Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman is suing the Minneapolis and St. Paul Police departments over her arrest at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul Minnesota. This past week she visited the Twin Cities to be deposed by a police attorney. She is also suing federal authorities over the arrest. This weekend in Boston she described in graphic detail her arrest and the arrest of two of her co-workers, which according to Goodman was obviously aimed at silencing them.
“As they (the police) had a knee or boot in her back and her face was in the ground they were pulling on her leg which bloodied her face The first thing they did when her camera tumbled down was remove the battery, if you were wondering what it was they didn’t want her to do.”
Goodman and her co-workers were eventually freed after video of her arrest was distributed widely on the internet. She went back to the Republican National Convention and was interviewed by the other media. Goodman said one NBC reporter asked her “why wasn’t I arrested.”
“Were you covering the protest outside? asked Goodman. “He said ‘no’. And that’s the thing, I’m not being arrested in the skybox either.”
“Because democracy is a messy thing,” Goodman told journalists at the National Conference For Media Reform in Boston. “It’s our job to capture it all and we shouldn’t have to get a record when we try to put things on the record.”
When Goodman talked to St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington (Now State Senator Harrington) about the arrest, she said Harrington suggested to cover the convention Goodman and her co-workers could “embed” with a mobile police force.
“Is this what reporting has come to in this country? Are they using the model of how reporters embed themselves in the front lines of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as the way, as the model for how we should cover American cities, politics, celebrations of democracy like conventions are supposed to be? Is that what this has come to? Because the embedding process has brought the media to an all time low.
“If you look at what happens when you’re embedded in the front lines of troops, you’re sleeping with the soldiers, you’re eating with the soldiers, your life is in their hands. How do you expect you’re going to cover the war?
“If you’re going to have that kind of embedding you’re going to need reporters embedded in Iraqi hospitals and Afghan communities and the peace movement around the world to understand the full effects of war… You’re getting one perspective.
“The biggest problem is being embedded in the establishment here in this country. We have a special role to play.
“We need a media that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that is the fourth estate, not for the state.”