The coverage of Rep. Kevin Cramer’s alleged “tirade” against Native American tribes at a meeting of domestic violence advocates has been a little odd. Based on exactly one account of Cramer’s comments from a known political operative, posting on a left-wing website no less, it has been reported that Cramer supposedly “verbally abused” the group and made threats.
But there was more than just two people – Cramer and Merrick – in that room, and the only person who seems to have gotten an account of what happened from anyone but Cramer or Merrick is Chris Berg who read a statement from Janelle Moos, the Executive Director of the North Dakota Council of Abused Women.
According to Moos, Merrick’s characterization of Cramer’s statements wasn’t accurate.
Here’s the video of Berg’s interview with Cramer to which Merrick was invited but declined the opportunity to participate.
I think Cramer has been done a real injustice on this issue. What were passionate comments about a disgusting issue – child rape, and the apparent attempts by tribal officials up to and including Merrick to cover it up – have been twisted into a “verbal assault.” As if an elected leader speaking out in an admittedly direct and blunt way about child abuse were somehow a bad thing.
What’s more, the media reported on Cramer’s comments using exactly one source with a history of left-wing activism. That’s just plain irresponsible journalism.
I would imagine that if I, a conservative blogger, came out of a closed-door meeting with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (of whom I am known to be quite critical) and claimed that she was verbally abusive I would expect reporters to rely on something more than my testimony. As well they should. Senator Heitkamp should get the benefit of the doubt in that scenario.
Rep. Cramer wasn’t afforded that, despite increasing evidence that Merrick’s account of what happened was exaggerated, at best.