Thursday, February 2, 2012


Gassed Off

“WASHINGTON — In a stunning break with First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. . . .

“‘This is not transparency,’ [said film director Josh Fox]. ‘This is a lockout and it’s bad. It’s the people’s House, after all. We went through the proper channels to arrange to tape this hearing. We have taped congressional hearings before and we’ve been turned down before, but I disagree with the policy. Anyone who says they’re a journalist is a journalist. It’s called the First Amendment. It’s the freedom of the press, and that is fundamental to our core identity as the United States of America.’”

—Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland,
was arrested and handcuffed Wednesday by Capitol Hill police after trying to videotape a hearing on “fracking,” a natural gas extraction technique, before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Reported by
Zach Carter, Huffington Post, Feb. 1, 2011.
Link to video here. See also USAToday.

• Editorial Comment: Fracking natural gasbags!

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  1. Sadly, this is nothing new from what I found as a working journalist. When I tried to start a news blog, I learned that local officials did have to talk to me because I was not a "journalist." Under Pennsylvania law, you are not considered a newsgathering organization unless you wore a newspaper with the pain circulation, or a radio station or a television station. All else don't qualify as news gathering organizations. This is tied to the law governing public notices. Sadly, the Pennsylvania Newspapers publishers association, as well as the television and radio stations, don't want to see this changed. As a result, I could not compete for news against the so-called the legitimate news organizations.

  2. Sadly, this is what I saw up personally as a journalist. Here in Pennsylvania, you were only considered a news gathering organization if you had a paying circulation, or were either a television or radio station. Local governments used this criteria, which is used for public notices, as the basis of who they would talk to. As a result, my attempt to start a local news blog in 2007 ended in dismal failure. I wonder at what point will the public say, " hey, I could not have been a good citizen without these reporters."