In a Monday story that’ll make you actually want to hit somebody, Yahoo! News‘s Chris Moody recounted an incident at CPAC wherein former child conservative star Jonathan Krohn, now 18, is borderline bullied by a gaggle of right-wing bloggers.
One of the bloggers challenged the report as inaccurate, but Moody, having recorded the whole thing, was able to prove his story is straighter than a game of beer pong in a frat house.
On the second day of CPAC Krohn, who was attending as a freelancer for Salon, was cornered in a hallway after attending a panel discussion on Islam. He was chatting with The Daily Caller‘s Jamie Weinstein when 10 or so other CPAC attendees and bloggers approached. Among them, Townhall‘s Editor Katie Pavlich (Mean Girl 1) and Misfit Politics Editor-In-Chief Leah Sargent (Mean Girl 2).
“It was pretty rude,” Krohn told FishbowlDC. “I don’t want to make all this a point of controversy, but I know all three of us that were surrounded (Weinstein, Moody and myself) felt the set-up was intimidating.”
Moody wouldn’t comment on the record for this post, but his story describes the scene like this…
“Are you Jonathan Krohn?” Pavlich asked, interrupting Krohn’s conversation with Weinstein. Standing next to her was Breitbart.com writer Brandon Darby.
Krohn looked up and replied with a nervous, “Ya.”
“So you were the kid who was here a couple of years ago,” Pavlich said. “You used to be a conservative, and now you’re a liberal.”
“I’m not a liberal,” Krohn replied.
Within seconds, at least eight other CPAC attendees joined in and formed a semicircle around Krohn, whose back was against the wall of the hallway. Some of the people in the crowd pulled out cameras and cellphones and began recording.
Pavlich, continued to ask why Krohn, who in 2009 delivered a speech at CPAC, was there; why he’s no longer conservative and why he ever gave a speech at CPAC in the first place. He answered each question, understandably frustrated, given the impromptu nature of the grilling and the questions which he has already answered in the past.
At the conference, Krohn looked fairly rumpled with unkempt hair and a fair amount of facial scruff.
Two people in the
mob crowd made fun of Krohn’s clothes, according to Moody’s story, and one cursed at him. Weinstein tried stamping out the growing fire a few times, telling Pavlich she didn’t need to “interrogate” Krohn and the others shouldn’t “make fun of him.” Pavlich, who emceed portions of this year’s CPAC, snapped back at Krohn, “I think it’s sad as a journalist that you think asking questions is confrontational. Maybe you should get another job.” She made a similar remark to Weinstein.
Demonstrating her cerebral gravitas, Sargent told Krohn she hopes he gets “an education” and recommended that he read Atlas Shrugged, the politically philosophical equivalent of Harry Potter. Meaning everyone has read it. And it’s fiction.
Sargent also told Krohn to tuck in his shirt if he wanted to be taken seriously. (We’re told Krohn did not respond with, “Okay! See you next Tuesday!”)
At one point, Breitbart News‘s Brandon Darby told the anxious Krohn that “if we were outside and you were yelling at me like that, we would have an issue.”
The best part from Moody’s story:
(Later, when talking to a group of friends about the incident, Sargent said, “I just want everyone to applaud my self-control for not slapping that stupid brat.”)
After the story published, conservative blogger Bethany Bowra tweeted the link and said Sargent was “inaccurately quoted” in that “slapping” remark. Moody replied, saying it was indeed what Sargent said. Sargent also chimed in with a denial. Bowra asked Moody how he could be sure. He said he was present for the remark and heard it, but acknowledged that Sargent wasn’t wholly serious about “slapping” anyone.
At that, CEO of Misfit Politics Brandon Morse jumped in to ask for proof of what Moody heard. He had a recording.
Sargent was caught. “I apologize for my earlier comments,” she tweeted Moody (directly, which means most of her followers looking at Twitter probably missed it). “I had no memory of making those comments and it appears I was wrong. My apologies.”
Moody replied with a simple “thank you.”
Pavlich tweeted yesterday, “For all those concerned about my so-called “confrontation” with Jonathan Krohn, it was actually with The Daily Caller‘s Jamie Weinstein.” She did not challenge the accuracy of the report.
Reaction on Twitter was mixed. ABC News’s Chris Good said the report made it “kind of hard not to feel bad for Krohn.” Free Beacon Managing Editor Sonny Bunch said he was “extremely sad that I missed CPAC” after reading the story. “Lesson of the story: Jamie Weinstein is a gentleman,” said Frum Blog’s Justin Green.
More from Krohn
“Quite frankly,” Krohn told FBDC, “I’d like to not make a bigger deal out of this seeing as: 1. I’m trying to move on with life (just got promoted to UN Correspondent for the Kurdish media network Rudaw) and would like to stop focusing on my past with conservatives (I had hoped this return would give a little closure to that chapter of my life in the eyes of my readers) and 2. I kind of wear it as a badge of honor that Townhall and Breitbart News attacked me for defending the honor of 22.74% of the world (i.e. the world’s Muslims).”
Like Moody, Weinstein also would not comment on the record. Sargent declined the opportunity.
Pavlich told us Moody’s story was “overall fair” but that it missed the mark on characterizing her exchange with Krohn as anything hostile. “I have no issue with Krohn or his change from right to left as it has been portrayed, in fact, I give the guy credit for showing up,” she said. “That being said, he was loudly yelling in an open hallway as a well known person so to say he was ‘cornered’ or aattacked’ is inaccurate. As Moody documented, Krohn was waving his arms in the air, raised his voice and yelled. There was a lot of spittle, too.”
Correction: This post originally and inaccurately said Pavlich was not recording the encounter with Krohn. She did record a portion of it on video here.