As the NYPD removed Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, they effectively created a media-free bubble around the action, pushing reporters out of view and clearing the airspace of news helicopters.
While there were plenty of reports of police aggression against demonstrators, as well as members of the media, many journalists were unable to provide first-hand accounts of the clashes because they were so far away.
“Reporters were unable to independently verify reports of police aggression inside the park at a certain point because police had pushed the media so far back,” WNBC’s Chris Glorioso told viewers this morning after covering the early morning raid.
Like many local journalists, Glorioso attempted to get a comment from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who was directing the operation on the ground. But Kelly ignored the press until a morning news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
WCBS’s news chopper was in the air at 1:00 a.m., grabbing video as the raid began. According to WCBS reporter Kristin Thorne, though, “it wasn’t too long before police told us we had to evacuate the air space.”
The hashtag #mediablackout quickly spread on Twitter as journalists, barred from the area around the park, expressed their frustration at the NYPD’s strong arm tactics.
In his press conference this morning, Bloomberg explained that police were trying “to protect members of the press.”