The excessive police response to the uprising in Furguson shocked the country and the world. Militarized police are treating the public as an enemy that needs to be controlled and suppressed—hardly what most Americans believe to be the function of local police.
Along with the abusive and aggressive treatment of peaceful protestors, the police are deliberately targeting journalists, or anyone with a camera or cell phone, in a systematic effort to conceal police actions from public view.
As the ACLU described it in a recent article, “Police repeatedly ordered protesters to turn off cameras and cell phones recording law enforcement. Roving SWAT teams raided a McDonald’s and arrested two journalists engaged in the suspicious act of recharging their phones. Police aimed tear gas canisters directly at members of the press. A local news crew caught police riding up afterwards and disassembling another crew’s media equipment.”
Even the Federal Aviation Administration aided in the coverup by declaring a no-fly zone over the city so that TV news helicopters couldn’t show what was happening.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated instance of the government trying to control media coverage. It is a further extension of the growing pattern of intimidation and harassment of journalists that has been accelerating since 9/11.
Along with the government’s obsession with keeping what it does as secret as possible, we are seeing reporters threatened with prosecution for publishing stories that the government doesn’t like, including James Risen of the New York Times, who may end up in prison for not revealing a confidential source, and Glenn Greenwald who reported on the Ed Snowden leaks for the Guardian.
–David Kasper & Wendy White