On CNN Newsroom today, CNN reporter Joe Johns accused TPM of posting a “selectively edited” version of the town hall appearance where Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) discussed “struggling” to live on his $174,000/ year salary. The accusation came by way of Duffy’s office, which Johns reported said the clip had been deliberately cut to leave off Duffy saying he would support cutting his salary.
That accusation from Duffy’s office comes after the Polk County, Wisconsin Republican Party — which originally posted the five-minute video of Duffy talking about his salary — demanded the full version posted by TPM on Tuesday be pulled off the internet, claiming it was protected by copyright.
After receiving the complaint, out of abundance of caution and on the advice of counsel, TPM posted a one minute excerpt of the five-minute video. Now the Duffy camp is complaining that the edited version of the video, which TPM originally ran in its entirety, is misleading. You can judge for yourself by viewing the entire video below, which we have decided to repost.
The gist however is that after using their legal muscle to force us to take down the full video and replace it with an excerpt, Duffy’s office is now claiming that the use of the excerpt is a ploy to mislead the public about what he said. And CNN is reporting their bogus claim as fact.
For the record, TPM specifically reported Duffy’s comment that he would support an across the board public employee pay cut in both the original story we posted Tuesday with the full video and in the followup story Wednesday that contained the video excerpt.
In the full video, Duffy is asked whether or not he would vote to cut his own salary. After explaining the difficulty he’s had supporting his family of six on the salary provided to all members of Congress, Duffy — one of the poorest members of Congress — says he would support a pay cut for “all public employees across the board.”
As has been reported elsewhere, that response didn’t go down too well with the questioner. From a writeup of the back-and-forth posted by the Washington Post:
A constituent off-screen replies, “I wouldn’t say all public employees. I would say let’s look at the elected officials. Wow. That’s a lot of money. How many Congressmen do we have? How many Senators?”
After Duffy says the total tally of 435, the constituent responds, “Wow. And a hundred and seventy-four thousand a crack? Wow, there’s our debt right there.”
When asked by TPM if he would support cutting his salary, Duffy’s office responded by lashing out at the Democrats criticizing Duffy for saying he’s “struggling” on $174,000 a year.
“Congressman Duffy is committed to working with his colleagues in the House to face these challenges head on, not score cheap political points,” Duffy spokesperson Daniel Son told TPM on Tuesday. “Wisconsin’s working families don’t need partisan Democrats in Washington weighing in on the economic hardship they continue to face, especially with a misleading attack like this that Congressman Duffy’s constituents know to be false.”
The Polk County GOP had already yanked the full version it posted to YouTube itself off the video-sharing site and the county party’s blog, apparently unhappy with the negative attention Duffy’s remarks were getting.
Duffy’s office declined to comment on the Polk County GOP pulling the video off their site, or the party ordering the full version off TPM.
Apparently they told Johns something different. From the transcript of CNN Newsroom today:
Johns: “He was actually on Road Rules , but here’s the point of this - I just got off the phone with his office. (laughter about road rules / real world thing that he thinks he’s wrong about but isn’t wrong about) - here’s the point though, I just got off the phone with his office and they say that this tape that has been circulating and up on TPM, on the internet and what not, is actually a case of selective editing, that the question he was posed was whether he would give up part of that big one-hundred-seventy-four thousand dollar salary..
Anchor: “Ahh. Big difference!”
Johns: “Right. right, and his answer at the end of it was ‘yes, I would give up some of that salary, I would take a pay cut’ but you never really get to that that in this little clip, so I asked him to send me a copy of the whole clip and we can, you know, judge for ourselves”
Anchor: “I see, I see. that makes a big difference doesn’t it.”
Here’s the video of that exchange:
Finally, here’s the full version of Duffy’s response to the question about his salary as originally shot, edited and posted by the Polk County GOP following Duffy’s Feb. 23 town hall meeting at a senior center in Amery, WI:
Watch the excerpt TPM posted Wednesday here.