After delays due to tropical storm Gustof, the Republican Party has kicked off its 2008 Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mainstream media has been covering the convention with emphasis on satellite interviews with George W. Bush and speeches from the likes of Laura Bush and Joe Lieberman. Another focus has been vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s familial controversy, including her daughter’s teen pregnancy, her own 4 month old child, and her abuse of political power in attempting to fire her sister’s ex-husband. However, there is one important story at the Republican National Convention that mainstream media has refused to address. Hundreds of protesters, including photographers and journalists have been arrested and charged with felonies by police and FBI officials in riot gear. Among the arrested include Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke and Democracy Now! journalists Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar, who were covering the riots. Check out this footage from Salazar’s violent arrest:
More than 280 people have been arrested in St. Paul since the opening day of the Republican National Convention. Among them have been several journalists, photographers, health care workers and lawyer observers. Arrests actually started before the convention, as the local sheriff in St. Paul initiated several preemptive raids against would-be protesters, in coordination with the FBI. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and concussion bombs on the crowd and arrested journalists who were covering the protests in the streets. Dozens of protesters have been released but nearly half of the detainees have been slapped with the felony charge “probable cause for riot.” When I was watching C-SPAN this morning and a caller asked why the arrests hadn’t been addressed, the corespondent answered: “anyone can pick up a camera and call themselves the press. It wasn’t worth our time.”
Folks, this is why we need our own media outlets. Church.