The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

DemocracyNow producer arrested again in St Paul!

with 20 comments

Demonstrator in St. Paul

Demonstrator in St. Paul

“You shouldn’t be here!” said the police to the people with cameras and press badges.

“Why not?” one wonders. More that 800 people were arrested this week during the Republican National Convention, including dozens of journalists doing nothing but filming.

Now why would riot police arrest people with television equipment and press passes, throwing them to the ground and cuffing their wrists behind them?  Is this Beijing?

clipped from
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: [I]t really was a big show of force by the police. You saw these snow plows … a lot of horses, a lot of policemen on bicycles. And they kept blocking each bridge. And the march would move on. They’d block the bridge …
They threw a lot of concussion grenades, a lot of smoke bombs, pepper spray, some teargas …the police basically corralled everyone onto the Marion Street bridge, about 200 people. As soon as we were on the bridge, we realized that we were trapped …
[T]his was a very non-confrontational group of people who were doing this march … They never pushed the cops … They never did anything like that …
I had my Democracy Now! press pass and my RNC pass … we’re sitting amongst a group of about maybe six or eight other camera people, sound people, clearly all press. … I said, “I’m a journalist. I’m press. I’m here filming.” … He goes, “Well, you shouldn’t be here. You should have dispersed.” He arrested me … I told him, “You’ve been telling me to disperse since 5:00 … [if we had left] there would be no press for four hours of this march…
blog it

And one can only imagine what might have happened then.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury


Written by Monte

September 6, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Politics

20 Responses

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  1. Jack Daniels or Jim Beam?


    September 19, 2008 at 4:42 pm

  2. Actually, after reading your drivel, I could use a drink…


    September 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm

  3. Honestpoet, ur just another example of the left wing intolerance that your side preaches about the right wing. Extremism is extremism, regardless of what side it comes from.
    I’m not a good singer, I may look like a pig, but I ain’t irritated at all. I think you are the one who got ur shorts in a binder.
    Good thing that koolaid ya’ll drinkin aint’ spiked!

    Monte Says: Paul, you’re going to have to do better than this if you want to comment here. Several people have given you facts and examples and you’ve responded with none. If you want to talk about the facts of a situations, you’re welcome. But if you want to rail about how bad this or that is, without citing any sources or offering any evidence, or if you have no interest in responding factually to the evidence people give that suggests your positions may not be correct, this is not the place you’re looking for, and I’ll remove your comments.

    Light, friend – not heat.


    September 19, 2008 at 3:53 pm

  4. Since everyone’s been enjoying pig metaphors lately, here’s another:

    Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It just frustrates you and irritates the pig.

    (Yes, Paul is the pig in this scenario, and “singing” stands for using reason instead of simply regurgitating propaganda and ignoring facts.)

    One of the old Zen dudes said that concourse with fools serves no point. I’m beginning to understand why.


    September 19, 2008 at 1:59 pm

  5. I bring pictures and video and all you have is kool-aid. Wow, that is weak.


    September 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm

  6. Ralfast, ya’ll drinkin too much of the left wing kool-aid.


    September 19, 2008 at 10:42 am

  7. Case in point, Fox News crews “embedded” with the riot police:


    September 19, 2008 at 10:28 am

  8. You can’t win an argument against those who believe that might makes right. None law breakers go to jail, yet illegal activity is dismissed as “much ado about nothing”.

    It is all about the tribe. The dirty pinko commie leftist are not part of the tribe, they are a threat to it and must be dealt accordingly. Members of the tribe on the other hand, can do no wrong.


    September 19, 2008 at 10:25 am

  9. 1) Obama never promised to take matching money. This is McCain propaganda. Obama said he hoped to meet with the eventual nominee and work out an agreement on it, which was abandoned about the time suit was filed against McCain with the FEC. This lie really does deserve to be squelched.
    2) In you’re standing in the mall, you don’t have to be there – it isn’t your job – no public purpose is served by your presence – there is no benefit to society. It is Amy Goodman’s job, the AP reporters jobs, and the dozens of others covering the event who were arrested (including reporters from the Daily Iowan, just 30 miles from me here in Iowa). It is as important to a free society that the media are there as it is that the police are there. Unless we know what happens, unless it is documented, justice can’t be guaranteed. If the police are ethical and the crowd is not, the police have nothing to fear: the camera is their friend (which is why they have them on police cars) – and vice versa.
    3) Amy Goodman does cover a certain type of news interesting to a certain group of people. Only one time have I ever seen her make a mistake, and that was quickly corrected. So enough with the put-downs. Nothing wrong with disagreeing, but she provides a niche service that is valuable, ethical, and award-winning. It’s a bit ignorant to bash and bash it. Her coverage is selective, but it is not inaccurate or distorted. You may not like that; fine, but unless you have examples of bias distorting a story, have the integrity to stop the catcalls.


    September 17, 2008 at 11:37 pm

  10. Wonder if Amy is covering her fellow left wingers at the $28,500 per plate bash at Barbara Streisand’s? I don’t think she’ll have to worry about the Hollywood police arresting her there.
    Who needs federal matching money (which Obama promised to take), when you have friends like that?
    Just more left wing hypocrisy.


    September 17, 2008 at 10:12 am

  11. The fact that you aren’t willing to question police whim doesn’t mean that no one else has a right to, if they’re courageous enough.


    September 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

  12. If I am at the local mall, and a policeperson tells me to move away from a particular area, I leave. I’m not breaking any laws, but the police ask me to leave. I don’t argue with them, but I obey and leave. If I don’t leave, then I’m breaking the law. Yes, I suppose I have the right to be there. But the police have a responsibility to preserve order for the public good.
    The police told these reporters to leave. Even Amy said this. “You folks are not to be here”, said the police. So what do the reporters do? They disobey the police and hang around.
    I don’t get your argument at all.


    September 16, 2008 at 9:12 am

  13. Paul, you wrote: “Our nation was founded on a free press. But the press doesn’t have any right to disobey the law.” Fair enough.

    Here’s a report during the RNC:

    Among the dozens caught up in the police sweep were two Associated Press reporters on assignment to cover the event. They were issued a citation and detained, along with more than a dozen other members of the media…”

    Back to your thought: “the press doesn’t have any right to break the law.” These people broke no law! They are professionals, doing just as the Constitution provides… If you argue that the police have the right to tell them to “scram,” you argue that the police have the authority to suspend the Constitutional freedoms of individuals who have committed no crime, and who are, in fact, protected by law. You argue that the Constitution holds less authority than a local police officer. Freedom of the press is subject to police whim.

    Are we free only when government has no objection? Everybody in the whole world has that. It is no freedom at all.


    September 15, 2008 at 9:20 pm

  14. You are exactly right when you say that our opinions of Amy or her views is irrelevant. Personally, I feel she has an agenda, which she is free to have. But to portray herself as an objective and unbiased journalist is just plain nonsense.
    I DON’T advocate tossing journalists in jail. I never said I did. What I did say is that if the police said to scram, then she, and any other journalist had an obligation to obey the police. I have not seen one shred of evidence from any respected news service that claims the police acted improperly, nor illegally. Our nation was founded on a free press. But the press doesn’t have any right to disobey the law.
    I never hear Amy’s site state anything of the destruction of property by the protestors, the plots about kidnapping delegates, plots to storm the convention hall, and the other illegal activities by some protestors. It’s all about the poor lawbreakers being victims. We have a sacred right to assembly in America, but not the right to destroy property, nor break the law.
    Intolerance unfortunately exists on the left and the right. I feel honestpoet’s statements were filled with intolerance.


    September 15, 2008 at 10:04 am

  15. She has a point, Paul, in this regard: While what either of us thinks of Amy Goodman may be irrelevant, freedom of the press is a hallmark of American Constitutional freedom – and it is the Constitution that your comments spurn.

    How ironic that you advocate tossing a journalist in jail (who’s inquiring about illegal police activity), while you accuse others of Nazi-like intolerance!

    Neither Honest Poet nor I are advocating locking people up. Yet you do – and mainly because you disapprove of Goodman’s political views. And you suggest we are fascisistic!


    September 14, 2008 at 10:15 pm

  16. You clearly don’t understand what the word fascist means. The extreme left has a socialist agenda, not a fascist one. That’s the domain of the extreme right. Fascism is by definition the marriage of government and industry, and that’s exactly what the Republicans and too many Democrats have been cooperating with for over a 100 years.

    No one who studies journalism actually imagines that media is unbiased. Any choice of content betrays a bias. What’s important is that the truth is told, without censorship. And certainly without arrest and bullying by the police. You, sir, by endorsing the bullying of Ms. Goodman, are much more akin to the intolerant Nazis than I, by far.


    September 14, 2008 at 9:10 pm

  17. This intolerance from the left is killin me. Ms. Goodman wouldn’t pass the test for unbiased journalism in any classroom.
    “Fancies himself as an American”…..honestpoet, you remind me of the fascist intolerance in Nazi Germany in the 30’s. You have bought into the fascist agenda of the extreme left.


    September 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm

  18. It saddens me that you should have to justify Ms. Goodman’s work to someone who fancies himself an American. The freedom of the press is one of the rights our founders considered important enough to protect in the first amendment. Anyone who actually understands what the press is supposed to be doing should find Ms. Goodman’s treatment, and the treatment of the rest of the arrested journalists, horrifying.


    September 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

  19. Hi Paul, interesting thoughts.
    1. “Shouldn’t be there?” Why was the police officer there? It was his job. Why were reporters there? It’s their job.
    2. “Biased?” If you read the Sporting News, do you expect coverage of Wall Street? ‘Course not. Sporting News is an unbiased publication that focuses on a certain kind of news. Amy Goodman – who has won awards for covering horrific war zones (she knows what she’s doing) – focuses on stories that impact the the freedoms of little people to have a voice (hence the title: DemocracyNow!). Like Sporting News, like Financial Times, like your local newspaper, her content is focused. But focused content doesn’t mean biased coverage. She makes no pretense of being a general news outlet.
    3. Mainstream media? An ABC journalist was among those arrested.
    4. Where are most MSMs? Once the word spreads that the police are grabbing folks on the street and throwing them in jail, most reporters find a convenient reason to stay indoors – nobody wants to be thrown to the ground and arrested. That is exactly the intent, IMHO, of reporter harassment before and during the RNC – to intimidate media into not filming police conduct.
    5. Those harassed most egregiously were members of I-Witness, a video group that focuses on filming police conduct. About 400 cases were impacted in NYC after the last RNC in 2004. The police were lying about what had happened, and I-Witness had the truth on tape. I’m sure some cops would like nothing better than for journalists to leave.
    6. Here’s the point: When laws are fair and people are not breaking the law (and these demonstrations were mostly well-behaved and respectful), the police are obligated to protect the people demonstrating, not to haul them off to jail. We are not unfortunate Chinese, whisked off to jail for unfurling a “Free Taiwan” banner – and our Constitution is the difference. Unless we are more committed to the US Constitution than we are hacked off by whoever’s getting busted, welcome police state. Journalists of courage prevent that from happening. The fact that Amy Goodman has a right to tell the truth means that you have that right. You can’t have one without the other.
    7. Stand up for the Constitution, Paul. Freedom depends on it. It’s what makes our country great. We have a right to free speech. A right to assemble and make our views known, left or right. And no policeman has the right to over-rule it without mighty good cause.


    September 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  20. “You shouldn’t be here”….any logical person would leave. I’m gettin tired of this victim BS. Amy Goodman belongs in jail!
    I have a question: Aren’t journalists supposed to be non-biased and just report the news? Amy clearly has a left wing agenda. To me, she’s not a journalist. I don’t see any CBS, NBC, ABC, Foxnews, MSnbc, or Cnn journalists in jail.
    Go figure.


    September 9, 2008 at 5:50 pm

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