Montel Williams, who self-describes as the “name behind one of the longest running talk shows in the history of television,” grew incensed Wednesday afternoon after he went on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto‘s program and criticized President Obama‘s policies toward veterans. Williams, a veteran himself, was absolutely apoplectic over the fact that vets are getting screwed.
But that’s nothing compared to what happened when The Daily Caller ran a headline saying just that.
“Furious Veteran Montel Williams UNLOADS on Obama,” the headline blared.
You’d have thought Williams hadn’t unloaded on Obama or something by the way he reacted, tweeted and hashtagged his ass off, seething over how The Daily Caller had portrayed his angry commentary. Fine, let’s check out his quote. Let’s see if The Daily Caller really had its head up its ass or whether Williams actually did UNLOAD on POTUS.
“The president just promised $5 billion for terrorists around the world?!” Montel asked angrily during the segment. “At West Point?! Where he could have used today to say, ‘I’m sorry! For the pain that I’ve caused you, the families! And I’m going to fix it today!’”
The story by Brendan Bordelon was opinion-free and focused entirely on exact quotes from Montel, who was emotional, in good measure, because he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy for an admirable 22 years.
But look what happened next.
First of all, is “cheracterize” any way to spell “characterize?”
Understandably, misspellings happen under duress, and Montel was angry about both the veterans and the headline. He wanted The Daily Caller to “correct” his story because he claimed it had distorted what he said. But what exactly was there to correct? And “sucker punch” might be just a tad high drama. Was Montel not severely criticizing Obama and the policies of an administration he believes are giving veterans the shaft? Just FYI Montel, news outlets are supposed to write headlines that are simultaneously snappy and reflect just exactly what the subject said.
I’m not The Daily Caller‘s ombudsman, but I can read.
On his Twitter feed, Montel ranted on (and on) about how many people who don’t normally side with him were supporting his views. Like Jose Callado, who wrote, “My brother in arms, I saw your interview with Mr. Cavuto. Your idea of a Surge into the VA is spot on. I’m with u!” Montel spent the evening breathing in the love all around him. And breathing out hate for The Daily Caller.
Later, Montel, traveling and likely all revved up from his TV hits and tweets coming his way, said he doesn’t appear on Fox News more because of the apparent “knuckleheads” who write Daily Caller headlines. Whether out of boredom or adrenalin, it doesn’t matter. Are Fox News viewers — or viewers of any other cable network — really clamoring for more Montel? When did this nationwide passion happen?
Bordelon did not reply to Montel’s complaints on Twitter. Neither did Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, who told The Mirror, “Montel shouldn’t be embarrassed about criticizing Obama on Fox, I do it all the time.”
The Mirror sought comment from Montel’s spokesman Jonathan Franks to find out if Montel had simmered down from Wednesday. By phone, his first question: “Do you really need to write this story?”
Eventually, after politely unloading on why the Montel camp doesn’t care for the word “UNLOADED,” and why it doesn’t help the cause to “politicize” the issue by framing it against Obama, Franks agreed to send me a paragraph of his thoughts. He assured me that Montel is still a registered Democrat and later explained that he’s the registered Democrat and that Montel is an Independent. I told him to try to contain his thoughts in one graph.
“As a threshold matter, while this may seem like splitting hairs, it is an important distinction to those who served,” wrote Franks. “The headline crossed the line. It took Mr. Williams’ passion for taking his fellow veterans off the political battlefield and bringing folks together to fix the problem and reduced them to the kind of non-substantive tit-for-tat only found inside the beltway. Mr. Williams’ criticisms of the President were specific and substantive in a way that can’t be properly reduced to the journalistic equivalent of a hashtag – the word ‘unloading.’ We’d encourage the Daily Caller to publish the op-ed in its entirety and let readers make up their own minds. Simply put, he stands by both the specific criticism of POTUS and the objection he raised to the headline.”
Montel, now something of a media whore after appearing on CNN as well as Glenn Beck‘s “The Blaze” TV show Sunday night and Thursday, began asking CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS to have him on Friday morning. He will be going on a “A LOT MORE” shows Friday, boasted Franks, including a half hour on Cavuto.
You too ABC! “#vasurge EVERYONE RT @GMA to cover the fight for a #vasurge.”
And you, too, CBS. He urged, “RT @CBSThisMorning – let them know u want to see them cover our fight for a #vasurge.”