Who are these self appointed politicos and event organizers who are convinced that THEY have the ability and the balls to deny the filming of public events just on their say so? As someone who has repeatedly been denied access and or challenged in my ‘right’ to be there to film and cover any public event (especially any political event) I have had just about enough of this crap!
As a Citizen Journalist and owner of my own Network I not only have every right to film a political event, I have a responsibility to cover that event. My only limitations are that I can’t be everywhere all the time. Does my lack of an official ‘Press Pass’ put me into some sort of journalistic Purgatory? If that is the case I know plenty of people for a few bucks will issue me one just by taking a simple ethics oath and affirmation. Does that NOW make me one of the Sneetches on the Beaches with stars upon thars?
Hell, for that matter I will just download some fancy card fonts, copy and paste my mug on the side of it, print it and laminate it… POOF! I am a journalist with a Press Pass.
Benjamin Franklin never had a Press Pass to my knowledge, nor did many of the early pamphleteers during the War of Independence. But you can bet your bottom dollar there were plenty of snoots out there urging the British Crown to arrest these muckrakers.
The same exists today with self appointed spooks who try to barge and intimidate people like me with false claims that “... the Press is not allowed at this event..”
Let me clue some of you twits in on some common knowledge.
It is called the First Amendment to our Constitution. The second is a little known Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that protects the right of the individual to film what is known as ‘plain sight’.. If it is in front of you and you do not interfere with the action, person, place or thing you can film it. Third there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when holding a public event. The key word here is ‘public’. If you don’t want cameras there then don’t call it a public event. Don’t advertise it on Social Media. Don’t send out a million mass e-bombs and then get all your panties in a twist when someone shows up with a camera.
While I am on the subject of cameras; Do you actually think that NO ONE is going to film? That NO ONE is going to record? That NO ONE will want a ‘selfie’ of themselves with the guest of honor? If you do then you need to follow the guidelines I have set in the previous paragraph.
However, if you do? Then be ready to have nothing but negative Press. Denying the First Amendment Right of the free flow of information and the Press casts a shadow over your event and organization and therefore you will draw more questions of why. Why did you deny coverage? What are you hiding? The ramifications will last longer and run deeper than some inadvertent comment being taken out of context and published in any medium.
The controlling of mass media is not a ‘Corporate’ problem alone. It is fomented by thin skinned handlers with a false sense of authority to deny coverage as well. During the last ‘public’ hearing on Bias and Race at Quinsig. College Walter Bird and Tom Quinn from Worcester Magazine, Gordon Davis from Incity and myself all covered the event and experienced the same cold shoulder from the ‘facilitators. You could not have four people with diametrically opposed political ideologies come to the same conclusion in our articles’ if we tried half as hard. Neither one of us spoke to each other during the event. Neither one of us collaborated on our articles yet we all came to the same conclusions which were: Who the hell do these people think they are shunning any publication of a taxpayer funded event?
At the Rand Paul event in Massachusetts a while back a good friend of mine had his Press Pass removed off his pocket clip by a handler and was told not to film. So, Rand Paul DOES NOT WANT press coverage at his events? That would make a far better story than anything Rand could say that might ( I emphasize, might) be used against him?
I have been tossed out of Charlie Baker events, Kate Campanele events. I get rejection e-mails all the time from candidates who do not want to be covered by Citizen Press. I have been trying to write about the Mass Republican Assembly schizm from last December but can get no one to speak publicly. I have tons of information “off the record” but I cannot divulge or write the story until someone comes forward publicly. What is worse is that I cannot get anyone from MARA to counter these ‘off the record” claims. MARA Spokeperson Brian Kennedy was supposed to call into my radio show last winter and was told last minute not to appear by his superiors within MARA.
All that these people are doing is cooking their own goose when the time comes to write the story. And that time is coming very soon.
The next time I get an earful from some dimwit at a public event telling me I cannot film I will file Civil Rights charges against any one responsible or complicit in the violation of my God given and Constitutionally secured rights to freedom of the Press.
…. And That Is The Diatribe….