“The press is the enemy.” ~Richard M. Nixon
“And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants” — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.” ~JFK (April 27, 1961) (See second video below).
Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter reported early Wednesday morning:
Journalists have been increasingly targeted at Occupy protests, especially during police operations to evict occupations. The eviction of Occupy Wall Street featured a number of egregious incidents, where NYPD not only did not allow the press to cover the eviction but arrested reporters and photographers for being on the scene. In fact, the day was the worst day for members of the press since Occupy Wall Street began.
An NYPD inspector took a press badge from an NBC4 reporter. Only credentialed press were permitted to stand on the sidewalk in front of Zuccotti. However, CNN’s Poppy Harlow reported via Twitter the police were not letting press through to Occupy Wall Street protesters. According to New York Observer reporter Hunter Walker, CNBC, NBC, CBS, Wall Street Journal and Reuters reporters were all blocked from viewing the raid.
The air space over Zuccotti Park (which the occupiers renamed Liberty Square) was closed to all news helicopters. Both the NBC and CBS news choppers were grounded.
This tale of aggression has ‘occupied’ the airwaves for the past twenty-four hours as police under Mayor Bloomberg got the go ahead to ignore a temporary restraining order and dismantle and arrest occupiers that resisted police orders to leave. This coordinated event coincided with numerous attempts by other cities to end the occupy movement.
Journalists and others lit up Twitter with claims of media blackouts and physical aggression by the NYPD as the police continued to empty Zuccotti Park of all protestors and media, alike. Mayor Bloomberg responded at a press conference that it was done to prevent an escalation of injuries and specifically “to protect members of the press.” Numerous news outlets and bloggers reported journalists were being arrested along with protestors including city councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.
The following video was uploaded to YouTube by protestors attempting to get the word out of the dismantling of Zuccotti Park and the role played by the NYPD. At approximately the 5 minute mark an interaction between the NYPD and a member of the press takes place with the reporter asking where the press should stand. He was sent on his way with other protestors and the video continues showing journalists, with identification passes, and camera operators being pushed to the street.
The lessons we have been taught tell us, the public, that when any power steps in and takes away the freedom of our press to do their jobs, we become a secret society controlled by few. President Kennedy, on April 27, 1961, addressed newspaper publishers about how this secrecy is repugnant to “a free and open society” and must not be permitted. We, the People, must not allow our Press to be Occupied by those trying to shut down the Occupy Movement.