Media Blog

Arrests: Being in the Media Doesn’t Give You Special Rights

Tired meme: “Most of the Protesters Were Peaceful.” And most people flying on airlines aren’t al-Qaeda hijackers. That’s one of the problems with criminals: They make life complicated for everybody else.But police have to respond to the people who are threatening life and destroying property. Unhappily, they first have to tread through the swamp of sanctimony that surrounds the American media:

Amy Goodman, the host of the popular radio and television program “Democracy Now!” was at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul on Monday, interviewing members of the Alaska delegation, when her phone rang with alarming news.
“I got a call that two of our producers had been bloodied by the police,” Goodman said. “I did not stop running until I got to where they were.”
The producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, had been reporting on the protest targeting the Republican convention that was unfolding several blocks away. Most of the estimated 10,000 people in the march were peaceful. But, according to police, a group of about 200 had fractured off and were breaking windows, slashing tires and harassing delegates.
… “I was very angry. This was a violation of my rights,” Goodman said. “But it’s so much bigger than us. When the press is shut down, it’s closing the eyes and ears of a critical watchdog in a democratic society.”

You know what else is a violation of one’s rights? Having your tires slashed and your windows broken.
Goodman pretty clearly interferes with the police in this video, running across the line after being instructed not to do so. A press badge isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. At the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, two photographers I worked with got caught trying to sneak around the feds to take pictures during the standoff. The feds were not amused, and the shooters are lucky they didn’t go to jail. Another photographer I worked with got arrested for misbehaving at a crime scene and spent time in the lockup. Being in the media doesn’t give you special rights.

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