When Politicians Attack

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Introduction

By Scott Conroy

Strange things can happen on the job as a political reporter.

One moment, you're attempting to ask an innocuous question about an alleged campaign finance violation. The next, a United States congressman is threatening to throw you off a balcony and "break you in half."

The predictable annual ritual of covering the State of the Union address took an unforeseen turn for NY1 reporter Michael Scotto on Tuesday night. Following the speech, New York Rep. Michael Grimm seemingly took the journalist's inquiry as a chance to act out a "Sopranos" fantasy, while a television camera captured the bizarre scene for the political world to marvel upon.

Rather than apologize right away for his outburst, the Staten Island Republican reacted to the resulting media firestorm by saying he had done NY1 “a favor" by granting it the interview ahead of other media outlets, adding that Scotto's question was "disrespectful"; (On Wednesday morning, Grimm issued a second statement, in which he did apologize for having "overreacted")

Though one could argue that Grimm's threat to turn Michael Scotto into two Michael Scottos was something more disquieting than a mere overreaction, physical and near-physical confrontations between the press and politicians or their staffers do happen from time to time. Here's a list of too-close-for-comfort incidents in recent years:

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