A "mystery man" with press credentials gave the middle finger to hundreds of thousands of Fox News viewers on Monday. Former General and presidential candidate Wesley Clark was being interviewed by pundit Shepard Smith at Boca's Lynn University.
At about 2 p.m., Clark was answering questions from Smith about that evening's presidential debate when a man with a beard moseyed into the camera's view, and threw a middle finger up for all to see. But it wasn't a straight-up bird drop. The man pretended to scratch his facial hair with his middle finger.
Then, as mysteriously as he arrived... he vanished into the crowd.
Media outlets have been feverishly searching for the Bird-Flipping Man. Who is he? Where did he come from?
But we at New Times have uncovered the identity of this true American hero.
He is, of course, Jake Katel, videographer for the Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.
"It was a joke, it was funny," says Katel. "I walked in with a definite liberal bias. I wanted to use their airwaves against them."
Some who witnessed the middle finger weren't too amused. "Some guy in a blue shirt was all pissed at what I did and threatened to throw me out," Katel says.
Katel was eventually escorted out by Lynn University security guards, and the cops were called. Police took him into a security area and told him Secret Service would be paying him a visit.
"The Secret Service lady who talked to me said I could get banned from media events for life," Katel recalls. "'That's how big the stakes are here,' she told me."
The Secret Service did allow Katel back into the media room, although they warned him they'd be watching him.
A representative for Fox News approached Katel demanding to know what media organization he worked for, and how he was allowed into the event in the first place and how he had managed to get back into the press area.
"I told him I worked for New Times," Katel says. "I told him Secret Service recognized my right as a member of the media to cover an event like this."
"I was allowed back in as long as I didn't do anything else stupid."
We're not sure how a middle finger is cause for national security or to be flagged by the Secret Service. But we can see why Fox News and their viewers would have their panties in a twist over it.
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