Randy Brown, webmaster of Minnesota’s Senate District 56 GOP website, beat out Glenn Beck and Nevada U.S. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle to win MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” honors last night.
Brown, as MnIndy first reported, posted a video that compares how “hot” women from the Democratic and Republican parties are. The Democrats – represented by Janet Reno (with photoshopped chest hair), a grimacing Hillary Clinton and Rosie O’Donnell’s head fused onto the body of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, among others – are shown atop a soundbed of Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Of the video, Olbermann said: “Just remember it anytime you hear Sarah Palin or anybody else in the GOP complain about sexism or misogyny on the part of the mainstream media or the Democrats. Randy Brown of the Minnesota GOP – plus, I understand the group Baha Men is pissed – America’s worst person in the world.”
In another development, Republican Party of Minnesota communications director Mark Drake demanded a change to our story – one that puts distance between the state party and the local SD 56 party unit. Drake called to say he wanted the headline on our initial report on the video changed to reflect that it wasn’t the statewide GOP, but merely a local district group, that chose to embed a video that one of its endorsed women candidates, Andrea Kieffer, dubbed “juvenile.” (The headline now refers to the “SD56 GOP” rather than the “Minn. GOP.”) The video itself, he said, is “wrong and inappropriate.”
(For the record, Olbermann incorrectly called Brown the “webmaster of the Minnesota state Republican Party.” He’s the webmaster of the SD56 site only – or he was: his byline hasn’t appeared since this story broke and since district GOP-endorsed candidate Kathy Lohmer called for his resignation.)
Apparently, we’re not alone in fielding Drake’s complaints. Mother Jones’ copy editor Adam Weinstein tells the Minnesota Independent that Drake called his publication after it ran a story on the SD56 web video and “berated” the magazine’s receptionist. Drake later emailed Weinstein to declare the story to be “completely false” and demanded a retraction. (Gawker contributing editor Jeff Neumann confirms that he was “hit with the ALL CAPS Drake email assault” too for his story.)
The Mother Jones story now has this addendum:
After he placed several abusive phone calls to our receptionist and a frantic email demanding a “retraction” to this “completely false” story, Minnesota GOP communications director Mark Drake berated me on the phone for a good ten minutes. Besides being unclear on the differences between “retraction,” “correction,” “clarification,” “conversation,” “irate braying,” and “pointless screaming,” he made the point that the video was on a district GOP site, not the state GOP’s site, and that he’d never heard of the webmaster before. While expressing regret over the video’s content, he said the 56th district was one of more than 100 autonomous Republican parties in the state, and his umbrella organization wasn’t responsible. He then refused to answer follow-up questions regarding what action, if any, had been taken by the state GOP to make the local group accountable for its actions. Based on the one or two facts he could assert between loud declamations, I changed the ID of webmaster Randy Brown above. Mark, if you’re reading this and want to explain what steps the state GOP is taking besides abusing reporters by phone, give us a call-and try being nice to the receptionist this time.