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The Stomp Heard Round the World

Lauren Valle of MoveOn.org never imagined she’d wind up an instant celebrity after getting her head stomped at a political debate. FOX41 caught great images on video of the event. Rand Paul (R-KY) supporter Tim Proffit stomped the head of Lauren Valle while attempting to subdue her as Rand Paul made his way into a KET debate with opponent Jack Conway. FOX41 covered the story from every angle. Journalistically, FOX41 did a fantastic job covering every single part of the story. They spoke with Valle, Proffit, and a woman on the street. They also talked with the police, used footage of Rand Paul, and statements from Jack Conway. The story was very well done and FOX41 covered their bases. However, this clearly displays a deeper problem nestled in the 2010 election—fanaticism. There is an outrageous amount of fanaticism among the tea party candidates. These seem to be people who think with their heart and their instincts—not their mind. Because of this we have a deranged group of politicians being controlled by Sarah Palin and a scarily fanatical base.

I have a problem with FOX41’s coverage of the story. Because they found the story and they had the footage they had a leg up over everybody else in covering it, but anointed themselves the kings of said story. They never failed to let everybody know that they broke the story and that they had the footage that nobody else had—Valle’s head getting stomped in by a middle aged man. While FOX41 covered the story completely, it seems like they used it as a way to promote their station as opposed to telling a story. Now anybody who has read this story will know what FOX41 is. Because of the internet as well, this video was able to go viral and this story was able to pick up steam.

Law enforcement greatly benefitted from this video. Amidst all the confusion, they were able to identify the man who stomped on MoveOn.org’s Lauren Valle. Lexington police were able to charge Tim Proffit with assault, but they could not arrest him because no officer was on sight to actually witness the assault. Even though there is full evidence of what crime was committed, Proffit is going to escape via a loophole in the law when he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As Jack Conway said, there is no place for this type of violence.

Tuesday’s election probably won’t be drastically effected by the incident. As of October 29th, Paul had a 12 point lead on Conway in the polls according to Rasmussen Reports. While Rasmussen has a tendency to lean conservative, he’s been extremely accurate the last two presidential elections. Real Clear Politics had Paul ahead by eleven points last week. The incident might be enough to bring the race into single digits, but I would guess that Rand Paul is going to cruise to one of the easier victories on Tuesday night. Paul is also being aided by a controversial Jack Conway attack ad that attacked Paul’s behavior in college and questioned his religious faith. Conway’s ad attempted to make Paul out to be a heretic and it reeked of the type of desperation that somebody down double digits would have. Shockingly enough (note the sarcasm), this backfired badly on Conway. Conway is attempting to appeal to conservative Democrats and siphon voters away from Paul, but winning as a Democrat in the South is very difficult. Even more difficult is trying to win with what I call the “John Kerry” strategy. Any time a Democrat tries to siphon voters from the Republican base, ignoring independent voters, they generally do not win. Democrats don’t have the same type of energy in this election that they had in 2008. They seem downtrodden and hanging on for dear life. The roles between 2008 and 2010 have been totally reversed. The most effective strategy for Democrats running for Congress has always been to appeal to the Liberal base while striving to win the support of the independent voter. Conway’s strategy was likely doomed from the start, but with so much backlash against Barack Obama (according to Rasmussen Reports his approval rating is at 50% as of November 1st…surprisingly 3% higher than it was last week) it is very difficult for southern Democrats to win if they claim to be Obama supporters. Certainly here in West Virginia Republican John Raese has attempted to label Governor Joe Manchin as a “rubber stamp” for Barack Obama. Manchin is ahead by just four percent in a traditionally Democratic stronghold for the Senate seat (and he’s the reigning governor). It’s more than likely that no matter what the outcome of the Proffit scandal is, Rand Paul is going to win the election in Kentucky.

Coming full circle to our friends at FOX41 they did a great job in finding this story, but after parading themselves for breaking the story I am reminded why big media outlets exist—to sell themselves. The story was covered exceptionally well by FOX41, but next time, hopefully, we won’t have a network so interested in selling their own brand and more interested in actually telling a story.