
Admittedly, I know very little about Student
Government. But I think I got the gist of it from the Alligator --
bickering between parties blah blah blah, corrupt candidates blah blah
blah, nothing ever gets done, etc. -- and, from what I can tell, the
entire system needs to be completely revamped.
Of course, the problem with having such strong, instant opinions is
that sometime you change them, as apparently evidenced by this note he
placed atop a column/review of the movie "Sin City":
Oops. Everyone is allowed to screw up once, and this is
mine. In retrospect, I should have used the movie to point out how good
comic books are, not the other way around. I was low on time when the
idea came to me, so I didn't really think about what angle I should
In the meantime, Meyer made a lot of people really, really angry. His column attacking Leak, who would eventually bring Florida a national championship in football, as a "bad player" was especially unpopular, as you might expect. One email that he reprinted:
Find a new major, you waste of flesh! Journalist is not
the career that you are cut out for, especially sports journalism. You
see, to write about sports, you need to have some hint of knowledge
about the sport which you are writing about. And as far as I can tell,
the only thing you are qualified to to write about is smoking out in a
VW wagon. You are clearly a liberal hippie who has destroyed every
braincell in your head. People like you do not deserve to be at a
school as great as the University of Florida.
There's so much more, but I simply suggest you read through his body
of work. I'm sure there are some gems here that I missed. The one thing
I rarely saw in any of his large, rant-filled body of printed work is
actual reporting (unless you count getting drunk in rural south
Georgia). Do they not teach that in the telecommunications program at
the University of Florida?
Looks like Mr Meyer is attempting to create the next sensation in journalism. Makes sense, what with Gonzo Journalism mostly on the decline. However, I believe making yourself the story is not really the intent of Gonzo Journalism.
Well, this story from CNN
confirms my suspicions that it was a set-up:
"You will take my question because I have been listening to your
crap for two hours," Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report
of the incident.
He then turned to a woman and said "Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?" the report said.
Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN,
said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him
posing his questions to Kerry.
Meyer responded, "What did I do? Get off me ... get the f--- off
me, man, I didn't do anything. Don't Tase me, bro, I didn't do
Police noted that his demeanor "completely changed
once the cameras were not in sight" and described him as laughing and
being lighthearted as he was being driven to the Alachua County
"I am not mad at you guys, you didn't do
anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job," Meyer said,
according to the police report.
At one point, he asked whether there were going to be cameras at the jail, according to the report.
Yup, idiots all the way around.