New Hampshire

Watch: Keene Pumpkin Fest Lady Accuses Journalist of Being 'Free-Stater,' Tries to Censor Him


The weekend drunken riots in Keene, New Hampshire, didn't actually happen at the annual pumpkin festival. But obviously they're still going to be a big deal in a small town of 20,000. Of course, some folks are going to be more concerned about the reputation of the festival than the matters at hand. And some folks are going to make fools of themselves doing so.

That person would be festival organizer Ruth Sterling, who interrupted the broadcast of public access reporter Jared Goodell and threatened to shut him down because she apparently didn't like him bringing up the rioting. She attempts to grab his microphone, attempts to block him from the camera and demands to know if Goodell is a "Free Stater," the term for New Hampshire's libertarian Free State Project efforts. Watch below:


Sterling seems a bit dumbstruck at the idea that the media aren't there to do as they're told. She subsequently defended her censorship efforts to Monday in language no less silly than her behavior on the air:

"I needed to keep 80,000 people safe. And one self-promoting punk could help me do that or TRY to impede me from doing that. I never regret when I try. Last night I was trying. I was not surrendering to fear, intimidation, threats," Sterling wrote.

No, she looked like she was surrendering to fear to me. Did she think the people walking around the pumpkin festival were also watching Goodell's coverage at the same time and were going to start stampeding in a panic?  Goodell took a different perspective:

"I would say over eight hours [of coverage] it was probably 90 percent about the festival, just talking to the families and kids with costumes, about the pumpkins, talking to local non-profit leaders," Goodell told "We talked about the riots in a safe way because we're playing to viewers at home and we want to let the viewers at home know what the safety concerns are.

"Cars were being turned over, fires were being set, a mass casualty [incident] was announced," he added. "I'd say we underreported on the riots."

(Hat tip to Hit and Run commenter Also Ran)