Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Media Blackout on Mayor Bloomberg's Raid on Zuccotti Park

Mayor Michael Bloomberg suspends the First Amendment. (photo: Andrew Burton/Reuters)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg suspends the First Amendment.

(photo: Andrew Burton/Reuters)

By Barbara Morrill, Daily Kos

15 November 11

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

hen New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stage a middle of the night raid on the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park, there was one thing he didn't want ... media coverage. So Bloomberg said screw the First Amendment:

New York Observer Politics Reporter Hunter Walker:

I was blocked from viewing nypd raid at #occupywallstreet along with reporters from cnbc, nbc, cbs, wsj and reuters #mediablackout

New York Times Reporter Brian Stelter:

I'm w/ a NY Post reporter who says he was roughed up by riot police as Zuccotti was cleared. He thinks violence was "completely deliberate."

Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson:

Cops just violently shoved me away as I tried to shoot this man in a stretcher being loaded into ambulance http://twitpic.com/7efa2v

And from the gothamist:

During our coverage of the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early this morning, a NPR reporter, a New York Times reporter, and a city councilmember were arrested. Airspace in Lower Manhattan was closed to CBS and NBC news choppers by the NYPD, a New York Post reporter was allegedly put in a "choke hold" by the police, a NBC reporter's press pass was confiscated and a large group of reporters and protesters were hit with pepper spray. According to the eviction notice, the park was merely "cleaned and restored for its intended use." If this is the case, why were so few people permitted to view it?

So what was the rationale behind Bloomberg's crackdown on a free media? It was to "protect" them ... apparently from freely exercising their First Amendment rights.

But why worry about the Constitution when you're busy ignoring a court order?

At 6:30AM this morning, following a midnight police raid evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park, Justice Lucy Billings issued an order requiring the protesters to be readmitted to Zuccotti Park with their tents. ThinkProgress just spoke to one of the plantiff's attorney's, Gideon Orion Oliver, who confirmed that the order was served on Mayor Bloomberg and the other defendants via fax at 7:50AM. During his 8AM press conference, Mayor Bloomberg seemed to acknowledge he was familar with the temporary restraining order, but claimed that he had not been served and was keeping the park closed. As of this writing, Zuccotti Park remains closed to protesters in direct contradiction of Justice Billing's order.

God bless Michael Bloomberg's version of America.

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