"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First Amendment Trampling Bloomberg Caves: NYPD Ordered to Let Press Do Its Job

Progress: The New York Times reports that NYPD has been ordered to keep its hands of the press, and not prevent reporters from covering news as it did when the cops evacuated Zuccotti Park.  In that shameful event, not only were the protesters unconstitutionally evicted (in violaton of the freedom to peaceably assemble clause of the First Amendment), and the media kept from covering the story (in violation of the freedom of press provision), but reporters were manhandled and arrested.

Bloomberg not only knew all about this, but the press was kept from Zuccotti that morning at his order.  His first statement after the clearing said everything that happened in the Zuccotti eviction was his responsibility and no one else's.  "Make no mistake," that statement said, "the final decision to act was mine."  And when people and the media began complaining about the press being prevented from covering the eviction, Bloomberg hid behind the excuse of all totalitarian governments, saying it was for reporters' own safety - "to protect members of the press".

Fortunately, Bloomberg listened to reason when, according to the NY Times, "A coalition of news organizations ... sent a letter complaining about the treatment ."  That's all to the good.

But Bloomberg should be impeached.   There's no guarantee he won't do something like that again.  New York City deserves a Mayor who has a less steep learning curve where the First Amendment is involved.  The city that never sleeps needs a Mayor who gets First Amendment right the first time around.

my interview of NY Night News about Bloomberg, OWS, the press

Occupy Wall Street Chronicles, Part 1


Joe in Missouri said...

Funny how the press whine about abuse but never applies the same standard to us mundanes....

Paul Levinson said...

Joe - I don't what press you're talking about. If, for example, you're talking about this blog as "press," I've been criticizing cops who attack peaceful protesters since the beginning of Occupy Wall Street and before - read some of the posts under the Occupy Wall Street label.

If you're about the press in general, then that's a poor statement, too - alternet.org, for example, has been very critical of cop misconduct about non-reporter protesters.

If you're talking about the mainstream media, then you do have a point - but you should specify that in your comment.