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. Senatorâ€™s office. And it didnâ€™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 â€” until he was arrested on federal misdemeanor charges* for his role in the the January 6 insurrection. So much for having a moment.
Youâ€™d have thought we were done hearing from Mr. Fellows â€” 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 thereâ€™s a very good reason to allow an interview subject to hide their face. Itâ€™s not uncommon to shield the identity of whistleblowers, sexual assault victims, and witnesses of crimes who may be harmed or intimidated â€” but someone whoâ€™s been criminally charged after such a high-profile incident? Not that Iâ€™ve ever seen. At that point, youâ€™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 didnâ€™t. Actually, he didnâ€™t even bother to explain in his story why Fellows was disguised. But what do you expect? Levy also didnâ€™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 â€” 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 â€œFirst on 13â€ exclusive, and we canâ€™t allow that to happen.
*Since this was published, Fellows was hit with five more charges, including a felony obstruction count.