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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Journalists and Police Violence

Laura Hazard Owen at Nieman Lab:
As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country one week after a white police officer allegedly murdered a black man, George Floyd, it’s becoming clear that attacks by police on journalists are becoming a widespread pattern, not one-off incidents. While violence against press-credentialed reporters covering the protests may still be dwarfed by violence against the American citizens who are protesting, incidents are piling up — and are getting more attention in part because the journalists being attacked include those from large mainstream news organizations.
A number of efforts are underway to try to track the attacks on journalists, which are often first documented on Twitter. Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters had documented 138 incidents by 12:20 PM ET on Wednesday afternoon (#101 occurred outside the White House, when federal law enforcement attacked a group of protestors and journalists with tear gas, allowing the president a clear path to walk to a photo opportunity in which he held a Bible in front of St. John’s Church.) ...
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker counts 233 total press freedom violations, which it categorizes like this. Most of the documented violations have taken place in Minneapolis.
Scott Rosenberg at Axios:
In the 1960s, television news footage brought scenes of police turning dogs and water cannons on peaceful civil rights protesters in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama into viewers' living rooms.
  • The TV coverage was moving in both senses of the word.
In 1991, a camcorder tape shot by a Los Angeles plumber named George Holliday captured images of cops brutally beating Rodney King.
  • In the pre-internet era, it was only after the King tape was broadcast on TV that Americans could see it for themselves.
Over the past decade, smartphones have enabled witnesses and protesters to capture and distribute photos and videos of injustice quickly — sometimes, as it's happening.
  • This power helped catalyze the Black Lives Matter movement beginning in 2013 and has played a growing role in broader public awareness of police brutality.
Between the lines: For a brief moment mid-decade, some hoped that the combination of a public well-supplied with video recording devices and requirements that police wear bodycams would introduce a new level of accountability to law enforcement.