“Oh man they really got that kid” my mother said as we were watching CNN, well, more like my parents were watching it and I was laying on the floor reading comic books since I wasn’t even a teenager in 2007. Andrew Meyer, local columnist, and a respected, idealistic young journalist shot to overnight fame during what is commonly referred to as the “University of Florida Taser Incident.” You might not remember what happened at the University of Florida or even know who Andrew Meyer is, but I bet you might remember the online joke that became one of the first internet memes – don’t tase me bro!
Twelve years later, the man behind the meme (or under the taser) is out with his first tell-all book about what truly went down on that day that turned his reputation from reputable journalist to “student douchebaggery” as liberal comedian Jon Stewart called him. During a public speaking event held at the University of Florida, Meyer (at the time a Democrat) attended in order to ask Senator John Kerry several vital questions regarding the validity of the 2004 presidential election. As discussed in Meyer’s book, Don’t Tase Me Bro! Real Questions, Fake News, and My Life as a Meme, he elaborates on the controversy over the voting machines which were potentially responsible for thousands of miscounted votes that potentially turned the tide in the 2004 election in favor of President George W. Bush. Meyer contends that had Kerry not conceded the race as early as he had, the vote totals could have sent the country down a different course of history.
Sadly, many focused on what came after the question; Kerry, displeased with Meyer’s continued questioning in public, somehow resulted in a group of uniformed police officers attempting to forcibly remove Meyer from the venue. Without rhyme or reason, the cops (all of this footage is available online) accused Meyer of resisting arrest and tasered him in view of everyone, including those who videotaped the entire incident.
What happened to Meyer after he was thrown in a jail cell, before friends and family attempted to rescue him from the flawed justice system that threw him in there, is worth the sticker price of the book alone, but the media reaction to Meyer’s viral infamy is the true cautionary tale of what happens when a narrative is spun and the mainstream media apparatus runs with it.
Meyer spends a large chunk of the book describing how media pundits, cable network comedians, and reporters tried to turn his life upside down:
Many people in my generation immediately adopted the opinions of Jon Stewart and the other “comedians” on The Daily Show. When Stewart described my actions as “student douchebaggery” on The Daily Show, he turned a large portion of public opinion against me… At the time however, Stewart’s voice swayed many people, and he used his influence to portray my serious questions as “douchebaggery.”
On Fox News, I was public enemy number one immediately following my arrest. Bill O’Reilly called me the “biggest wimp in America,” and Greg Gutfeld grossly joked that I should be killed for saying the word “bro.” You would think with how much O’Reilly acts like he hates the Democrats, he would love seeing a college student call them out on their hypocrisy. Instead, O’Reilly called me “a bad guy,” and a “pinhead.”
As the story continues, Meyer further unfolds the era of his life where the news cycle either tried to force him to give the answers they wanted or just outright lied and made up statements attributed to him entirely. From the first page to the final chapter of this brief, yet succinct book, Meyer rips apart the internet and pop culture caricature the media turned him into and forces the reader to truly identify with his humanity.
Years later, Meyer continued to strive in investigative reporting by doing what most reporters and journalists avoid doing – asking questions and investigating stories in order to find the truth. From reporting news working with outlets ranging from We Are Change to The Gateway Pundit, to developing and producing content for mindset guru and commentator Mike Cernovich, Meyer has been emboldened, not defeated, by the media establishment which once tried to ruin his life by turning him into a joke.
A cautionary tale for those trying to shed light on issues hidden in darkness, “Don’t Tase Me Bro!” is a disturbing, but incredibly informative read which Americans of any political stripe can look at and glean real insight from. If anything, Meyer forces the reader to question what they know and wonder whether our institutions of news are really providing us the truth, or some manufactured version of it, in other words – fake news.
“Don’t Tase Me Bro! Real Questions, Fake News, and My Life as a Meme!” By Andrew Meyer is available on Amazon.