Patterico's Pontifications

12/18/2012

Debunking Tommy Christopher on the Attack on Steve Crowder, Part 3: How a Careful Analysis of Raw Video Is Inconsistent with Crowder Starting the Fight with the Guy Who Punched Him

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

I am spending (at least) five posts ripping apart Tommy Christopher’s recent post about the attack on Steve Crowder.

Part 1 showed how Christopher built his entire post around the false assumption that Lee Stranahan filmed and edited the Crowder video — then rewrote the post to remove the repeated references to Stranahan, and issued a correction that doesn’t come close to revealing how central Christopher’s partisan-driven error was to his post.

Part 2 showed how Christopher misrepresented key aspects of Crowder’s interviews with Sean Hannity and Sun News. Christopher claimed Crowder told viewers he had not pushed anyone. But Crowder said no such thing. Christopher claimed Crowder had admitted in a separate interview that he had pushed the man who punched him. But Crowder said no such thing.

This post takes on Christopher’s claim insinuating that the video itself shows Crowder pushing the guy to the ground:

Crowder’s dishonesty, and the lack of a full video, raises questions about whether the man he pushed was actually trying to protect the tent, and how violently Crowder pushed him. Hannity’s guest said he saw video of Crowder taking the man down to the ground.

I have already said, in Part 2, that Hannity’s guest saw no such thing, of course, and Christopher knows it. Hannity’s guest saw video of the guy on the ground and made up the part about seeing Crowder push him there. And Christopher knows it.

If Christopher didn’t hate Crowder, and love the lying union guy — or even if he just cared about the truth — he would point out that the video does not show what the union guy claims. But he is content to repeat the union guy’s unsubstantiated claim — as long as it furthers his preferred narrative.

In this post, I examine the relevant available video to show that, not only does the video not show Crowder pushing the guy down, it is (as best as I can tell) inconsistent with any such notion.

WARNING: In this post, I am headed straight for the weeds. In my defense, there will be lots of pictures in the form of screenshots from the video.

If you don’t have the patience to read what follows, zip ahead to the last set of screenshots, showing stills from two different videos. Those stills are happening at the same time, showing Crowder’s hands in the air as the guy is on the ground.

If you want to follow me into the weeds, keep reading as I explain, step by step, how the video evidence contradicts any claim that Crowder pushed the guy to the ground:

Here is the video as shown on Hannity. As you can see, when it was shown on Fox News on Hannity’s show, it was completely unedited with no breaks in the relevant portion, between the time when the union thug is standing, and when Crowder gets punched. Start watching the video at 1:25 for about 15 seconds. You can’t see in this angle what causes the thug to go to the ground, but it seems very unlikely that Crowder attacked him.


One interesting thing: when the thug is on the ground, you hear someone yell: “Uh, oh! Uh, oh!” and you can hear Crowder say: “You just assaulted me, buddy!”

And that’s before the thug punches Crowder.

Before.

Check out this video from another angle. We’ll call this the “second video” to distinguish it from the Hannity video. You can start watching the second video at about 1:25:

At about 1:25, someone rushes the tent. This person is not the same person who eventually punches Crowder. Instead, it’s the person who, later in the video, is heard yelling: “He’s got a gun!” and screams about how he’ll “kill motherfuckers with a gun.” Someone who I believe to be Crowder reaches out with their right hand and pulls them away from the tent with that single hand, as Crowder yells: “Hey, why is that acceptable?! Why is that acceptable?!”

Then the fellow who later punches Crowder comes walking up and says, presumably to Crowder. Crowder asks him: “Why is this acceptable?” The man says: “You don’t fuckin’ touch nobody.” Crowder responds: “What?” And the man repeats: “You don’t fuckin’ touch nobody.”

Crowder says: “What? Oh my God, look at this shit.”

Then the puncher says: “That’s right. You fuckin’ rats came up here.”

There is a lot of confusion in there, and you can’t see exactly what happens. But one thing you do notice is that, in this second video, at 1:42 and 1:43, Crowder’s hands are up. (You can see Crowder’s hands go up in the Hannity video as well, but I think it’s a little more clear in the second video.) And people are starting to look at the ground, presumably because the other guy is there. I took some stills to show this sequence:

Now, the task is to relate the two videos to one another in some way, so we know what is going on in the Hannity video when Crowder is holding up his hands in the second video. Amusingly enough, the best way to relate the two is the profane screaming of the hothead.

In the second video, at 1:51 you hear the hothead who screams about a gun yell: “You fuckin’ pussy-ass bitch!” At 1:44, the crack censors at Fox were kind enough to leave in the guy yelling “You fuckin’ pussy-ass” — then and only then do they bleep out the word “bitch.”

So, the Hannity video at 1:44 is the same as the second video at 1:51. So, within the margin of error of a half second or so, you can subtract seven seconds from the second video and that will be the same event from a different angle on the Hannity video.

Second video at 1:51 minus seven seconds = Hannity video at 1:44.

This is confirmed at a different point. In the Hannity video, you hear the hothead guy at 1:51 guy yell: “I’ll kill [bleep] with a gun!” And in the second video, you hear the same guy at 1:58 yell: “I’ll kill the motherfucker with a gun!” So the second video at 1:58, minus seven seconds, is the same as the Hannity video at 1:51.

This is a second point of corroboration showing that the time in the second video minus seven seconds = the time in the Hannity video.

Again: Time in second video minus seven seconds = time in Hannity video.

Got that?

So, in those screenshots above, you see Crowder holding up his hands at 1:42 and 1:43 in the second video. So what is happening in the Hannity video at the same time? Time in second video minus seven seconds = time in Hannity video. So, we want to look at the Hannity video at 1:35 to 1:36 (1:42 and 1:43 minus seven seconds).

That’s when Crowder is holding up his hands in the second video.

And in the Hannity video, that’s when the guy is going to the ground:

I think it’s worth interspersing the screen shots from the two videos, so you can see what is happening from one angle at the same time you see what is happening from another. The first set compares 1:42 in the second video to 1:35 in the Hannity video, followed by 1:43 in the second video to 1:36 in the Hannity video. All the shots are in sequence:

When you look at this sequence of pictures, together with Crowder’s statement “You just assaulted me, buddy!” right before the punch, it appears to undercut any conclusion that Crowder started the fight. In context, it looks like the following happened:

  • Someone, possibly Crowder, pulled a hothead off the tent with one hand.
  • The puncher approached Crowder, told him not to touch anyone, called him a rat, and cursed at Crowder.
  • The puncher went down as Crowder held up his hands to show he hadn’t caused it.
  • Crowder told the puncher that he (the puncher) had just assaulted him (Crowder).
  • The puncher repeatedly punched Crowder.

WARNING: SPECULATION!!! If I had to speculate based on these facts, I would guess that the thug, clearly already upset at Crowder to the point of cursing, tried to attack Crowder, and in the process got knocked to the ground — perhaps by a surprised Crowder who acted on instinct and didn’t even realize what had happened until he saw the guy on the ground. When Crowder saw the guy on the ground, Crowder instantly held up his hands to show he had not (at least intentionally) knocked the puncher to the ground, and told the puncher that he (the puncher) had assaulted Crowder. Then the guy got up and punched Crowder.

There are all sorts of other things that could have happened. But any theory has to reconcile the facts I have shown above.

And it has to take account of another fact helpful to Crowder: it was a Detroit News photographer named John Greilick who captured the best shots of the union thug punching Crowder:

And Greilick has described the event as an attack on Crowder.

Greilick is, as far as I can tell, an objective witness to the incident — somebody there, not to support Crowder or Americans for Prosperity, on one hand, or the union members, on the other hand.

I have written Greilick to ask whether he saw Crowder act aggressively or otherwise start the fight, and he has not responded. However, it is worth noting that Greilick’s blog post about the incident describes an attack on Crowder:

In this sequence of photos, an IBEW Union member threatens, then punches conservative Fox News reporter Steven Crowder in the face outside the pro-Right-to-Work tent of Americans for Prosperity. The anti-Right-to-Work union protestors eventually tore down the tent.

If the thug was just defending himself against Crowder, you’d think this independent witness might have mentioned that. The fact that he didn’t suggests to me that this was exactly what it appears: an unprovoked attack on Crowder.

Still to come:

  • Debunking Tommy Christopher on the Attack on Steve Crowder, Part 4: Why Did Tommy Christopher Not Mention the Statements from Black Witnesses on Who Pulled Down the Tent?
  • Debunking Tommy Christopher on the Attack on Steve Crowder, Part 5: Ignoring the Other Victims of Union Violence

UPDATE: Alternate theory: in this interview Crowder says the guy may have tripped on the tent.

The camera pans away because the camera was jostled, the camera man was shoved around too, a bunch of people were being shoved as the protesters tried to tear down the tent. A tent which wasn’t their property. They were tearing down a tent with women and children in it, and the man who was coming at me I think tripped over the tent peg, fell towards me, and that’s when I said ‘You assaulted me.’ Right after that he sucker punched me. My guess is that he was on his way down, he grabbed me, and started shoving me.”

Thanks to repsac3.

29 Comments

  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (8b3905) — 12/18/2012 @ 7:01 pm

  2. Can’t vouch for the commentary, but here is a really good side-by-side of two clips running simultaneously that much better shows what was happening in front of and behind Tony.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57bd1cvpLTo
    Unfortunately still does not show clearly the cause and start of Tony’s fall, and what Tony and Steve were actually doing at that point.

    What we really need is a quad-screen with all 4 known clips, including the one with perspective shot out of inside of tent showing Chris getting thrown back toward the rear of Tony.

    Comment by Guest (ce6e2f) — 12/18/2012 @ 7:38 pm

  3. It seems like the union-puncher-guy tripped or maybe was pushed but, if so, it’s hard to see how Crowder could have done it. The angle isn’t right.

    This is a good, weedy post.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/18/2012 @ 7:50 pm

  4. The dual screen video shows just what I say in this post.

    But my post lacks the dumb left-wing snark present in that video.

    Comment by Patterico (8b3905) — 12/18/2012 @ 7:51 pm

  5. I’ve no doubt you can work this in, but in this interview, Crowder says the man tripped and fell toward him, and that was the initial assault he mentions in the video.: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2012/12/14/what-did-steven-crowder-say-about-his-video-editing/

    I don’t condone the thugs who took the tent down, or the way this guy reacted either, but I do think someone from AfP pushed “Tony” down and he thought it was Crowder, and that Crowder laid hands on other union protesters in defense of the tent. (I also see union protesters actively trying to stop the violence and vandalism and helping those affected, and a whole lot more just not getting involved, so I’m not so quick to condemn the whole for the bad behavior of individuals.)

    I suspect as a layman that it’ll be too vague and convoluted to successfully prosecute, but “Tony” did react poorly, even if he did think Crowder knocked him down.

    Good work on the video synch, though… I tried having two windows open and switching between, but it wasn’t anymore clear to me what actually happened… Unless a more clear video surfaces, I suspect that not even those involved will ever know for sure… I know I don’t…

    Comment by repsac3 (0f9086) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:02 pm

  6. The way that this Tommy Christopher take-down is developing via forensic investigation, perhaps we should take Tommy at his own word when Tommy suggests, regarding Crowder’s video clips:

    “Furthermore, every cable news show that played this video should correct the record, and think twice, in the future, about using clips from an untrustworthy source.

    (h/t Wonkette)

    Author’s note: An earlier version of this post identified Lee Stranahan, who shot the video of the tent going down, as the videographer behind the fight video, as well. He did not shoot that video, he only shot the tent video. This post has been edited to reflect this, and I regret the error.”

    By Tommy’s own declared standard, we should all never ready another Tommy Christopher article or view another Mediaite video clip, due to the well-established dubiousness of Tommy Christopher.

    Comment by Guest (ce6e2f) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:02 pm

  7. I knew that Burnside ended up in Seattle, apparently Luciano, the other member of the Zimmerman ‘editing’ team ended up at Mediaite

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:19 pm

  8. What I like about the video is that it also the name of the union man — so called — yelling that he will shoot 20 of “them”, on his jacket. Another one identifiable.

    Comment by jb (7d6e47) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:24 pm

  9. Greilick is, as far as I can tell, an objective witness to the incident — somebody there, not to support Crowder or Americans for Prosperity, on one hand, or the union members, on the other hand.

    A Detroit newspaper employee? Union member. When I lived in Detroit the newspaper employees went on strike and there were star nails in parking lots and a few pipe bombs in newspaper vending machines.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (d8dade) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:42 pm

  10. tripped on the strap?

    Comment by Auntie fraud (2f38aa) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:54 pm

  11. I agree that Crowder did not start the fight. He never would.

    But his video and braggadocio are milking this nonsense for all it’s he’s worth.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/18/2012 @ 8:55 pm

  12. I don’t know what Maximum Fighting For F**s is. But at fifty-six and a half, missing half a leg and an eye, I would have Crowder writhing in a quarter of a second.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/18/2012 @ 9:02 pm

  13. Like the fat old guy did.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/18/2012 @ 9:04 pm

  14. You do, sometimes, pick the oddest Desdemonas to tilt for, Patterico.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/18/2012 @ 9:06 pm

  15. There’s no braggadocio like Greek braggadocio.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 12/18/2012 @ 9:23 pm

  16. Nothing like an artful analysis to bring out the macho “I can take Crowder” responses like NK posted here. There are so many tough guys on the Internet….

    I rarely read Tommy Christopher mainly because he frequently isn’t that entertaining and almost never is informative through analysis or even thoughtful investigation and reporting. But I dutifully clicked the link to his original post. It’s almost childish in its simplicity and lack of argument. I suppose it was intended to be more of a opinion piece, after all he managed to place “Fox News” within the first five words of his title. Was Crowder representing or working on behalf of FNC? Some of these little boy stiffies about Fox are getting trite and old.

    Comment by JohnInMA (0d6af8) — 12/18/2012 @ 10:11 pm

  17. There’s no braggadocio like Greek braggadocio
    Especially as I believe Crowder ids a MMA enthusiast. And by that, I mean active participant therein.

    Comment by Gazzer (6b12c4) — 12/18/2012 @ 10:19 pm

  18. MMA? ;) I have met a couple. Kung fu for hairdressers.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/18/2012 @ 11:05 pm

  19. WARNING: In this post, I am headed straight for the weeds.

    Man, I totally misunderstood that… Got my bong ready and everything…

    But seriously, Breitbart would be proud at the way you are exposing tommy. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Ghost (2d8874) — 12/18/2012 @ 11:07 pm

  20. Especially as I believe Crowder ids a MMA enthusiast. And by that, I mean active participant therein.

    He probably could have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon just for defending himself. If he wanted to, he could have ended that guy. As POD said, “if it wasn’t for my God, I would’ve already had you.”

    Comment by Ghost (2d8874) — 12/18/2012 @ 11:11 pm

  21. MMA? ;) I have met a couple. Kung fu for hairdressers.
    In fairness, you have to remember that NK is brain-damaged. Oh wait, he was like this before the operation…

    Comment by Gazzer (4c4ae2) — 12/18/2012 @ 11:28 pm

  22. Gazzer, or any of you other guys, have you ever been in a fistfight?

    Did you watch the video? The old fat guy should never have been able to land that punch.

    Do you know what gymfighter means?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 12/19/2012 @ 12:20 am

  23. NK – do you have a goal or point to make besides trying to convince us you are some skillful fighting dynamo, undefeatable and generating fear in all who oppose you??? The fact that you come back to comment repeatedly say a lot about you and convinces me even less of your points about Crowder.

    Comment by JohnInMA (0d6af8) — 12/19/2012 @ 5:10 am

  24. In this interview, Crowder says the man tripped and fell toward him, and that was the initial assault he mentions in the video.: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2012/12/14/what-did-steven-crowder-say-about-his-video-editing/

    As a matter of law, if the man tripped and bumped Crowder on his way to the ground, is that assault and battery, assuming that contact was unintentional?

    Crowder asserts Tony tripped, so let’s presume Crowder actually saw him trip. (Note that just before this, Crowder places his right hand on Tony’s side and turns away but let’s assume Crowder saw him trip as opposed to being pushed.)

    Why would Crowder call that an assault?

    And if that was an assault, wasn’t Crowder and the other(s) who pushed them off the tent with intent also committing assault and battery?

    Comment by Nancy (2f9e9d) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:03 am

  25. That’s nk — as manly as a Ken doll.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (e6f27f) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:25 am

  26. Just want to point out that Tommy also changed the headline of that story.

    Original:
    “Fox News Contributor Steven Crowder Confirms He Started Fight with Union Protester”

    After he received a lot of crap (a lot from Ace), changed it to:
    “Didn’t Fox News Contributor Steven Crowder Just Confirm He Started Fight with Union Protester?”

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-news-contributor-steven-crowder-confirms-he-started-fight-with-union-protester/

    Anyhoo, nice series. :O)

    Comment by sarainitaly (211d1d) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:19 am

  27. Nancy I suspect you. I think you are a phony person asking lame questions with deliberately faulty assumptions on purpose, as the answers are obvious and you have to be stupid not to be able to look them up if even if they were not.

    That’s my grumpy post of the day.
    Assuming “melee conditions” a man with a big punching fist on his shirt coming right atcha and knocking you may appear to be assault.

    In fact it may be assault, if his intend was to collide or attack, even if he falls down.

    Getting into someone’s space in an aggressive manner without legal excuse – like trying to stop a criminal act in progress (tearing down a tent with people in it) esp when the safety of others is threatened.

    My theory is that the union puncher was moving aggressively towards Crowder and fell. He might even have been trying to land a blow then fell.

    The most benign imaginable circumstance is that he was meaning to be physically imposing and aggressive and was jostled and tripped, and fell down, thought someone had “helped” him down and got mad. More likely he was humiliated by his own trip and blamed Crowder.

    Comment by SarahW (b0e533) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:32 am

  28. [Also posted this same comment in Part 2]

    Much of Crowder’s defense and Tommy Christopher’s now-to-be-documented unfounded assertions depend on the narrative.

    Crowder says “that was a melee” and that the union folks were attacking and ransacking the tent with elderly people and women inside, and he and a group of people were basically attempting to hold the fortress.

    TommyX not only has a blind eye to that and otherwise downplays it, he even engaged in the “Wheelerization” of it, giving some credence that it was all just a set-up and instigation or provocation, and any reports of union violence ought to be discounted.

    For reference all in one place, here in the comments at end of Part 1 starting at comment 44:

    http://tinyurl.com/cy442jp

    1) Another view of end of Crowder fight, but showing nearly immediate tent collapse and intensity of situation – and in clips in comments #46 and #49 showing very clear views of the fight from other angles, including melee inside the tent both before and after the fight (and really good shots of Tony’s uppercut and gut punches as an added attraction).

    2) Violent union “strikes”, sometimes shocking against elderly people are shown especially well in clips in comments #46 and #47 and they also show the context of other scuffles that were happening both inside and outside the tent in the 3-4 minutes in which the fight occurred.

    3) Several of the dozen clips in the ten comments from #43-52 show aspects of the melee, especially the confusion and dire situation in the tent, at a couple of points nearly frantic with screams and terror – what Crowder is claiming to defend, what Tommy and Wheeler discount or ignore.

    Note 1: I have retracted some of my earlier comments on that thread. I saw a screen shot (and video) of what appeared to be Crowder’s arm extended on to Tony’s back as Tony was going down. Like the Republican BlueCollarCorner union guy on Hannity with Crowder who asserted that Crowder had pushed Tony to the ground, I also perceived that, but it is wrong. It is not Steve’s arm, it is Tony’s arm.

    Note 2: That’s all context before, during and after the fight, and clips of the end of the fight, but none show the crucial moment when Tony fell. I have a distinct recollection of two specific clips that do show Tony at the moment that he fell. I can no longer find them on the web. Will the owners’ repost them for all to find again and see?

    The first clip was a clear shot from the inside of the tent that showed Chris the Gingerhair union instigator charging the tent and the guy in the overcoat he was pushing, who I call “Randall”, who Chris said “has a gun” and Chris has “killed plenty of people with [i.e. who have] a gun”. It then shows “Randall” pushing Chris like a lineman pushes a tackle back 5 yards into a quarterback – all in the area directly to the rear of Tony. In other clips we can see that the man next to Tony, and others, react to it. It may show “evidence” relating to the fall of Tony. I cannot recall clearly, so it may not.

    The second clip was a second camera taking shots just to the right and rear of Steve and Tony, and was a very clear shot of them just before and at the moment of Tony’s fall, and after Tony’s fall. I have a very clear impression in my mind what this video showed because I watched those few seconds over and over and stepped it to see the detail and get it right. However, given my perception was wrong about the other clip of Tony’s fall (that I have retracted), I am reluctant to state what I perceived and believe to have seen. I will state that I my recollection is that Steve did two things and Tony did one thing. None of which are threatening per se beyond the voices where we can hear Tony’s name-calling and Steve’s questioning the acceptableness of the union attacks on the tent that we can hear in other clips. But they do gives clues to what is about to happen next. I recall (but could be wrong) that I was not able to determine from this clip what actually causes Tony’s fall, or how he initially fell, because when Tony goes down he is obscured by Steve and perhaps others standing in front of the camera.

    I cannot confirm this, but my impression at the time was that these clips were shot by people in Crowder’s “Crew”, that is, from the 3-4-5 phone camera guys that were sort of hanging together and sometimes seen and heard near each other in many of the clips. I might be wrong. If anyone is watching and knows where these clips are, would be a fine thing to see them posted here.

    Comment by Guest (ce6e2f) — 12/19/2012 @ 5:31 pm

  29. [also posted in Part 2]

    I should add, regarding the “missing video” that I refer to as the “second [missing] clip] at the end of prior comment:

    It was a close up and clear shot of both Tony and Steve, without any obstruction up to and including the point of Tony’s fall. It also appeared to show the moment of Tony’s fall with part’s of Tony still in the frame, and Steve in the frame during the fall.

    It also showed “Randall” behind Tony at a couple of points, including during some or all of his pushing match with Chris that was just to the rear of Tony.

    I might be wrong, but my impression of this clip I can no longer find on the web had a better resolution, perhaps a professional camera, not merely a phone camera.

    Comment by Guest (ce6e2f) — 12/19/2012 @ 5:58 pm

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