Monday, August 23, 2010

Saradise Lost & Found - Chapter 14 - The Stalker Palin Stalked?

Readers of Progressive Alaska are aware that I'm no fan of the adult Palins. The last time PA posted a favorable column about Sarah was in early 2008. A couple of times since, I've been tempted to defend Sarah. Talked my self out of it. I've got to defend Todd in this post, though.

This video, taken last week at the Valdez airport, is being touted as First Dude Unglued and Todd Palin's Aggressive Encounter.

Check it out:

Todd didn't come unglued. He and Sarah were a bit obnoxious as they took pictures of the videographer as he shot them close up, but they usually are a bit obnoxious. And what would you do if somebody was following you around an airport, taking a video of you? It wasn't a public event, after all.

Is this, as The Mudflats is touting, in the full headline to their story - another PR disaster for the Palins? You've got to be kidding.

And Palingates has fetishized this, with several screenshots from this almost meaningless, long video.

I'm not going to go too deep into the criticism thing here, but this is bullshit.

The Palins themselves are stalkers. Todd stalked his brother-in-law pathologically. Sarah stalks the political scene now, hunting for candidates that can help her, not for candidates who can help America. I've been followed and photographed and hassled by Palin's devotees. It didn't feel good.

This video is so pathetic, it borders on stalking to me and to the people to whom I've shown it.

Update - Tuesday 7:15 a.m:

Since watching this video yesterday a couple of times, I've now shared it with five other people. Only one seems to feel there is some worthy content. The other four agree with me that the video certainly does not constitute either some sort of PR disaster for the Palins or an example of Todd coming "unglued." A couple of viewers, when I pointed out that the second part of the video is supposed to have started after Todd purposefully "bumped" into Hawk, feel that Todd came close to losing it, but that he didn't come "unglued" in the sense Alaskans usually use the word.

This post is exactly the 400th chapter of the Saradise Lost series (Saradise Lost Books 1, 2, 3 & 4 = 355 chapters, Saradise Found = 31 chapters, Saradise Lost & Found = 14 chapters) Had Hawk asked any one of the four hundred questions many of us would have wanted to ask Sarah or Todd, or Sarah & Todd, that would be one thing. But he just started shooting. To me, Todd is responding to a tacky event in like manner - tacky.

One of the most recent comments is this:

Over at C4P the thugs are asking for Sarah to send the photos she took of Hawk so they can take care of him. WTF?

Typical tacky stuff from the people at C4P. As some know, they've done exactly the same thing to me, and to others.

Look - just because Sarah is the biggest pathological liar I've ever encountered, is the most divisive major political icon in American politics since George Wallace (or worse!), is the biggest political joke of the last generation and is ramping up the hatred level in the USA next by seizing the base of the Washington Monument on the anniversary of one of the most uplifting speeches of the 20th Century, to spew hate with the likes of Glenn Beck and Pam Geller, doesn't make a video like this into something it assuredly is not.

And promoting it as such is just plain silly, at best.


Anonymous said...

I disagree, Phil, especially after watching the video and reading Hawk's account on Palingates. Mediawhores Todd and Sarah behaved pathetically. That's some real insight into their lack of fitness for public life. My two cents.

Philip Munger said...

Granted they are unfit, but we already knew that. What was it about their reaction to the videographer that struck you as "behav[ing] pathetically"?

Anonymous said...

Come on, Phil, they wanted this FAME. And they don't know how to do the "secret service" routine very well.

Toad is a bully, and $P is passive/aggressive when it's something or someone she doesn't like. It is beyond them to handle something like this with grace, manners and aplomb.

It's a pattern with them.

sunnyjane said...

No, Phil, it was typical Palin behavior, which is not pardonable. Todd Palin was much too aggressive with this guy, who was NOT a stalker. Sarah Palin (and Todd, by extension) is a public figure who is photographed all the time. Nothing new there.

If she can't stand the heat, she needs to get the hell out of the kitchen and go sell jewelry on the Home Shopping Network.

AKRNC said...

Rather than doing that idiotic taking a picture of the guy with the video, asking his name, where he lived, etc., why not try asking him not to film them? Instead, they have to act like they are better than everyone else, as usual. Why did they question him as to where he lived, what business he was in, etc.? Why would they ask such personal questions? They are extremely paranoid about something and they don't like it when the media is questioning their behavior. $arah's popularity is sinking and they are finally starting to realize it. They have been fame whores for the last two years for every dollar they can squeeze out of their cult members. I think they can finally hear the door being slammed shut-permanently.

trigiscute said...

Phil I'm a fan but I'm finding it very difficult to understand your question when you ask "What was it about their reaction to the videographer that struck you as "behav[ing] pathetically"?"

Are you serious Phil man? They took out their cameras, took photos of the guy and asked him for personal details of his life. This is straight outta the Scientologists handbook. That's pretty creepy. Pretty pathetic.

It is also creepy that Todd later jumped on the guy when his cam was switched off. The video guy was at the departure point to see his wife off, not stalking Palins.

Todd and Sarah just can't handle any situation that they are not in control of. That's the issue here.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Funny thing, their privacy wouldn't have been an issue if they were TV cameras. They would have lapped that up.

Anonymous said...

Phil, I completely disagree with your assessment of the situation. First, Hawk was at the airport to drop off his wife - he didn't track down Palin at the airport. Next, if the Palin entourage had simply acknowledged him from the start, and then ignored him, this likely would have been a non-issue. However, Todd's behavior escalated the situation, and frankly, I think anyone would have left the film running once TP circled behind me. Finally, when (according to Hawk) TP bumped into him again 15 mins later, not only would I have turned on the camera, I likely would have called for security. The Palin's are bullies, and this video is necessary to prove that point. They deserve Lake Lucille and a nice private life ... they absolutely do not belong in public life.


Hawkisinnocent said...

Stalker? Did you read Hawk's account at Palingates? Do you really think that he would have told the Palins his name and what he did for a living if he was deliberately stalking Sarah? His name is Hawk Pierce. He lives in Valdez and he owns a skateboard and expresso shop. He didn't lie or attempt to deceive them. He told the truth, not exactly the actions of a stalker is it Phil?

Sarah and Todd knew that Hawk was filming her. They had two opportunities to ask him to stop filming. They did not ask Hawk to stop when they were outside chatting in a seemingly open friendly manner with him. That was the ideal opportunity for them to say "Sarah's had a hard day would you mind switching off the camera please?" They didn't do that. Sarah could have also asked him to stop when she asked him "Who are you filming for" She didn't, so Hawk had every right to assume that it was OK to continue, which he did.

Todd's subsequent actions however intruded right into Hawk's personal space when he shoved his camera in Hawk's face. He then upped the anti by his repetitive comments of "Why are you shaking" when he realised that his aggression had had the desired effect on Hawk. That's provocation.That is bullying.15 mins later Todd approached Hawk again. At that point Hawk's camrecorder was switched off. He only turned it on again when he realised that Todd was still in an aggressive mood. He did so because he was not entirely sure what Todd might do to him so he switched the camera on to protect himself.

Go back and watch the video after you have read this. I think that you will view it somewhat differently now that you have some context. Cheers Phil we all know that you are one of the good guys.

WakeUpAmerica said...

How do you figure the man named Hawk is a stalker? He and his wife were going to the same place as the Palins. His wife was on the same flight. All he did was video two well-known people walking in front of him. He was never up close and rude. Have you heard of "zoom" lens? Todd, on the other hand, was a bully. "Why you shaking so badly?" The Palins were childish in their response and as usual did everything they could to escalate a non-issue. I have to agree with the others commenting here that you are dead wrong on this one. My impression of this video is that only the Palins get their first amendment rights and everyone else should sit down, shut-up, and turn off their cameras.

mocha said...

If you read the account, Hawk turned off the camera when the Palins and "Mr VanSusteren" walked away from the front counter. He turned it back on in the gate area only after Todd came up behind him, bumped him and got in his face. The bad behavior, and the thing that shows the Palins are not ready for primetime, was Todd not being able to let it go and approaching the man in an aggressive way after he'd put the camera away.

They have become celebrities like they wanted. Sarah was walking up to other people, interacting with and encouraging taking pictures with them. If you are a celebrity in public, it is unreasonable to expect to pick and choose who's allowed to take your picture,especially when you're approaching other people to interact with them.

Taking pictures of someone who's taking pictures of you to intimidate them is a Scientology tactic. Guess who's teaching them Scientology tactics.

Anonymous said...

If he w as a stalker, he would have no reason to be at the airport other than to get the Palins on film. He was there dropping his wife off at the airport.

Also, the only reason he caught Todd on camera in his face, is because AFTER THE CAMERA WAS TURNED OFF, TODD CAME BACK TO HIM and harrassed HIM!

These are PUBLIC figures, no matter what they try to say about being private citizens, etc. They are "reality tv" stars - tabloid fodder.

Have you ever watched TMZ? More than 1/2 of their interviews are in airports getting people trying to catch planes, or arriving and leaving airports.

Respectfully disagree with your assessment.

Gles said...

Phil, have you ever thought about interviewing Todd? He appears to be
a tag-along but I am sure there is much more depth there.

Looking back to the shadow governor thing, I seem to remember something about Sarah asking him to back-off of pursuing trooper Wooten. We all know how that turned out...

Patrick said...


we decided to publish the video completely uncut and without any explanations within the video. We did this on purpose so that we are not being accused of having it "edited." But now you are basically holding it against us, as you seem to ignore the background story here.

This was a chance encounter that a citizen from Valdez had with the Palins. Hawk’s wife was on the same flight, he went with his wife to the airport, where he then spotted the Palins. When Hawk started filming, he had no idea that it would turn into such an controversial story. This should have been a boring 2-minute video of the Palins strolling around in an airport, but because Todd in particular chose to confront him, it turned ugly.

The Palins actually could have easily turned this in their favor by being friendly. They are not exactly "camera-shy", as is also very apparent in the clip itself, where Sarah had no problems in having her picture taken with others, and even seemed to enjoy the attention.

It's just that after the Homer/Kathleen Gustafson incident, the Palins seems to regard every camcorder as "the enemy."

I would like to point out that the “second” confrontation with Todd, from 3:13 in the video, happened after Hawk had switched his camera off already for 10-15 minutes. He was sitting at the gate and didn’t plan to do any more filming. Todd then suddenly approached him again in this intimidating manner, which was Todd’s own choice. Nobody had provoked him to do that. It was only then when Hawk switched the camera on again. Todd really showed his nasty side there – a side of his personality which by the way was already very well documented during the Troopergate investigation.

This is not a meaningless video, but an important, unfiltered view on an unhinged Todd, who tried to intimidate Hawk without any reason - even 10-15 minutes after the first incident and after Hawk had stopped filming.

Anonymous said...

There IS something unsettling about this video - besides the Palins - but please be careful about diluting the notion of "stalking".
The battle to get laws which try to address stalking was waylaid, time and again, by pointing to voyeur-type behavior which was not necessarily dangerous... somewhat like this video...
Winning enough hearts and minds to get any legal remedy against real stalkers was long and plenty died while we fooled around getting derailed with this kind of stuff.

Anonymous said...

OK, it's not like the man had a gun and was creeping about their property during the dead of night. The Palins faced a situation that many public figures encounter in airports every day -- something that should (at its WORST) have qualified as a nuisance, and in this case, from someone who had a valid reason to be in the airport. Although Sarah was obviously willing to chat and take pictures with others present, a simple wave and "hello" to Hawk (or if they were feeling uncomfortable, a "please stop taping" request) -- those would have been normal reactions to a perceived invasion of privacy.

Instead, they actively engage Hawk, snap HIS pic several times, while Sarah prattles on in a freakishly panicked-sounding voice. SHE'S not even interested in what she (or he) is saying, but is obviously trying to pin down details of his identity. Why? And this is where she should have said "Good-bye, please turn off your camera" if she was feeling threatened, although why she would feel threatened is beyond me. That would have been the end of it.

But then Todd aggressively reapproaches Hawk 15 minutes later...for what reason? Did they get enough information out of him earlier to ID him and find out that (OMG) -- he might not be a big Sarah fan? Wow, go figure that she would ever have to talk with someone like that. (SNORT) Or is he just overloaded with testosterone since he has the Fox News crew to back him up?

If you can't see why others think this video is a big deal, flip it around and imagine it was the Obamas, pre-election. Honestly tell me that you don't think the above behavior ("Why you puttin' that camera in Barack Obama's face?!?") wouldn't be all over the news. Or put anyone else in there -- the Clintons, the Huckabees, the Romneys. Really?? It would likely be career-ending.

YOU can pass it off as just the way the Palins operate. All well and good, but then don't fault other blogs for wanting to show the rest of the world the way it is up in AK. This was an abnormal reaction from abnormal people who still hold delusions of grandeur that God is opening doors for them. I want them to go away, and if this video helps, so be it.

womanwithsardinecan said...

I have to agree with the other commenters. While it wasn't particularly polite of Hawk to film them, they are extreme publicity seekers, tabloid celebrities, and self-made public figures. They seek to control their image in the media and are quite nasty in uncontrolled situations. It was obvious that Todd's first aggressive moves scared the poor guy, but he was determined to finish his little Palin vid. Todd approaching later, to bully the guy, was classic Palin, and completely inexcusable. If I ran into the Palins in an airport, I would be much more intrusive and rude than Hawk was, because the Palins have EARNED every bit of negative or trainwreck scrutiny they get. I say keep up the pressure and make their lives miserable. They have made all of us suffer through their nastiness. They have not earned politeness or privacy. They are scum.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Patrick, if Todd would have let it go after Hawk quit filming this video would have been nothing but NO Todd couldn't let it go he had to confront Hawk again and be the playground bully, the defender of Sarah Palin, not once did he ask Hawk to please stop filming, these people are not ready for prime time. Typical Sarah, send out the attack dog, to gad the dog is an untrained mutt.

Philip Munger said...

Please see my update for a response to these above comments.

Anonymous said...

Over at C4P the thugs are asking for Sarah to send the photos she took of Hawk so they can take care of him. WTF?

Anonymous said...

Phil, I cannot see the update...

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...


we are doing all this work and writing our blog because Sarah Palin is at the moment still a serious contender to become the next President of the USA. This is the main reason we are doing it. That doesn't mean that we don't care about anything else, but it's still the main motivation.

Now: Imagine an exact re-enactment of this video with Barack and Michelle Obama. What would the world say if those two behaved in this manner? How could anyone say that this type of video, which clearly shows the Palin to be light-years apart from Presidential material, is not relevant?

The only reason we posted this clip is to show (again) that the Palins are dangerously unfit for the position they intend to run for. AKM got it, Shannyn Moore got it, Linda Kellen Biegel got it, and I think it's pretty obvious here what our intention was for posting the clip - and in my view, the video, which turned out to be a controversial clip purely by coincidence, serves its purpose.

Anne in Texas said...

I am sure Lindsey Lohan encounters people videoing and snapping pics of her all the time. If you want to be a celebrity, then you have to put up with all the baggage that comes with it. Sarah Palin has become a celebrity so she needs to suck it up or get out of the limelight. Whether or not Todd is freaking out is beside the point for me. She had no problem posing for photos with fawning fans at the airport. If you court the attention then just simply STFU, or withdraw from the public eye – you cannot have it both ways Princess. For god’s sake she had a TV entourage with her – that doesn’t help you stay incognito. And if the woman from Greta’s team didn’t think this could be a bad publicity issue, why the hell was she trying to block his camera? If it was all good and he was the evil stalker I would have let him film away and dig his own grave.

Anonymous said...

You must be really feeling the need to defend the palins...Todd was in a bullying mood and it shows. Hawk has been verifed as telling Todd and Sarah accurate information which was much to their scorn. Phil...sadly disappointed in you as Hawk is just a citizen with a video camera with no ill intent.

Anonymous said...

My two cents? I am a faithful 'gator because they present such thorough coverage. That said, this "incident" was not worth the ink expended except to reinforce how pathetically incompetent SarahPodd would be as a credible leader. She's a celeb - as dumb and talentless as most of the other celebs that dominate the media. But, politico or celeb, at this stage of the game both of them should have figured out how to handle such situations with grace and diplomacy. That said, my smile for the day was imagining what their reaction would have been if Hawk had said he was filming for cons4palin.

Anonymous said...

Having done some research on bullying behavior I must disagree with your view that Todd Palin's behavior is acceptable in any way.

Bullying produces psychological pain but, as ample evidence shows, it can lead to physical harm--even death. Facts indicate that Todd and Sarah Palin are serial bullies--not surprising since bullying continues unless the bully is stopped by outside intervention.

Bullying thrives in atmospheres known as toxic settings--that is, where others are too intimidated by the bullies, or else are conditioned to see nothing wrong with the behavior, to take steps to confront and curtail the bullying. And bullying behavior escalates if the bully perceives no external brakes to the bullying.

Bullies pick their victims. Others have noted in the videos of Ms. Gustafason and the present one the body language of the targets--perhaps subtle, but obvious giveaways to a bully that they can continue with the bullying.

Todd Palin made body contact, that is assaulted, Ms. Gustafason, and according to Hawk Todd hit him too. This is a danger sign, since bullies do escalate if not confronted.

Industrial psychologists in fact have extensive screening programs to weed out bully employees and management since they cost so much in work-related illness, absenteeism productivity. Sometimes the target of bullying dies from stress or self-injury.

Bullies also drive out competent employees, since bullies generally target strong people--that is people they feel are more competent than they.

Anonymous said...

Mudflats was overflowing with comments and you are getting a pretty good swarm here too-- that crowd doesn't really like dissention.

Anyway, three thoughts:

First, I asked myself, what would I do if some stranger followed my spouse around an airport with a video camera? I'd feel very uneasy and I'd probably try to get the guy off my back, even if I was an experienced public figure. After all, I'm human.

Second, Tood could have arguably handled the situation better but it could have been worse.

Third, I doubt Jeanne Devon would ever ask anyone for permission before she took a photo (or video) and published it in her blog, and that is her perspective. This may be o.k., but if it were me I'd have the decency to ask a person's permission especially if I was going to release it to the broader public. There are arguable exceptions to this "rule," but I wish people would be more polite and respectful.

I don't like Palin and I think she may be another arm, (like Beck, Hannity, Fox News etc.) of the Murdoch Extremist Octopus, but I got better ways to spend my time than following her around with a video camera when she as a human being should be allowed some privacy.

I'd encourage the video guy (and Devon) to get a life.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 11:54:

you wrote:

"Having done some research on bullying behavior I must disagree with your view that Todd Palin's behavior is acceptable in any way."

I didn't find Todd's behavior acceptable. I found it obnoxious, as I described in the essay. But we already knew he's that.

Patrick said...


you are somebody who is very familiar with the Palins and their behavior. You have met them, you have written many, many posts about them, know a lot of people who dealt with them, probably know family members etc. etc.

But: The general public, especially outside Alaska, doesn't have this knowledge. I am certain that the huge majority of Americans have no idea at all that Todd Palin can be such an aggressive, or as a you say, obnoxious person.

For many people, this is a completely new view on Todd Palin. That's why we posted the clip. We don't think this clip is big Hollywood - but it shows the public a side of Todd Palin that many people are most certainly not aware of.

Anonymous said...


Gimme a break. The word is out on BOTH Palins. Everywhere.

As an Alaskan who just returned from Chicago and New York, I was shocked about the degree of Palin obsession everywhere. It's not just here. Everyone everywhere knows way, way too much about Todd and Sarah Palin. I can't believe how much attention they're getting. They're being promoted by it.

The only national news media manipulation/ bad decision/ obsession I've seen that was worse was when CNN broadcast, from 8 to 5 every day for months and months, the OJ Simpson trial.

Todd and Sarah Palin obsession (including from blogs like Mudflats) comes in a close second. They just can't stop giving these folks attention.

Anonymous said...

appreciate the comment, whether supportive of my post or not.


sent from mobile

Anonymous said...

OK, Phil, fair enough. Surely Palingate's cup overfloweth on a regular basis. . .yet, the substance that is churned up with the dross on any given day is significant.

With journalism in this country in such a sorry state (due to politics and lack of money) venues such as Palingates serve a high purpose.

Come The Election, if not The Revolution, there is enough stuff archived on that site (perhaps requiring a bit of weeding, to be sure) to sink Palin's boat. That in no way, no how, would have bobbed to the surface in any other way. . .like, say, in a more tightly written, more cautious, more organized forum such as Progressive Alaska.

My only response to your thoughtful argument here is that Palin, had she been elected VP, would have been trotted out to confront, speak with, and possibly negotiate with, shall we say, rather brutish enemies of the US, or leaders movers and shakers of countries and entities not entirely sympathetic to our way of life.

If she can't stand the heat in a public airport from a guy seeing his wife off. . .what does that tell you?

To me, that is the point of the video. Sarah and Todd are incompetent human beings in their response to a private citizen videoing them. What kind of performance, therefore, would you expect of them, were they to be elevated to a position of real power and leadership?

It's a frightening thought, one amply illustrated by this video.


Anonymous said...


I thought they did 'stand' the 'heat.' Not gracefully; they were obviously annoyed, but there wasn't a barroom brawl.

I would have been annoyed too. What if you walked out your front door right now and some guy followed you within a few feet with a video camera as you walked to your car? What would you do? (I'd call the cops).

They couldn't stand "heat?" Is 'heat' like harassment? No matter who you are, it is just weird to get followed around by a guy with a video camera in the VALDEZ airport! If he had identified himself as news media that would have been different, but this video is weird.

Anonymous said...



WakeUpAmerica said...

Everything else aside, Hawk had a right to film the Palins or anyone else at the airport. The Palins tried to deny him that right. The Palins felt that it was ok to take pictures of Hawk, but they were obnoxious about Hawk taking pictures of them? WTF!! How do you justify that, Phil? They purposely escalated the situation and then played the victim and you're supporting them. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

If I were a public figure, I would not find someone filming me in a public place at all wierd. Period.

How long has this woman been in politics? Come on.

What was the Right's reaction when Coakley was so rude to a street video being taken of her? Outrage. And what was the voter reaction? They voted for Scott Brown, and rightly so, as Coakley demonstrated an inability to conduct herself in public. Her lack of leadership ability was exposed on tape.

Just as Palin's was here.

Visit Pro-Palin sites and you find all sorts of candid 'citizen' photo ops and 'home' videos of Palin.

Those are OK, but somehow this guy's is not? He did not appear to be just a "few feet away" - it appears to have been shot at a respectful distance.

I get where Phil is poking fun here, and I do understand Palin burn-out. But I find this material substantive.


Gabe said...

Phil, you are exactly right. It is just creepy, on both sides, to film people like that. I mean who does that? It's paparazzi. Same sort of shit happens with movie stars, rock stars, royalty. Hawk didn't have a question, a statement, a purpose, an explanation. Just invading their privacy for the sake of it.

Of course Hawk has the right to do as he did, it's his town not theirs, but so did Todd have the right to do as he did. But it's all jsut so childish. I'd have liked it way better if he'd had a cream pie in the face for the lady. See, that's at least legitimate political expression, it'd add something to the narrative. Todd'd have kicked his ass, and Hawk could open a bigger skate shop. Freakin awesome.

I also agree thoughh with posters who say Todd seems a bully at heart (though I don't know the guy, and don't want to, and don't understand why anyone would)--but he looks to enjoy the intimidated swath of public he walks through. But hell, if I were him I'd film back at someone filming me too. Come to think of it, I've done the exact same thing with police, when they'd film everyone at public rallies. From his perspective, it's at least an understandable human reaction. Dude's not a politician, doesn't seem to give a shit about any of it substantively. Dude's just a dude, a redneck (in the prideful, non-pejorative sense). And like most rednecks, if you egg them on, they're going to get back at you, eye for eye.

Why have I wasted ten minutes on this? Is anything happening that matters?