I'm pretty disgusted with all the faux outrage over rights of reporters being expressed by the right and some mainstream media outlets in response professor Melissa Click's attempts to give the protesters at University of Missouri some space. Yes, reporters have first amendment rights, but they do not have a blank check to go anywhere at any time.
Here's the video that has gone viral.
I can relate to the way the journalists were rebuffed because it happened to me. But I handled it differently.
Back when the Occupy Wallstreet movement was actually occupying, I went to six or seven different occupation locales, as a journalist.
I'd check in with the media/communications team to find out what was going on and just to let them know they were getting friendly coverage.
Most of the time the occupy media people were friendly.
But some of occupy media people at some locales were suspicious of journalists. There was a lot of negative coverage happening and they didn't want journalists monitoring their planning meetings.
I was interested in all the different processes and things going on. For example, I did a number of interviews for my radio show, for example:
I sat in on a training for facilitators of meetings and spent plenty of time in media tents.
But I was asked a few times to leave when there some planning meetings. I left. It was that simple.
Think about how the press is kept out of all kinds of meetings by big organizations. It's routine. Security guards, even the police are used. In Ferguson, the police arrested and charged journalists. Journalists have been arrested around presidential nominating convention locales, including Democracy Now's Amy Goodman who was Arrested with her cameraman at the RNC
convention in 2008.
The thing is, protesters are out in public space. Does that mean that any reporter can get in their face? Is it okay for a reporter to walk in the middle of a pickup touch football game being played by in a city park? Is it okay for a reporter to start walking alongside of a couple deep in conversation walking along a city lake or riverfront? How about a reporter invading the space of two moms supervising three or four kids playing in a playground, getting up close, talking to the kids?
I don't think so. Some of those intrusions might even warrant calling the police.
Some reporters today are incredibly aggressive. They get in the face of people with a camera crew and try to evoke emotional responses. They even do it with members of congress. I've seen it. Fox news hacks are notorious for their obnoxious perseverance, acting like paparazzi.
There are limits to what is reasonable. Is it okay for a reporter to doorstep the spouse of a plane crash victim? It's legal and it's done. That doesn't make it right and doesn't make it good journalism.
Even in public spaces groups of people have some rights to be left alone. It is not surprising that Fox News, one of the worst offenders in the use of harassing, in-your-face aggressive... I won't call it reporting... camera operations... is now attacking someone who stood up for a group of activists right to some space.
We live in times when privacies are being stripped away, where even new video equipment spies on the viewer
. There's little room left for private citizens to tell police to leave them alone, even when they've done nothing wrong. The cop culture allows cops to get away with murder if you just piss them off.
While I totally support freedom of the press, I also believe that people are allowed to have some iota of privacy, and that activists and protesters, on publicly owned land, are still allowed some modicum of space where they are not assaulted journalistically.
What do you think?
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