Posted: 9:15 am Monday, August 25th, 2014
By Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein
As the top of the Republican ticket looked on, a Dawson County deputy on Saturday forcibly removed a screaming video journalist from a GOP rally for candidates, a website known as fetchyournews.com reports.
The venue was Burt’s Pumpkin Farm – private property – in Dawsonville. Virtually every member of the GOP ticket was present, including Gov. Nathan Deal and David Perdue, the U.S. Senate candidate. The event was advertised as public, and video journalist Nydia Tisdale sat on the front row, recording. Also on the front row was the governor and his wife, reports Brian Pritchard of fetchyournews.com.
State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens was on the stage, waxing eloquent about the state’s U.S. Senate race:
“I was at the Chamber of Commerce event where David and Michelle had their debate. And I have not seen anybody misrepresent their stands as much as Michelle Nunn did.
“All she wanted to do was – ‘We need to have a team, we need to have consensus built, we need this and that, and I thought I was going to have to resuscitate my wife. I thought she was going to pass out, and I thought I was going to absolutely puke….”
After much laughter, Hudgens can be heard to say, “I don’t know why you’re videotaping.”
That’s when the removal process began. Tisdale did not go quietly, and clearly other cameras and audio recording equipment were permitted to continue, given this:
It’s a long recording, so fetchyournews.com offered this synopsis:
At 3:50 into the video you will hear Hudgens’ comments concerning Michelle Nunn and Tisdale was videoing. At 12:15 into the video you will hear Tisdale demanding [Deputy Tony] Wooten to identify himself. At 14:12 into the video you will hear Tisdale’s loud screams where she said Wooten was hurting her. 24:10 you will hear Sam Olens’ comments.
Tisdale and Olens have a history. Two years ago, Olens charged the city of Cumming and its mayor, Ford Gravitt, with violation of the state’s open meetings law when they forcibly removed Tisdale as she recorded a city council meeting.
Here’s how the Georgia’s attorney general reacted on Saturday, after being introduced to the crowd by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black:
“Let me be possibly politically incorrect here a second. If we stand for anything as a party, what are we afraid of with the lady having a camera, filming us? What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? What message are we sending? That because it’s private property they shouldn’t be filming? What is the harm?
“The harm that occurs post-this is far greater than her filming us. What are we hiding? If we are telling you why we are running and what we stand for — what are we hiding? There is no reason for that. That is not right. It is private property. The property owner has the right to not have the person there. Who’s the winner in the long run? Not a good move.”
Jen Talber, a spokeswoman for the Nathan Deal campaign, kept the ejection at arms’ length. “As this incident was in no way related to Deal for Governor, I am referring you to the owner of the private property at which the event took place.”
The governor said Tisdale’s ouster made him feel “uncomfortable” but because he was a guest he had no involvement in the decision.
“I think all of you know I’m not reluctant to have people video me under any circumstances,” Deal said Monday in an interview after an event. “If I were, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”
About the Authors
Jim Galloway has spent 35 years covering politics and other shenanigans for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.