The campaign of Dede Scozzafava, the moderate Republican candidate in a three-way race with a Democrat and a Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, is now in a public shouting match with the Weekly Standard — which is blasting the campaign for what it calls an abuse of the press by a desperate politician.
This comes after the Scozzafava camp called the police on their reporter John McCormack, for asking a lot of pointed questions of Scozzafava and following her into the parking lot of an event.
Scozzafava spokesman Matt Burns told the Politico that McCormack’s behavior “shows a complete lack of decency,” and seemed to be saying that McCormack was stalking his candidate: “This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions (in-your-face-style) while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?). And then he followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. I have no doubt he intended to follow her home, too. His actions were reprehensible. Those are the facts.”
Bill Kristol has fired back, standing up for his reporter — and calling Burns the abusive one.
Let me emphasize: I have full confidence in the truth of John’s account. And I won’t allow a desperate campaign to try to tarnish the fine reputation John has built as a fair and accurate reporter — and, for that matter, a very decent and mild-mannered young man.
As it happens, I was standing near John’s desk in the office this past Friday. The phone rang. It was Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns, who didn’t like something John had reported, and started yelling abusively at him the moment he answered the phone. We could hear Mr. Burns ten feet away. I gather Mr. Burns called later to apologize. I suppose John would accept another apology by the Scozzafava campaign. But it really would be better not to start down the road of berating reporters for accurately reporting the facts, or of calling the police when your candidate doesn’t like the questions reporters are asking.
Late Update: Matt Burns gives us this comment: “If Bill and John are so interested in drawing a comparison between our candidate and their own, maybe they can join us in calling upon Doug Hoffman to debate the issues in public — not through sympathetic outlets. Our opponent bailed on two more today.”