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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Video of Rancher Cliven Bundy’s Remarks on Race

As my colleague Adam Nagourney reports, on Saturday the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy veered away from his fight with the federal government to share his views on race, slavery and abortion in remarks to supporters and journalists at a news conference.

Mr. Bundy’s inflammatory comments about “the Negro” were caught on video streamed from the phone of a blogger who has been chronicling Mr. Bundy’s well-publicized standoff with the Bureau of Land Management to the website Bambuser.

Despite the video evidence, Mr. Bundy’s supporters suggested in a Facebook update on Thursday that his words had been “taken out of context,” as Oliver Willis pointed out in a blog post for the liberal group Media Matters for America.

Post by Bundy Ranch.

Follow Robert Mackey on Twitter @robertmackey.

American Journalist Released by Ukraine Separatists

Before he was taken prisoner by pro-Russia separatists on Sunday, the Vice News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky interviewed the self-appointed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine.

Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine released the American journalist Simon Ostrovsky on Thursday, three days after he was taken prisoner in the town of Slovyansk while filming a video report for Vice News. The Brooklyn-based news organization confirmed his release in a statement which was followed by a tweet from the correspondent.

Jean-François Bélanger, a correspondent for Canada’s state broadcaster, CBC reported on Twitter that Mr. Ostrovsky left the town a short time later in his company. The Vice News correspondent, he said, had been beaten and blindfolded when he was seized late Monday but later treated well.

Mr. Ostrovsky and his colleagues have produced a series of vivid YouTube dispatches for Vice News in recent weeks on the turmoil in Ukraine.

Shortly after the correspondent was released, Vice News published a video report filmed just before his detention in which he subjected Vyachislav Ponomaryov, a separatist who has appointed himself the new mayor of Slovyansk, to skeptical questioning. Mr. Ostrovksy, a former BBC and Al Jazeera reporter, appeared to unsettle the separatist leader by not accepting at face value his claim that a gun battle near the town over the weekend was an attack by right-wing ultranationalists from Kiev.

After he was taken hostage on Monday, his pro-Russian captors had seemed obsessed with the possibility that Mr. Ostrovsky, a New Yorker, might also hold an Israeli passport and accused him, improbably, of working as a spy for Ukrainian anti-Semites.

As Max Seddon reported for Buzzfeed, Russian state television even gave air time to the bizarre theory of Mr. Ponomaryov, who claimed that Mr. Ostrovsky was both an Israeli and an operative of the Right Sector, a Ukrainian nationalist movement routinely called anti-Semitic by Russian officials.

The State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denounced Russian state media for “pushing dangerous lies” about the “kidnapped U.S. citizen,” late Wednesday.

The journalist was released after Ukrainian forces said that they had relaunched an operation to regain control of towns in the east, and were filmed moving on a checkpoint set up recently by pro-Russia militants near Slovyansk as Russian forces massed just across the border.

Video said to show Ukrainian forces on Thursday at a checkpoint set up by pro-Russia militants.

Follow Robert Mackey on Twitter @robertmackey.