Did MSNBC Fence Itself Off from Ferguson Protesters?

by Andrew Johnson

Last week, freelance reporter Ryan Schuessler made some waves with a post titled “I Will Not Be Returning to Ferguson,” in which he listed the reasons why the media’s “appalling” behavior in the Missouri city. He was so disgusted that he left his gig with Al Jazeera America.

He had plenty of complaints about the media’s behavior, but one of Schuessler’s reasons stood out in particular:

Another [to-be-left-unnamed] major TV network renting out a gated parking lot for their one camera, not letting people in. Safely reporting the news on the other side of a tall fence.

Recalling the events of last week, I remembered the clip of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Craig Melvin dodging rocks thrown at them by protesters while on the air:

In the video, Hayes, Melvin, and the MSNBC crew are clearly in a fenced-off area, potentially a parking lot. Protesters are seen walking past the liveshot behind the fence throughout the broadcast, and a handful of them yell at Hayes while grabbing the fence.

Our own Ryan Lovelace, who was on the ground in Ferguson, confirms seeing cameras and television equipment in an inaccessible gated parking lot on the corner of West Florissant Avenue, the site of most of the demonstrations, and Canfield Drive, although he couldn’t tell who specifically was in the lot. Here’s a view of the lot from across the street on West Florissant, courtesy of Google Maps’ Street View:

“People are angry, man,” Hayes said during the rock-throwing episode. ”They’re really angry.” Maybe that was why the MSNBC crew needed a fence to keep them away?

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