Clinton Advisor Fights In YouTube War Room

Doctored video leads to libel allegations

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Decide which is worse: Doctoring a video and posting it online to smear a political figure; or said political figure threatening libel suits against news organizations for even talking about it.

Luckily, he’s not up for election—well, not technically.

Michael Mickey KantorMichael "Mickey" Kantor, American politician
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Today a video excerpt of the movie "The War Room" went viral in a matter of hours after being posted on YouTube. The video showed former Clinton White House staffer and current Hillary Clinton campaign advisor, Mickey Kantor, during the 1992 Presidential race, saying "Those people are shit," and another phrase that is under dispute and at the heart of Kantor’s threats of libel litigation.

The first questionable statement was reported by the video uploader and those who spread it around to be in reference to the people of Indiana. In numerous reports, Kantor denied that was the case and claimed to be referring to pollsters. The second statement, which immediately followed the first, was somewhat unintelligible in the original footage. Confirmed as altered by the film’s director, D.A. Pennebaker, the video in question made it appear Kantor said, "How would you like to be a worthless white n*gger?"

Which both doesn’t make sense and is incredibly offensive. It’s difficult to find the video now because YouTube has removed it. If the video posted at DigitalJournal.com is still there, it seems to be from the original and, to my ears anyway, seems to confirm other interpretations that Kantor actually said, "How would you like to be in the White House right now?"

Kantor told the HuffingtonPost that what he said was indecipherable, but he would never have used that word and used his and his parents civil rights work as his defense. Right after calling the video libelous, this curious passage appeared in the report:


Kantor said he was in the process of contacting "the best" libel lawyers to approach YouTube.com about the process of removing the video from its site. He suggested that The Huffington Post, too, should not print even his defense, as it would be an advancement of a non-story.

 "I don’t need to be defended," he wrote. "When you write it, what you are doing is extended the libel."

In all that civil rights work he did, he must have overlooked freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which is weird because they’re first on the list. The press can, actually, talk about the event all they want and shouldn’t have to fear being bullied into not talking about it because it’s uncomfortable for a person who arguably could be called a public figure. It is news, it is fair game, and it is fit to print.

At least eight news organizations thought so too, according to current stories on Google news, including the Huffington Post, and around 600 bloggers so far. Good luck in keeping the legitimate story quiet, there Mickey, and in a court that doesn’t throw it out. You’ll definitely need the best libel lawyers to make that argument for you.

Trying to keep something quiet once it’s hit YouTube and Digg.com is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. The good news is that the truth came out rather quickly in this case. Journalists did their skeptical duties, and even Diggers were quick to raise the flag that the story was inaccurate. YouTube responded appropriately, also.   

In this case, trying to keep it quiet just brings on the Streisand Effect, which makes it worse. If left alone, the truth would have been told with the controversy and all gone away by Monday.

It also brings up a point the Clinton campaign wouldn’t want brought up: The guilt-by-association politics Obama has had to put up with as the Clinton camp gleefully shakes hands in the background. Should we believe then that Kantor’s remarks are a reflection of how Hillary Clinton plans to deal with the media? What was a good question to George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson in Philadelphia should be good here as well, right?  

Clinton Advisor Fights In YouTube War Room
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  • Guest

    From ABC news:

    When "The War Room" came out other folks interpreted Kantor to be impugning Indiana residents.

    In The Washington Post’s review of the film in 1993, critic Desson Howe referred to "a Mickey Kantor comment about the people of Indiana (when it looks as though Clinton’s ahead in Dan Quayle’s state)."

    And a 1995 story in the Sydney Morning Herald said that "As for the good folk of Indiana, they are still recovering from the 1993 documentary War Room, which revealed the grim truth behind the Clinton election campaign. It showed Mr Kantor bursting in on election night to tell other campaign staffers that incredibly, Mr Clinton was doing well even in Republican Indiana. ‘And those people are s—!’ he declared breathlessly."

  • Guest

    Both the Washington Post reviewer in 1993 thought Kantor was disparaging the people from Indiana, as did the Sydney Morning Herald. I am sure we can dig up some other reviews about this.

    • bauersox

      People at the Sydney Morning Herald can hardly speak English properly, let alone understand it.  Who knows what the Washington Post reviewer’s excuse was.  If it was Shales, that would explain a lot.

      • Guest

        Ah the nature of the Hillary supporters–If the facts are not on your side, attack.  Since you have no proof and have no basis to complain, your post can only demean those who do offer facts (and indead the entire Australian nation as well).  

  • Guest

    This is getting play because people in the hearts know the Clintons–especially Hillary–and the kind of people they associate with.  We believe this clip because we know them.


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