Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Public meeting, off the recording

Back in the summer of Tea Party Town Meeting Tantrums, Republicans were all about letting the people speak. As long they were speaking out against health care reform. Now that the GOPers are in the hot seat of constituent discontent themselves, well, the people's voice apparently needs to silenced. Take Ohio GOP Congressman Steve Chabot for instance.
Last night it was supposed 'security reasons" that they again not only banned citizen speech, but the photographing and filming of the Congressman speaking as well. Chabot's security team enlisted the help of the on-duty Cincinnati Police (car # 05313) to enforce this policy with the threat of arrest and the actual confiscation of two video cameras until the conclusion of the meeting.

Think Progress has a different camera angle, brings up a good point and asks the big question:
Media were permitted to record the event, making the ban on citizen cameras all the more baffling. Clearly no “security” threat existed; rather, as one of Chabot’s staffers told ThinkProgress, they wanted to “prevent” people from “making a show” of the event. Indeed, Chabot and his staff were worried enough about citizens voicing their anger at his policies that they only accepted pre-screened questions chosen by the congressman’s staff.

As town halls continue across the country this month and more voters have a chance to speak out against the GOP’s insistence on slashing spending and eliminating jobs, other congressmen will face a similar choice: will they listen to citizens who demand Republicans address the jobs crisis rather than cutting spending, or will they silence constituents with camera bans and pre-selected questions?
Which brings up the eternal question. What would conservatives be saying if a Democratic Congressman did this? Yes, that's a rhetorical question. We all already know the answer.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]


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