Brandon Fellows was having an awesome 2021. He got to to participate in the historic riot at the Capitol. Had his picture taken sitting on a police motorcycle. Was interviewed on CNN. Sat back and took a smoke in a U.S. Senator’s office. And it didn’t end there. Bloomberg News did a big feature on him a week later, giving him plenty of space to air his views.
Yes, it may have been his best year ever — until he was arrested on federal misdemeanor charges* for his role in the the January 6 insurrection. So much for having a moment.
You’d have thought we were done hearing from Mr. Fellows — but then WNYT got the chance to interview him on February 13, and boy, did they make a fucking mess of it.
For some reason, they allowed Fellows to appear in the same Yukon Cornelius-looking disguise he wore on January 6 in Washington, with a knit hat, sunglasses, and an absurd red beard made of yarn.
Sometimes there’s a very good reason to allow an interview subject to hide their face. It’s not uncommon to shield the identity of whistleblowers, sexual assault victims, and witnesses of crimes who may be harmed or intimidated — but someone who’s been criminally charged after such a high-profile incident? Not that I’ve ever seen. At that point, you’re sort of a public figure.
If Fellows insisted on wearing that getup, WNYT reporter Dan Levy could have ended things right there, but he didn’t. Actually, he didn’t even bother to explain in his story why Fellows was disguised. But what do you expect? Levy also didn’t press Fellows on his claim that he and other Trump supporters were being persecuted, “just as Hitler did with the Jews.” Hey, Dan Levy — were you even listening?
All I can figure is that since this story ran on a Saturday, the people who should have stopped it from airing had the day off.
But hold up, what am I thinking? Making Brandon Fellows take off his disguise or asking a tough question might have ruined the chance to have a “First on 13” exclusive, and we can’t allow that to happen.
*Since this was published, Fellows was hit with five more charges, including a felony obstruction count.