The FPD broadly declares that they alone can define who is or who is not a journalist.
Patti “P.M.” Beers, doing her job capturing footage others can not or will not capture. Credit: Mike Chickey.
(ANTIMEDIA) FULLERTON, CA — The Fullerton Police Department (FPD) is charged with protecting the citizens of their district, but did you know that the department also doubles as a check and balance of journalistic ethics? Indeed, the FPD broadly declares that they alone can define who is or who is not a journalist. Based on what specific criteria? Well… nobody knows that exactly. Yet in the FPD’s official report, which the department would highly prefer not be seen by the public, that is exactly what they say.
The document is no longer secure, nor private.
Take the heavy handed case of one Patti (P.M.) Beers, an independent journalist and videographer working for Anti-Media. Beers was arrested for doing her job at the protest of Kelly Thomas, yet the FPD claim she is not a real journalist. Beers only works for a world-wide recognized news source with tens of millions of readers. The trial for her freedom begins March 16, 2015 where she is facing six months in prison for the unconscionable crime of capturing video of a historic event.
Yet the FPD say Beers is not a journalist.
The FPD used Beers own footage for their ‘investigation’. This fact should be telling enough regarding Beers’ credentials. No other outlets were able to capture the footage Beers did. That, by itself, is exoneration worthy. Despite this, the FPD states Beers is not a journalist and the official police report states that her reporting is ‘biased’.
Anti-Media have a social media following that can trump nearly all ‘real’ news sources. Is the metric by which the standing of a journalist is ascertained according to the outlet’s ability to reach individuals? This is the metric of anything worth reading; if people are reading it. So why are we even having this conversation? Why is the standing of Beers as a journalist even in question?
You will note in the FPD’s report, it describes Patti Beers as having a “biased” viewpoint. This, apparently is the deciding factor of what constitutes journalism. In the eyes of the FPD, if a person reporting on an issue has an opinion of any kind then suddenly they are no longer a journalist. Would that imply that the FPD officially disavows Fox News or MSNBC? Where was this mandate of bias decided? Who created this stipulation? By what definition of ‘bias’ does the FPD operate?
Let’s not minimize the irony of the FPD decrying a media source as biased, while being shamelessly biased themselves. The FPD’s bias was the entire premise of the protest and public outcry. Here’s a police force, which had officers BEAT AN UNARMED HOMELESS MAN TO DEATH WHILE HE CRIED FOR MERCY, and no charges were filed. But that’s all fair play, and no bias was involved. “Trust us”, they say. The police only investigated themselves for a crime they committed, and the prosecutors only work with the same officers / criminals on a daily basis. But of course there was no bias involved. Instead the police want you to believe that the REAL criminals were the journalists on the scene — with their alleged bias — attempting to capture exactly what was happening because of a cover-up. Right!
The police who beat and killed a homeless man have now suddenly become constitutional scholars on the subjects of the first and fourth amendments. How strange. Is there a cut-off for journalists and what is considered journalism? Where is this imaginary line, exactly? Who enforces the line of who is or is not a journalist? Apparently the answer to these questions is the FPD. In a land which purports to have a free press, the FPD has taken the bold step to decide who has a right to be a member of the press, despite this right being endowed inalienably to every single citizen of the United States.
The Fullerton Police Department obviously knows a thing or two about writing. That is, writing fictitious police reports.
Let’s examine, in greater detail, the Kafkaesque nature of the report which describes the events that took place following the exoneration of police officers in the murder of a mentally disabled homeless man named Kelly Thomas on Jan. 18, 2014.
As a starting point of fallacy and the FPD’s ability to make wild judgment calls based on zero evidence, the report states that “at least a third of them (protesters) were clearly under the influence of marijuana.” Does the report offer any evidence towards this end? None. Did the officers view the protesters with a crate of Cheetos and Twinkies? No specifics are offered.
The report attempts to paint all protesters as dissident criminals, under the influence of narcotics.
This is just the beginning of the fiction the FPD expects you to believe as fact. Not only were protesters obviously stoned, despite the FPD offering zero evidence to corroborate their determination, but they were also “dancing and gyrating in bizarre fashions.”
This description implies the FPD are experts on policing, journalism, and now dancing. That’s a rather mixed bag. Would the dancing not have been considered “bizarre” had the protesters danced in a way the FPD found acceptable? Has the FPD ever offered a list of approved non-bizarre styles of dance? The answer is no, at least not on their public website. Perhaps when they are not criminalizing journalists and murdering the mentally disabled, they additionally offer dance courses at the police station. Tap dancing for individuals sobering up in the drunk tank. It could be a reality show. Someone call Spike TV.
I’d like to say the lies and stupidity stop there, but no. It gets worse. Now we’re moving away from the FPD making biased judgment calls — while decrying members of the media as biased — even though the FPD required for their investigation the footage acquired by said biased media member, into manufacturing outright fictitious tales.
Please closely examine both pieces of evidence you are about to view directly from the FPD’s official report. The first describes the FPD’s justification for harassing, intimidating, and arresting protesters.
Footage was captured of a protester’s foot almost being run over by a vehicle. The foot wasn’t run over, nor does the report state how close the driver came to striking a protester, nor was there any effort made to contact the driver for endangering the life of a pedestrian. Instead this incident is offered as “a clear example of the danger” to justify the brutalization and arrest of protesters. If one were a logical thinker, they might find it strange that if the protesters were as great a danger as the FPD attempts to characterize them, then why is this incident officially offered as “a clear example of the danger”? A foot was almost run over? Really? That foot is worth the arrests of private citizens exercising their rights to assemble, and to be free members of the press?
Indeed the FPD is willing to incarcerate and turn the lives of dozens upside down to protect the delicate tootsies of protesters. How magnanimous of them, no?
Finally we come to the most damning piece of evidence which proves the FPD’s report is saturated with fictitious bias which suits their operational interests. The following can be found on page 141 of the FPD’s official report, and details video captured by Beers herself. Meaning if Beers had not been on the ground, the FPD would not have been able to attempt to spin what is their grandest of lies.
A protester, who is unnamed and undocumented, is said to have attempted to gain entry to a moving S.W.A.T. vehicle. According to the report, “the protester threatens to assault the police officer and opens the driver door to get to the police officer.”
Now let’s just hold on a moment here. The protesters were present because a disabled homeless man was beaten to death in the street. Now when a protester attempts to enter a moving S.W.A.T. vehicle, suddenly the officers have become timid? They feared for their lives? In what bizarre reality do police officers beat unarmed homeless men to death, but when are actually prompted with aggression they flee for their safety? Such scenarios are incompatible. It does not logically follow that a protester attempted to gain entry to the S.W.A.T. vehicle, because if that actually happened, the protester would have been shot to death without a moment of hesitation. Instead, the FPD attempts to paint themselves as the victims of brutal protesters. The same protesters who were stoned and dancing in bizarre fashions. If the FPD has ever read crime statistics regarding marijuana, violent aggression is next to zero.
The evidence has been made clear, and the secret report has been dissected. It is now the responsibility of the reader to draw their own conclusions after having been presented with all of the evidence.
This is a story entirely about the ever receding liberty of journalism. Those who dissent are not considered journalists. One is no longer safe to discuss or report on unpopular information. Government organizations across the nation have and will arrest and prosecute journalists for the most minute of reasons. Are they always successful in their prosecutions? No, but that isn’t the point. This is a game of attrition for individuals in power. They seek to sap the limited resources of citizens, to quell others from standing up. This is about the institutional discrimination to question the credentials of journalists who carry credentials, and who have long standing ties as journalists with resumes as long as this article. The implication is clear. Those who are brave enough to stand on the front lines of the police state are being made an example of by the state. The government wishes to keep the public afraid and conscious that if they take action, they will be arrested and threatened with incarceration for prolonged periods of time.
All of this for the horrible crime of being a journalist.
Lou Colagiovanni is a columnist for Anti-Media and a political consultant based in Las Vegas. Lou is the Editor-in-Chief of ruthless-politics.com and the popular political discussion community We Survived Bush. You will Survive Obama. He is also the National Crime Examiner, and a political journalist for Examiner.com. His work has published all over the world, and he is often a featured guest on radio and television. You may contact Lou at firstname.lastname@example.org.