Regular readers of the paper are familiar with McNeill’s liberal slant, but most do not have the means to fact-check his frequent “news-itorials,”—put forth by his publication as straight news.
In delayed coverage of a story broken by The Schilling Show on May 19, 2010 and later fully documented on The Schilling Show Blog and News, McNeill’s May 25 article (Tea Partiers cry foul on local rally) on last week’s event is riddled with inaccuracies and omissions.
McNeill attempts to compare and contrast previous protests in Perriello’s parking lot with the current one, defining banned conservative gatherings as being “larger” while the reported liberal event is classified as being “small.”
But the progressive newspaper writer is caught either inexcusably ignorant, or selective in presentation.
In fact, the last prohibited conservative protest at the Congressman’s Charlottesville office was on November 17, 2009. On that day, as documented by The Schilling Show Blog and News, two members of the College Republicans (CRs) and four conservative observers attempted to hold a protest in Perriello’s parking lot. Josh Lambert, then chair of the CRs was intercepted in the lot by police and ordered not to congregate there. Period. See Lambert’s video interview:
This story made national news when the case was picked up by the Rutherford Institute, whose president, John Whitehead, later wrote a letter to Democrat Perriello, asking him to move his office in order to improve protester access.
“Lefty” McNeill, himself, covered the Rutherford/CR story on December 11, noting:
The frequently crowded and boisterous rallies by both Perriello supporters and opponents had started to harm the business of a next-door spa and salon called Three Esthetics and Hair Care. As a result, the building’s landlord asked the Charlottesville Police Department to tell any protesters to stay off the private parking lot and instead convene on a nearby sidewalk. [emphasis added]
Having researched and written the article, McNeill should be aware that the CR protest was not “larger,” but significantly smaller than the liberal protest of last week.
McNeill further sullies his damaged credibility by reporting:
The anti-war protesters had an appointment and an estimated 50 of them met with Perriello’s staffers Wednesday to voice concerns about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Afterwards, the majority of the protesters left but 15 or so some stuck around and held a brief anti-war skit in the parking lot, witnesses said.
Video and photographic evidence show that the original group which McNeill reports to be “50” was approximately half that, and that few if any people left. At least 20 people can be counted in the “Street Theatre” video posted May 20 on YouTube and later on The Schilling Show Blog and News. Or did “news-itorialist” McNeill somehow miss this during his thorough, pre-article investigation of the subject?
McNeill continues with more disinformation:
Charlottesville police told the conservative protesters late last year that they would be asked to move their demonstration somewhere else if they held another protest in the parking lot and someone complained. [emphasis added]
Actually, no one had called to complain about the November 17 CR protest. The conservative group notified police—in advance—of their intent to protest, and officers were waiting in Perriello’s parking lot when the CRs arrived, prohibiting them from assembling there.
Finally, McNeill reports property owner/ landlord (and $1000 Perriello campaign donor), Lisa Murphy as saying that “none of the businesses had noticed Wednesday’s small liberal protest.”
Eyewitness reports and digital timestamps make Murphy’s contention difficult to swallow. Leftist protesters entered the far end of Perriello’s lot at approximately 12:05 PM and remained there waving signs and listening to speeches for nearly 10 minutes, until entering the Congressman’s office.
When the office meeting concluded at 12:30, protesters re-occupied the parking lot for about 10 minutes, conducting “Street Theatre” (including an adult with a large cardboard military “drone” mock-up chasing a child through the lot) which reasonably could not have been unseen by building tenants, who had complained previously of conservative protests.
McGregor McCance, Managing Editor of the Daily Perriello says that “Lefty” McNeill is, “one of the best reporters I’ve worked with.” It’s hard to imagine, but perhaps it depends on what the meaning of the word “best” is.
See the leftist’s “Street Theatre” video (footage courtesy of Keith C. Drake) from the May 19 protest, and decide if this demonstration could have been “unseen” by building tenants: