PJTV was at the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis this past weekend: Stephen Kruiser and I were there to hear from bloggers and presidential candidates and to present a panel of our own.
In the same city — and the same hotel! — the left-leaning Netroots Nation conference was also happening.
You may have heard that Andrew Breitbart had an incident when he walked over to the NRN conference. Before he could comply with security requests to obtain media credentials or leave the floor, he was surrounded by NRN bloggers asking him a host of questions. The most prominent questioner was Ryan Clayton, founder of USUNCUT.org — an organization focused on closing loopholes for corporations as a way to get them to pay more taxes.
He asked Breitbart: “Do you still use cocaine?”
He then asked Breitbart about a “right-wing blogger” who allegedly screamed “go home” to a group of Muslim women on Thursday night. Clayton claimed that the “blogger” in question was associated with Andrew Breitbart. (Click here for video.) When pressed by Breitbart for the name of the blogger, Clayton did not have it.
This was not the end of attempts to smear using this story.
On Saturday, I was finishing up an interview with Michigan Representative (and potential presidential candidate) Thaddeus McCotter when a group of about 15 women in hijabs gathered behind us.
They began a “press conference” denouncing Clayton’s accused “right-wing blogger.” Others came from the NRN event to witness the theater: someone dreamed up this spectacle to shame attendees of the RightOnline conference with an unproven, unsubstantiated event.
Soon into the press conference, I started asking the women questions.
Was there a police report? They said “yes.” I asked if they had the report, or the name of the alleged blogger: “no.”
By my third question, the women were obviously flustered that their press conference had attracted … questions. A man in an orange shirt wearing a Netroots Nation registration tried to calm the women and focus them on the stunt.
I asked if the man in the orange shirt was in charge of the press conference, but the women had decided to leave. Security had begun asking them to go, and they were well on their way down the escalator and out the door.
The full video can be found here.
Later that night, PJM learned that a blogger from Minnesota named John Hugh Gilmore had been arrested on Thursday night for disorderly conduct. According to tweets from witness and NRN attendee Jamila Boudlali, VP of the Al-Madinah Cultural Center, the man was “super creepy and drunk.” She also wrote: ”Who takes pictures of random girls in the street?”
Gilmore has absolutely no connection to Andrew Breitbart, and Boudlali even tweeted that she had no evidence of any: “Also, we have ZERO info that had any connection 2 breitbart.”
Ms. Boudlali then sent me a series of tweets on Saturday night. She has since deleted them, though none of her messages were rude or offensive in any way. One confirmed that the man in question appeared, to her, to be drunk.
What is now known about Gilmore: he is not listed as a contributor on any Andrew Breitbart website. He has only put up two posts in the last two months on his own blog. And not only is there no evidence that Gilmore had any ties to Breitbart, no evidence has come forward of Gilmore making any claim to work for him, either.