The security detail for Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Miller of Alaska arrested online journalist Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch on Sunday, releasing him about 20 minutes later. They took Hopfinger into custody and handcuffed him after he peppered the candidate with questions and followed him into a bathroom after a town hall meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage.
Miller explained his version of events to an Anchorage television station:
“It went very well until we started to leave the building. We had one individual that started to hound me all the way out the door,” Miller said to KTVA / CBS 11. “That’s fine, but you’re violating somebody’s personal space, following me into the bathroom – that just gets beyond the pale.”
Huh? It’s violating someone’s private space to follow them into a public bathroom asking questions? I’ll be darned. Over the years I could have had a lot of people arrested, including some law firm partners and a few of my clients, not to mention hundreds of drunk, chatty strangers at ballgames.
On a separate note, is Alaska Dispatch a blog or a newspaper?
There’s some kerfuffle over this.
The Miller campaign calls the Alaska Dispatch a blog and Hopfinger a blogger, including in phrases such as “irrational blogger,” “liberal blogger,” and “the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent.”
Now the Alaska Dispatch doesn’t refer to itself as a blog. It has “blogs” within it, but the operation calls itself in sum an “online newsmagazine” and emphasizes its employment of professional journalists and its commitment to turning a profit on ad revenues. But many blogs fit that bill.
Moreover, Alaska Dispatch doesn’t have a print component and it was started by Hopfinger and his wife Amanda Coyne in their spare bedroom in 2008.
That sounds bloggish to me.
I conclude that for purposes of Blog Law Blog, Alaska Dispatch is a blog and Hopfinger is a blogger. But even if Joe Miller means “blogger” as an insult, Blog Law Blog does not. Blog Law Blog believes bloggers are respectable members of society. Even in middle school bathrooms.