After a video came to light showing a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate getting thrown out of a meeting with an Oregon alternative newspaper after confronting a reporter for writing “blah blah blah” on his notepad, reaction from the paper’s own readers has been swift and decisive.
And the readers of Portland’s Willamette Week aren’t exactly defending the publication in droves, nor its Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nigel Jaquiss, who reportedly wrote “blah blah blah” then mocked Republican candidate Mark Callahan by asking him his position on the Easter bunny.
In fact readers seemingly couldn’t wait to excoriate Jaquiss, posting diatribes in the comments of an unrelated article he penned for Willamette Week, calling attention to his behavior in the endorsement meeting:
They even got their claws into a different reporter’s article on a transgender prison inmate:
But that’s nothing compared to how readers responded to Willamette Week’s pushback piece published Friday, in which it offered a defense of Jaquiss’ behavior and editor-in-Chief Mark Zusman, who asked Callahan to leave the room.
“Not everyone likes to follow the rules, and on rare occasion we have asked candidates to leave the endorsement interviews,” the article states. “That’s what happened when Callahan came to our offices.”
Readers — who’ve so far rated the new article with 1.5 stars out of a possible 5 and commented on it more than 1,000 times as of Saturday afternoon — were having none of it:
The incident, first reported by Jim Romenesko, began with Callahan taking offense when he caught reporter Jaquiss scribbling “blah blah blah” while candidate Joe Rae Perkins was speaking.
“I see what you’re writing down there. You just wrote down ‘blah blah blah blah’ for everything that Jo Rae said,” he said. “Jo Rae is a respectful woman. Why are you not respecting her by writing ‘blah blah blah blah’ in your notepad?”
[sharequote align=”center”]”Arrogant, disrespectful, rude, petty…”[/sharequote]
The moderator told Callahan to calm down and then changed the subject to climate change, asking the candidate if he thinks it’s real or a myth.
“It’s a myth,” Callahan responded.
Jaquiss then asked what his views are on the “Easter bunny” — things deteriorated quickly after that.
Watch the exchange via Willamette Week (tense moment starts at about 1:06:15):