Wednesday, February 1, 2012


It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you sit on or which side of this particular fight you are on -   If this doesn't outrage you, you might be more like "them" then you think. 

From the Huffington Post:

In a stunning break with First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice.

Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Gasland" was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing.

"It's an outrageous violation of the First Amendment," Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told HuffPost. "Here we've got an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and it's an important subject and the subject that he did his prior film on for HBO. And they put him in handcuffs and hauled him out of there. This is stunning."

"I found it ironic that there was not a flood of cameras there," noted Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). "There was the one camera and then before that, the ABC camera ... if you have a camera there to bring the issue home to the public, that's a good thing."

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost, “I have served in the House of Representatives since 1992, and I had the privilege of chairing the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. In all that time, I cannot recall a chair of any committee or subcommittee having ever ordered the removal of a person who was filming a committee proceeding and not being disruptive, whether or not that person was accredited. It is a matter of routine that all sorts of people photograph and record our proceedings. Most of them are not accredited. I cannot recall anyone questioning their right to be there."

Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU in Washington, explained that "congressional committees routinely allow professional journalists to record hearings even when they don't have official press credentials, and excluding a journalist because he doesn't share the political views of the committee chair is outrageous. The Supreme Court has explained many times that censorship based on viewpoint is the clearest kind of First Amendment violation, and that seems to be what happened here."

Read the developing story and Josh Fox's response on the Huffington Post.  What was the charge?  Unlawful Entry.  To a public meeting??  How's that? 

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