It's not news that Michele Bachmann exists in a carefully regulated bubble, talking only to sympathetic outlets guaranteed to disseminate her nonsense without question.
But it isn't everyday that we get video of la Bachmann stiff-arming reporters who might actually ask her probing questions, though.
That's what local blogger Ken Avidor found on the website of one of the Bachmann-friendly bloggers who was granted a Bachmann audience at the recent Iowa Renewal Project, a conference where conservative politicians talk with religious leaders about how to get right wing talking points into the pulpit.[jump]
The video, posted to YouTube by Iowa Christian blogger Shane Vander Hart and embedded on his blog, Caffeinated Thoughts, clocks in at 8 minutes, and consists mostly of Bachmann expounding on her faith and her certainty that she is going to heaven. But the interesting part comes at the very end, as Bachmann stands up to leave.
"Now, when we go out, the guy from the L.A. Times is out there," she tells an off-screen aide. "We're not going to talk to the L.A. Times, right? Your going to handle it right?"
It was a good catch, and Avidor promptly put it up on the Dump Bachmann website, to which he's a contributor. He didn't want to make readers sit through all the Jesus talk, so he cut it down to the relevant section.
"I felt it was important because this is a person whose running for president," Avidor tells City Pages. "I thought it was important for people to see her in those unguarded moments. She's very reluctant to appear with mainstream media, and I think that's news."
Not everyone agreed: soon Avidor received an email from Vander Hart: "I don't recall you asking my permission to edit or alter this video."
Avidor didn't respond immediately, but the next thing he knew he had a takedown notice from YouTube in his inbox, referring to a complaint by Vander Hart's Caffeinated Communications Network that his edited video infringed on copyright. "A single additional claim against your account will result in the termination of your account," the email warned.
Avidor had no choice -- the video was taken down.
Meanwhile Vander Hart was blogging about the incident.
"The author of this post at "Dump Bachmann" and the owners of the YouTube Channel MNPOLITICS (I'm assuming they are one in the same, but that is just an assumption) need a lesson in copyright law. The U.S. Copyright Office says that a copyright infringement occurs "when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner."
Vander Hart's high-handed tone is kind of awkward, because it would appear that he's the one who needs a lesson in copyright law. Avidor's clip was unquestionably protected by the Fair Use exemption, which exists to protect beneficial free speech from copyright thugs.
"They can't even claim 'fair use' since it is incredibly simple to contact me," Vander Hart claimed in the post, though the whole point about fair use does not require permission or contact.
We called Vander Hart for his take on the situation, but haven't heard back at the time of posting.
Avidor has replaced his edited video by embedding Vander Hart's full eight-minute clip, but that solution depends on keeping the unedited video up himself.
"This is a case where people don't want you to see something that's embarassing to a politician they like, so they're trying to make it go away," Avidor says. "It's Orwell's memory hole."
Here's the full video. Bachmann's brush-off of the LA Times reporter moment starts around 7:42: