Huppenthal is still the same deer in the headlights

by David Safier

I posted a few days ago about Senator and Ed Supe candidate Huppenthal being taken to school by some high school journalists who had done their homework and asked him questions he wasn't prepared for. That he showed such disrespect for the people who he wants to oversee as Ed Supe is stunning. The excellent work the students did is an affirmation of the fact that lots of the best stuff that goes on in our schools can't be measured by standardized testing.

Yesterday, commenter Mandy said the video I posted had been doctored and cited a TV 12 News report as proof. She called it a Democratic dirty trick.

Since I don't like to be played by Democrats or anyone else, I checked the news story, ready to post a correction if necessary. But only the slightest correction is necessary. My story stands. Huppenthal looks like a deer in the headlights in the interview, and the news folks get it mostly wrong when they said the video was edited to make Huppenthal look bad.

The TV 12 news report says "a high school journalism student gets the best of Huppenthal," and "the candidate may be regretting he didn't know the answers." Even Huppenthal admits they were prepared and he wasn't. So those statements validate what I wrote.

But the story gets it mostly wrong when it says the video I posted was "edited to embarrass the Senator."

The version I posted takes the Huppenthal portion of the student's story and leaves out the rest, but it shows that entire portion unedited. The original version ends the Huppenthal interview portion with him walking out, just like the shorter version. The only thing the shorter video did is add a written intro, then a written finish which says Huppenthal didn't return.

Did he return? I don't know. The original version doesn't say. Huppenthal says he returned. If he did, then the original story didn't make that clear, and the shortened version was definitely incorrect on that point.

But regardless, Huppenthal looked — let's face it — like an idiot. The walking out was inconsequential, nothing more than an exclamation point on an interview that didn't really need one.

Keith Wagner, the student in the story, knows whether Hupp returned to answer more questions, I don't.

Keith, if you happen to see this, I would appreciate your giving us the answer in the comments, or you can email me at And if you're reading this, I want you to know, this old high school English teacher, who advised the school yearbook for a number of years, loved the intelligence and diligence you showed putting that piece together. I know how much hard work went into it. And I want to add, though you're clearly an exceptional young man, you are one of many exceptional students out there. People who put down our schools and the young people who attend them need to understand: exceptional work by exceptional students, taught by caring and often exceptional teachers, is not unusual. Wonderful things are happening in our schools on a regular basis.

Here is the original video as Wagner and the others working with him put it together.

0 responses to “Huppenthal is still the same deer in the headlights

  1. If you read this, David, I am a student who was in the same class as Keith. Huppenthal did return, and he finished the interview, signed the release forms, and we were on our way. He left the room, however, while still mic’d and was overheard speaking to his colleagues through our cameraman’s headset, saying things along the lines of “It was a trap, what do I say?” And he returned about 10-15 minutes later. We were not allowed to use the conversations he had while outside of the room because he technically was not in the interview at that point in time, and the release forms would not cover anything he said outside the room. Unfortunately the 12 news segment was very poor quality because it made the senator look as if he forgot the answers, rather than the fact that he froze up because he was caught in a lie.

    Anyways, I hope this clears it up. I am not Keith, but I’m guessing he’s still busy answering e-mails after his youtube videos got so many hits.

  2. davewave64,

    I agree. What is most worrisome though is the people of Dist. 20 voted this guy into office for over 17 years. No wonder the public educational system in AZ is a mess. I will weep for our children if he get elected and for our system of laws if the judge does not throw him off the ballot on Friday.

  3. David,

    It’s not the editing that makes him look bad. What did he think was going to happen in this interview? The kid is a CTE student studying Journalism. Did he really think the kid was going to fawn over him and ask him softball questions like “So, what’s it like to serve in the legislature?” That in itself is an indictment of his intelligence and character.

    The kid had a legitimate beef with the Senator. And he nailed him.

    I think this high school kid could do a better job as School Superintendent than John Huppenthal.