Journalists have been attacked around the world for years reporting protests, but never like this week in the United States during George Floyd’s protests.
At least half a dozen cases of arrests and attacks have been reported this weekend in protests in the United States. Some were high-profile, such as the live on-air arrest of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew on Friday morning. Others have received less attention, like Los Angeles times Reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske is pelted with rubber bullets and tear gas or the two Los Angeles times Photographers who were briefly detained.
To all black journalists: see you, we support you
WAVE TV reporter Kaitlin Rust, who reported protests on Saturday evening in Louisville, was shot live with pepper bullets on the air. The video showed a policeman aiming directly at her and her crew. “I was shot! I was shot!” Rust, who was wearing a fluorescent vest, a microphone and standing in front of a camera, can be heard screaming. The police later apologized for the incident.
A crew in Denver tweeted after the police attacked them with paintballs and tear gas. “Fortunately I crouched down,” wrote one of the journalists. The video journalist who filmed the protests was not so lucky and was beaten.
Anti-Trump protesters outside the White House turned to Fox News journalist Leland Vittert, who told the Associated Press: “We did well. The protesters stopped protesting whatever they protested and turned against us, and that was a very different feeling. “
Briana Whitney, a reporter in Phoenix, was attacked in the air and tweeted: “THIS IS NOT OK. This is the moment when this man intentionally attacked me while I was on the air to report what happened during the protest at Phoenix PD headquarters. I feel hurt and that was terrifying. Let’s do our job. We give our best. “
KDKA television journalist Ian Smith said he was attacked when he reported protests in Pittsburgh. “They stamped and kicked me,” he wrote under a photo of him on the back of an ambulance. “I am hurt and bloody but alive. My camera was destroyed. Another group of demonstrators pulled me out and saved my life. Thank you!”
Journalists have been attacked in the United States, but not nearly as often or as brutally as this weekend. Speak with The Washington PostSuzanne Nossel, managing director of PEN America, blamed Trump for hostility to the press. “By disparaging journalists so often, he has reduced respect for what journalists do and the vital role they play in a democracy,” she said. “He has contributed remarkably effectively to this upside-down feeling that journalists are the opposition.”
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