Late last night, Michael Bloomberg ordered Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests, to be cleared. This was a huge story for the various journalists assembled there, but that old saying “freedom of the press” was tossed out the window by the NYPD.
According to the New York Times, there were many journalists barred from covering the eviction, and some were even dealt with physically. Josh Harkinson, a writer for the website Mother Jones, said he was “violently shoved,” another reported that it “was getting scary” and a New York Post journalist was allegedly “in a choke-hold,” according to NY1’s Lindsey Christ. Animal New York added that last night it witnessed a NBC reporter having his press credentials taken away by police, and The New York Daily News just had a reporter arrested.
The New York Observer was also kept from the covering the incident. When a reporter got to question Bloomberg about why the press was kept away, he said, “The Police Department routinely keeps members of the press off to the side when they are in the middle of a police action. It’s to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect the members of the press.”
Bloomberg’s heavy-handed — and probably illegal — actions are enough to make us question where, exactly, it is that we live. Protestors attacked, then evicted, by police? A mayor that orders a media blackout of the subsequent eviction of the protestors? That doesn’t sound like America to us. But then maybe we’ve been hearing the wrong things all along.