Gustav isn’t the only thing causing disruptions in St. Paul. As you’ve no doubt heard, protesters are out in far greater force for the Republicans than they were for the Democrats in Denver.
There wasn’t a lot of national press covering the marches, but I did bump into Fox News’s Griff Jenkins, who was wearing a crisp Oxford blue shirt, black loafers, and a black Fox News ball cap. (Jenkins also did protest duty in Denver, producing encounters that were, moment to moment, cringeworthy, unintentionally hilarious, and upsetting.)
In St. Paul, his entourage included a steno pad toting producer, a BlackBerry toting aide, a cameraman, and a security guard (wearing a suit, dark shades, Secret Service style earpiece, and an American flag pin). They were collecting interviews from demonstrators just down the hill from the state capital, where a rally was planned for later in the evening.
It was an odd crowd—some Ron Paul supporters, some Obama backers, some Greens, some 9-11 Truthers, and others affiliated with the alphabet soups worth of Socialist and Marxist groups easily found at demonstrations.
And, not surprisingly, most of the assembled didn’t like Fox. But they did like the chance to speak their piece. And so this led to an odd tension, where someone would step before the camera and, really without much prompting from Jenkins, let rip while outside layers and passers-by warily watched or levied cracks like “False News” or “Fixed News” or the succinct when shouted “Fox News Sucks!”
“They’re only going to show the four second clip where they’re cursing him out,” warned an onlooker.
At one point a teenager in a black shirt burst down the hill and pinballed through the scrum, pushing Jenkins and his cameraman, blurting “Turn off the TV, turn off the TV” and knocking Jenkins off his balance. He disappeared, and Jenkins resumed his interview unphased.
Another demonstrator in a union cap loudly confronted Jenkins, asking what gave Sean Hannity the right to complain—about what, wasn’t exactly clear—given that Hannity wasn’t a veteran.
“Are you a veteran?” Jenkins asked the man. “Thank you for your service.”
Jenkins rebuffed an interview request. “I can’t give interviews when I’m working,” he said, not seeming too sad about that restriction. “All requests have to go through Fox.”
In a break from interviews, Jenkins huddled with his crew. “You know that show, Dirty Jobs on Discovery? They could nominate me,” the interviewer cracked, as he checked his pants for someone else’s spit.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.