It could have been – should have been – a simple post-State of the Union interview: young reporter from local hometown cable news station interviews US congressman. But at the end of the interview, Michael Scotto, Washington reporter for Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour newschannel NY1, attempted to ask a question on another topic. We never got to hear the question, though, because Representative Michael Grimm (R – Staten Island and Brooklyn) apparently anticipated the content of the question, and immediately cut Scotto off and walked away. But after it appeared that Scotto had finished his on-camera report and signed off, Grimm came barreling back to threaten him.
Needless to say, the camera was still on. Needless to say, the video has gone viral.
Grimm released a statement following the incident:
“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”
Uh, pal? If you were in so much of a hurry, why did you have time to come back and physically intimidate Scotto and threaten to “throw [him] off this f**king balcony” and to “break [him] in half. Like a boy”?
Everyone should be able to expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, Represntative Grimm. Everyone. But perhaps it’s good to be prepared in case someone like you doesn’t show it. I suggest that Michael Scotto take a lesson from The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore, who gave a college kid a “kneeded” lesson when he decided to run into Jim’s live shot:
Oh, about that anticipated, warded-off, worthy-of-bodily-threat unasked question? We learned after Grimm walked off that Scotto had intended to ask him about allegations regarding campaign finances. The details behind that unasked question, from NY1:
The FBI earlier this month charged 47-year-old Diana Durand with using straw donors to exceed the maximum allowable contribution to Grimm’s campaign committee. After contributing $4,800, the maximum amount allowed under federal law, Durand allegedly offered to reimburse four friends if they contributed to the campaign.
Grimm is not charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the probe.
To paraphrase former Congressman Charles Brownson (and not Mark Twain, by the way), never quarrel with a man who buys fiber-optic cable by the mile.
NY1’s report of the encounter between the Mikes (with transcript) is here.
UPDATE: Rep. Grimm has called Scotto to apologize; Scotto “believes it was sincere”. Too late, though: somehow I don’t think that genie’s going back in the Pandora’s Box, particularly since the Grimm bully resides right across the river from another ongoing bully story of a different sort.