Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Franchises on the Move
Next story: News of the Weird

Ian Murphy: Journalist / Prankster

Get to know a Buffalonian...

Ian Murphy: Journalist / Prankster

Murphy, editor-in-chief of the satire website Buffalo Beast, made national news last month when he posed as industrialist and right-wing overlord David Koch and placed a call to union-embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker—and taped the call and the revelations that followed for posterity. Now Murphy is back and with greater ambitions. On March 23, Murphy officially declared his intention to run as the Green Party candidate for the recently vacated (for reasons referred to in the photo above) 26th District Congressional seat. You can read more about his campaign and platforms at

How would you classify your call to Scott Walker, gonzo journalism or purely satire? Is this aggressive style of journalism something we can expect more of from the Beast in the future?

I call it undercover reporting. It was only “gonzo” because I was part of the story, but that was a matter of necessity, not style. The BEAST will not do / aggressive journalism / Now we pen haiku.

Why did you choose to emulate Koch? What is it about his politicking that you find the most dangerous?

Emulate? No. Sorry to be a pedant, but that’s a little scary. Impersonate? Because the Kochs finance every twisted thing you can imagine—from the Tea Party and Cato to Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. The most dangerous thing they promote is climate change denial—if I have to choose.

Did you research or listen to tape of David Koch’s voice prior to making your call? How confident were you that you would be successful in duping the governor?

I knew what he sounded like, yet my impersonation was poor. I had little confidence that I’d actually speak to Walker, but once he was on the phone, his giddy tone told me the dupe was on.

Do you believe progressive interests would benefit from adapting James O’Keefe style tactics against right-wing politics?

No. Your question implies that O’Keefe and I employ similar techniques. We do not. We both use undercover deception to obtain raw data, but O’Keefe edits his data to fit his conservative narrative, regardless of the truth. I’d never do that, nor should any progressive, for we’re in the truth business.

Has the media attention from the call trumped that from the Tom Cruise lawsuit thus far?

We’ve never received an interview request from Artvoice before, so I’d say yes.

bonus: Will you be the Green candidate for the 26th district special election and if so, what are you hoping to accomplish by running for congress?

Yes. Well, I’m hoping to win, of course! Short of that, the goal is to bring up important issues the other four candidates don’t have the sense or ovaries to talk about—like slashing the military budget and taxing the shit out of billionaires. You can read more about those issues at

bonus: The suburban 26th is about as reliably red as you can get. Short of dramatic redistricting (which may or may not occur), what would it take for the politics of the district to change?

Great question. I’m not entirely sure. It’s my hope that people are finally starting to get that the Republicans are a bunch of lying crooks who only represent the interests of the super wealthy. It’s also my hope that they get that the Democrats don’t offer a true opposition, and the 26th skips blue on the color wheel and goes straight to Green.

bonus: Can we expect to see the tranny-hawk himself (Chris Lee) grace the ranks of your “50 Most Loathsome People” this year? Why do you believe he would deserve to be on that list?

Possibly. Trolling for transsexuals on Craigslist is quite possibly Lee’s most honorable accomplishment. The hypocrisy of these “family values” types is just a given at this point, and I don’t think he was in office long enough to legislate his way onto the list. At this point, whether there’s room for him depends on the future actions of Charlie Sheen.

blog comments powered by Disqus