Yes, the NRCC TMZ'd Bob Etheridge

Yes, the NRCC TMZ'd Bob Etheridge

Yes, the NRCC TMZ'd Bob Etheridge

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 19 2010 2:45 PM

Yes, the NRCC TMZ'd Bob Etheridge

Big Government's SusanAnn Hiller cites me in a post bidding farewell to Rep. Bob Etheridge, who bullied two unidentified young men asking him questions in a video captured in June. "Some in the liberal media did try to spin that Etheridge was ambushed by GOP operatives," writes Hiller, "offering that narrative without any proof whatsoever."

The citation there is a post I did on the incident in which I said the NRCC was claiming not to be behind it. Checking my e-mail from that day, I see that I asked a NRCC spokesperson "hey, were the two students in the video working for you guys?" at 9:14 a.m. Eleven minutes later, the spokesperson told me, in full: "First saw it this morning and started circulating it."

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On November 4, we found out that the NRCC wasn't telling the whole truth .

Etheridge was captured on video grabbing a young man who was asking him about whether he supported President Barack Obama’s agenda. In a Wednesday morning interview, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions acknowledged to POLITICO that the committee was behind the video.

How many people did the NRCC's video reporters ask that question, "Do you fully support the Obama agenda?" We don't know and they don't have to say. (The reporters' identities have never been revealed.) We know that Etheridge responded to the question by bullying and manhandling them, which is a big part of why he lost re-election. But that "liberal spin" of June 14 was true -- he was ambushed by GOP operatives, as other candidates who lost in 2010 were ambushed by Democratic operatives or trackers. This wasn't citizen journalism, but a political trap that needed a sucker to fall into it, and one of them did.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.