The recent crisis beneath the Port of Entry in Del Rio, TX has aroused all kinds of emotions all around the country. Yours truly has been no exception. Despite best intentions to try and avoid obvious bias, and to adhere to classic journalistic standards of neutral reporting and analysis, there can be no doubt that readers can probably detect our positions on gun control, border control, and other issues that tend to reveal voting patterns and other indicators of bias.
Credibility and trustworthiness are perhaps the most important virtues and aspects of journalism. And no one should need us to point out what a beating they’ve taken over the years in general. Don’t know what the current surveys say, but one recalls in the early 2000s, Journalists in general were viewed with the kind of public disdain that is usually reserved for politicians and ambulance-chasing Attorneys. Troubling. No one sets out in life with the intention of being viewed as human lice.
Anyone that wants to preserve any status as a truth-teller at all, must necessarily point out discrepancies and perhaps also dirty tricks. Before going further, have you seen the video of Al Sharpton getting heckled out of Del Rio?
It is absolutely electrifying. Yours truly remarked the day of on twitter: “Del Rio is a special place. Lots of hispanics, plenty of anglos and pinks. They're all sweating and straining in the same heat, drinking the same water and eating the same dirt every time the wind blows. Hmn. Doesn't sound *that* special, but trust me, it is.”
I believe that. If Del Rio is truly a racist city, then there’s no hope for us anywhere in America.
Here’s the video.
It appears to be from San Antonio CBS Affiliate Station KENS 5. Coincidentally, KENS 5’s 10:00 o’clock news with Chris Marrou and Dan Cook, was the broadcast I watched the most as a kid. I’ve chosen it, because one can manage to hear some of what Sharpton is saying. In so many words, he and the others with him are concerned about the treatment of the Haitian aliens under the bridge, and wanted to make certain they are well. In other clips available online, he is drowned out completely by the two different men you can hear.
One, is a man named Anthony Aguero. The other, is a man named Ben Bergquam. Both men have been working hard along the border, documenting much of what’s been happening with the drug smuggling and child exploitation and disseminating it as widely as one can in the face of what’s seemed like national disinterest.
Both could also easily be accused of being right wing agent-provocateurs.
Neither man hides who he is, or where he is coming from. But in much of the reporting on this element of the story, the men have been referred to as “hecklers in Del Rio.” It should be noted, neither is actually from Del Rio. Aguero appears to be originally from the El Paso area, where he ran for elected office as a Republican and lost. He is also described in some circles as an “ally” of conservative Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. And, it’s been reported by CNN that he was inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th protests.
In some fringe conservative circles, the fact Aguero hasn’t been arrested for “J6” as they call it, is suspicious— leading them to suggest he may be an associate of the FBI or some other federal organization. Bergquam was described in the “GV Wire” 3 years ago as a right-wing activist, based in Fresno, CA known for political stunts and heckling. The GV Wire is a California-based news organization. Bergquam has most recently been reporting for “Real America’s Voice,” an organization that also features former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.
Why would none of the mainstream reporting organizations note these facts? Because it’s complicated. No really. It’s complicated. Almost no one has the minutes, or the column inches necessary to fairly and accurately dissect these kinds of interactions and relationships and still be able to actually cover the important matters of the crisis in Del Rio. Especially on a deadline. So, they simply say “Hecklers.” “Two men in Del Rio.” Accurate statements, to be sure, but doesn’t it feel a little incomplete? They may also choose not to identify the men out of a desire not to glorify their behavior or encourage more of it.
Who owns this “Real America’s Voice” organization anyway? Well, it’s part of a group of programming channels under the umbrella of a company called Performance One Media, based in the Denver, Colorado area. Performance One appears to be owned by a man named Robert J. Sigg.
According to his social media, Sigg has a background in advertising, marketing, and television production, tallying more than 23 years in the business. His social media also says he helped found the Turner Media Group, not to be confused with Turner Broadcasting, home of CNN and TBS and so many other Cable Network staples.
Turner Media Group appears to be an advertising and sales agency, that made a ton of money working with Dish Network.
Prior to his time in broadcasting and advertising, Sigg’s social media says he operated several businesses in real estate, construction, and spas and salons.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed watching the heckling. It was nutty and exciting, the moment feeling even a little dangerous, watching the Reverend Freddie Haynes of Dallas confront Aguero as Sharpton seemed to retreat. That moment is not captured in the KENS 5 clip that I linked above.
On Twitter, Haynes appears to make no mention of the incident, staying on message, as if it never happened. Haynes preaches at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas as the Senior Pastor. He is also Executive Secretary of the Evangelism Board of the National Baptist Convention. He is also a good deal taller, and heavier than Aguero.
Hoped to find a small, discrete video clip that showed this confrontation, but, no luck. Here is a link to Aguero’s live feed from that afternoon. Skip to roughly the 5:00 minute mark to see the beginning of the attempted news conference, and Aguero’s confrontation with Haynes almost immediately after. If you feel like watching the whole thing, there is also an appearance by Weston Martinez, later, a Texan running for State Land Commissioner who holds some strong opinions on the border crisis.
It should also be noted, that City of Del Rio officials helped Sharpton avoid a gauntlet of homegrown local area protestors waiting for him outside the City’s International Airport, opening gates and allowing him and his entourage to exit the back way out of the airport.
As always, feel free to like, share and subscribe. Maybe you have an opinion on the subject— a story to tell about what a saint or sinner Al Sharpton is. Feel free to leave that in the comments below, and welcome to the Crew.
Edited to remove an extraneous use of the word 'be'