Friday, May 04, 2007

 

Epiphany of the Day

I was dumbfounded. I've covered riots. I've covered chaos. I was never hit or struck or humiliated the way the LAPD violated me yesterday. —Patricia Nazario, reporter for KPCC, as quoted by Anna Gorman and Stuart Silverstein in "Police action on journalists at melee is assailed"

Members of the media elite are outraged by Tuesday's police riot in L.A., and there's no doubt that the forces suppressing dissent and the coverage of dissent are growing bolder—

Other members of the media who were injured included four employees of KVEA-TV Channel 52, a KTTV-TV Channel 11 news reporter who suffered a minor shoulder injury, a camerawoman who has a broken wrist and a reporter for KPCC-FM (89.3) who was bruised by a police baton.

In the 60s and 70s, the police at least had the good sense not to go after the press. Nowadays we see more and more instances where the police act against members of the media without any meaningful consequence.

But the press of today has shown itself to be such a friend of authority that the police may be genuinely surprised when they meet resistance. And truth be told, there probably won't be much. After all, the LA police were already nominally required to honor a 2002 settlement by which they would "recognize journalists' right to cover public protests even if there is a declaration of unlawful assembly and an order to disperse."

It's also notable that, at least in the reports I've read, media personnel have been far more concerned for their own rights than for the rights of the protestors they came to cover. It has yet to occur to most of them that their well-buttered bread may have been buttered on the wrong side.

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