Live Air America Broadcast from Heart of U.S. House Special Election Controversy Interrupted by Shouts, Jeers, Cheers from Audience of Activists in Attendance!
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2006, 11:30am PT  

Filed by Brad Friedman in San Diego...

As I standby in a hotel room in San Diego, near the DemcoracyFest! venue, to hopefully post some big breaking news momentarily, Al Franken is broadcasting his show from the site.

In a discussion moments ago with reporter Ruben Navarette, the previously quiet crowd gathered at the live broadcast broke into boos and disapproving shouts when the interview, led by Franken, implied that "Busby had lost" the recent special U.S. House Election in California's 50th district due to a "gaffe" made prior to the election.

Audience members erupted in applause when it was mentioned that "some believe the election was not run cleanly." Franken and his guest regarded the election as legitimate, which led to boos and protests from the crowd who became unruly during the discussion, rejecting the announced results that "Bilbray won the election."

Navarette was also booed when he implied that George W. Bush "beat" Al Gore in 2000. Event organizers had encouraged Franken to invite me to speak during today's live broadcast, taking place smack dab in the middle of the country's largest election controversy prior to the November general election right here in San Diego. Franken, instead chose to have Navarette to discuss Election Integrity in Mexico and elsewhere, along with a rep from Common Cause New Mexico to discuss other election issues.

UPDATE: As Franken was going off the air, the DNC issued a statement calling for a manual count in the Busby/Bilbray race due to the security breaches via voting machine "sleepovers" and other "election irregularities". That BREAKING STORY IS HERE...

CORRECTION: Franken's guest during the segment described above was apparently Ruben Navarette of the Washington Post/San Diego Tribune, as opposed to a guest from Common Cause New Mexico as we had originally reported. The guest from Common Cause was on the show after Navarette.

UPDATE AND IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION 7/15/06 12:50am PT: ...

Several commenters have criticized my reporting on this story, suggesting that I had reported that Franken had been booed. While my original headline (which BRAD BLOG moderator Agent 99 has since reworded for clarity) was "BREAKING: SAN DIEGO DEMOCRACYFEST CROWD BOOS AL FRANKEN DISCUSSION OF BUSBY/BILBRAY ELECTION!," the wording of the headline could have certainly been clearer. It was written at lightning pace while the DNC Statement calling for a hand count of the Busby/Bilbray race was coming in and I was simultaneously rushing to get that story out before heading over to the DemocracyFest venue where I was supposed to have been an hour earlier, but knew I wouldn't have net access to complete the story for the rest of the day/night.

While the original headline might have been clearer, it was accurate, if misleading. The crowd booed during the discussion which is what I was trying to convey.

The bigger problem occurred when I shortened the headline for the notice of the story that I had posted at DU (they only allow a certain number of characters for the subject of such posts) and my rushed re-wording was completely wrong in the bargain. That shortened subject line had read "FRANKEN BOOED ON AIR DURING DISCUSSION OF BUSBY/BILBRAY IN SAN DIEGO!" That was wrong, and I regret the error.

Adding to the problem, apparently RAW STORY's shortened banner headline link may have been similarly misleading. All, no doubt, due to my original accurate, but sloppy headline. Hope that clears up the confusion.

Finally, as to who was booed and who wasn't, commenter Dan Krisher was kind enough to post an MP3 link to the audio of the exchange. Though I believe there was an earlier part of the discussion not included in Krisher's link, wherein the trouble began, you'll see that it was Union-Tribune journalist Navarette who received the boos, not Franken. Though I believe both began the discussion (particularly in the earlier segment not on the MP3 linked above) by regarding Democrat Francine Busby as having "lost" the race, that is a bit of "conventional wisdom" which is utterly unproven at this time due to the irregularities regarding the voting machines used in the race.

Either way, such are the dangers of blogging too quickly, even as I had little other choice in this case. And as mentioned, I regret all of the errors and confusion related to my coverage of this item and hope that these comments serve to clarify the mistakes.