Friday, August 27, 2010

Did Congressman Pascrell (D-NJ) Enlist a PR Flack to Spread Falsehoods About His Employee's Violent Behavior?

It has been nearly two weeks since Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr's staffer Ann Mega violently attacked two of Pascrell's peaceful constituents -- one of them a senior citizen, the other... me -- at a public forum in Montclair, New Jersey on August 9th -- and Pascrell continues to show his support for his thug employee in several ways (refusing to fire her, sending out his spokesman to lie about what happened, etc.)

Did Pascrell also enlist a public relations (PR) flack to spread falsehoods about his employee's violent behavior?

Four days after the incidents -- on August 13th -- an article appeared on entitled "Mid-Term Election Season Shoves Off -- Or Does It?" As of this writing, this article can be accessed via:

As I read through the article, it became clear to me that its author -- Erika Bleiberg -- was spinning everything in it in Pascrell's favor. For example:

* The article's title subtly suggests that perhaps nobody was physically shoved -- even though a Montclair Times reporter personally witnessed the senior citizen in question being shoved, and nobody in Pascrell's camp denies that this happened.

* Bleiberg apparently contacted Paul Brubaker, Pascrell's spokesman: "When Baristanet talked with Paul Brubaker...". No such attempt was made to contact me, even though I am easily found through Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

* Bleiberg swallows whole the obvious fiction that Ann Mega shoving me is a "'he said/she said' scenario" -- when in fact there were multiple witnesses, and multiple witnesses have come forward backing up my assertion that Pascrell's employee violently attacked me. And in fact, Mega has not publicly commented on the matter at all, preferring to hide behind Pascrell via Pascrell's spokesman. Contrast this with my approach -- since (unlike Pascrell and Mega) I have nothing to hide, I have been very open and public with my comments that I was physically attacked. In other words, this is not a 'he said/she said' scenario at all!

* Bleiberg apparently never gets around to one highly obvious question any curious person would think to ask of Pascrell's spokesman: why should we believe that Mega never shoved me, when just 10-15 minutes earlier, she shoved a senior citizen, an action witnessed by a reporter for the Montclair Times, and an action which nobody denies -- not even Pascrell or Mega?

* Bleiberg quotes Pascrell's spokesman as saying that "People's focus should be on the fact that Congressman Pascrell had a great meeting..." blah blah blah, but never points out the opposite view that people's focus should be on the fact that Congressman Pascrell's employee violently attacked two of his peaceful constituents, and that this powerful congressman is supporting his violent employee. Fair and balanced writing by Bleiberg? Obviously not!

* Bleiberg quotes a spokeman for the senior citizen who was physically attacked saying that he "didn't feel physically threatened and wasn't bothered by Mega." At no point in the article is the point made that I most definitely felt physically threatened -- it actually went beyond threats, too, as multiple witnesses and I have indicated, I was physically shoved -- and I was most definitely bothered by Mega's violation of my free-speech rights!

But then I did a bit of research on Erika Bleiberg... and a light bulb went off inside my head.

As it turns out, Bleiberg is a professional PR flack!

According to Bleiberg's personal profile on, she has held a number of public relations positions:

* "Principal at EB-PR"
* "Public Relations Director at C.C. Sullivan Strategic Communications"
* "Marketing/Public Relations Director at Fines Herbes, Inc"

And more... and, on top of that, she is "Currently enrolled in the PR/Digital Marketing Certificate Program at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, focusing on social media and technology."

Groups she belongs to on LinkedIn include:

* "Social Media Marketing"
* "Public Relations and Communications Professionals"
* "PRSA-NY (PRSA New York Chapter)"
* "Public Relations and Communications Jobs Community"

She also lists her industry as "Public Relations and Communications," and one of her current positions as " Writer (Broadcast Media industry) June 2010 — Present (3 months) Cover local news and public affairs stories."

So it's clear that Bleiberg to a large extent views herself as working in public relations, and clearly views media outlets -- for example, -- as places in which to disseminate her less-than-fully-truthful spin. How pathetic of her. I wonder how folks like this sleep at night.

Now, it is possible that Bleiberg decided to write all this on her own. That said, it seems highly unlikely. For one thing, I did not see her at the Montclair forum. So somebody who was there must have told her about what happened -- and she has freely admitted that she was in touch with Pascrell's spokesman.

Is Pascrell so afraid that the truth will come out about his employee's affection for violence -- and his support for her and her actions! -- that he directed his staff to contact a professional PR flack to write a far less than fully truthful (not to mention rather lame) article on

*** The North New Jersey Tea Party Group continues to call on Congressman Pascrell to do the honorable thing, by immediately and permanently firing Ann Mega from his staff, and by sincerely apologizing for her thuggish behavior -- and his shameful support of it. ***

To date, no such actions or apology have been forthcoming.

For additional information about how Pascrell shows his contempt for the governed, please click on the following links:

"Congressman Pascrell Supports Staffer Who Shoved Senior Citizen"

"Eyewitness Describes Physical Attack by Congressman Pascrell's (D-NJ) Employee at Town Hall Meeting"

"Calling on Congressman Pascrell to Immediately Fire Staffer Ann Mega for Physically Attacking Two Peaceful Constituents"

"Must-See Video: Democratic Congressman Arrogantly Insults Senior Citizen"

*** The North New Jersey Tea Party Group is the largest New Jersey-based tea party organization on Facebook in terms of members, with over 4,500 of them combined in our two group pages. ***

*** As always, feel free to pass on the above information! ***

Mark Kalinowski
North New Jersey Tea Party Group
Liberty, Free Markets, and Individual Rights

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