Carter Calls Out Deal Over Removal of Video Journalist

August 25, 2014 12:19 pm

by Lawton Sack · 11 comments

We have received the following press release from Jason Carter’s campaign:

ATLANTA—Gov. Nathan Deal refused to intervene, or even criticize the forcible removal of a video journalist from an open campaign event, even as the state’s top law enforcement official condemned the move.

FetchYourNews.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are reporting that video journalist Nydia Tisdale was forcefully removed from a Republican rally on Saturday that had been advertised as a public event.

Gov. Deal was reportedly present for the entire event, but did not acknowledge the incident in his remarks. Even though he was the rally’s headliner, Deal’s spokesperson later denied the incident was related to their campaign and refused to comment on it: “As this incident was in no way related to Deal for Governor, I am referring you to the owner of the private property at which the event took place.”

But Attorney General Sam Olens condemned the move in his remarks, saying, “If we stand for anything as a party what are we afraid of with the lady having a camera filming us? What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? … The harm that occurs post-this is far greater than the harm of her filming us. What are we hiding? If we are telling you why we are running and what we stand for, what are we hiding?”

This is not the first time that Nydia Tisdale has been at the center of attention over issues with her videotaping.  She was asked two years ago to not to film the meetings of the Cumming City Council.  She also was asked to stop videotaping at an event held by the Republican Women of Forsyth County back in April of this year.

It is also not the first time that Attorney General Sam Olens has come to her to defense, as he defended her right to videotape the Cumming City Council meetings.

Gov. Deal was a speaker at the event, but he made no comments about Tisdale’s videotaping or her removal from the event while speaking.  I think that Sen. Carter is placing a lot of responsibility on candidates, including himself, for actions that may happen at a political event that they are attending.  There are decisions that are made independently by event organizers and attendees that are outside of the control of the speakers themselves.  I hope that Sen. Carter is now prepared to personally disavow and handle all issues that may arise at campaign events that he is present at, since he chose to raise the subject.

If you read through the details provided at FetchYourNews.com, everything was apparently fine until Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens first called attention to Tisdale’s recording of the event, which was being held on private property.  Commissioner Hudgens pointed out Tisdale’s videotaping of the event after he made the statement that he “thought [he] was going to absolutely puke” after listening to Michelle Nunn during the recent forum between Nunn and David Perdue.

Tisdale has provided proof, though, that she was an invited guest to the event and thus felt that she had the right to record the event as a guest.  Evidently there were people at the event that thought otherwise, as she has been charged with criminal trespass.  She has also been charged with obstruction of an officer.

What do you think?   We all know the detrimental impact of the recording of Romney talking about the “47 percent” had on his campaign in 2012.  Should the comments made by Sam Olens be the policy going forward for Republicans?  Should Republican groups ever ask for videotaping to be stopped at events advertised to the public, even if the event is on private property?  Is there an inherent right for a citizen to record partisan events?  Should there be different parameters for political trackers?  Is the Governor actually responsible for the actions of the others, just because he is a speaker at event?  Should the speakers instead take more responsibility for what they say and not worry about who may be recording the event?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Huttman August 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Romney’s problem was that his idiotic 47% comments were not said in public they were said in the company of people paying probably $100,000 for a rubber chicken. And then instead of the entire party disowning those comments (because lets face it a lot of the 47% vote for Republicans too) the comment became partisanized and you had Republicans out there defending it and being proud of being in the 53% (just not 53% when it comes to the results of an election).

I was once the video tracker for Sonny Perdue back in 2004 and he welcomed my presence both in public and often at private events and worked me into his routine to great effect. He was a showman, embraced the role and whether you were a Democrat or a Republican attending his event, even whether you were videotaping it or not, you enjoyed Sonny and understood his appeal. It was not difficult to figure out how he won his re-election so big after spending time around him and being incorporated into his act.

Nathan Deal, though I have not spent much time around him, seems like a wet blanket in comparison. It’s dumb to ban a video camera from a public event, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Deal didn’t even know anything about it. I can’t imagine anyone leaves his event thinking much more than “we could do a lot worse”. It wasn’t the same way with Sonny.

greencracker August 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

This one, yes: “Should the speakers instead take more responsibility for what they say and not worry about who may be recording the event?”

George Chidi August 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I think this fits into the larger critique of police power we’re seeing emerge.

People will parse this however they like, but at its core a police officer arrested a journalist for videotaping a political speech. In point of fact, the police officer appears to have violated her 1st Amendment civil rights — taking the camera away from her without a subpoena or warrant is a prior restraint on speech — and then arresting her for criminal trespass and obstruction when she had the temerity to complain about it.

Obstruction of a police officer is the catch-all term applied to all crimes of contempt of cop. It’s a garbage charge.

I’m not going to argue (any more) that the owners of the property had no right to ask her to stop, nor that they had no right to eject her. Private event, private property. But you don’t get to confiscate cameras, ever. That’s also private property.

Will the cop face anything like justice? Almost certainly not. Because that’s not how justice works here. Our deference to police authority demands they be allowed to skate with “warnings” that the public at large never get. The ACLU is evil incarnate, don’t you know. Policing is terribly difficult and dangerous and give us a break and you must love criminals and hate police officers if you want them to obey the laws they enforce.

It might seems a stretch to connect this to Ferguson, and the grenade-in-the-baby-basket case here, and all of the rest of the debate around sentencing reform and civil forfeiture rules and upgunned militarized policing, but it’s all part of a theme. We’ve ceded power to people in uniforms without establishing enough accountability for that power. This is the result, from unconstitutional indignities like this to shootings in the street.

Three Jack August 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Olens nailed it. If you are telling the truth and speaking about your agenda, why be afraid of a video camera. Very poor decision by whoever decided to physically remove the lady unless of course Hudgens was worried he or some other stale, pale male might make a stupid comment.

Will Durant August 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I thought we couldn’t go downhill from The Ox™, I thought wrong.

Noway August 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

She can video any dang thing she wants!

Noway August 25, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Just like Chris I was once the opposition researcher who followed my candidate’s opponent around, hoping for video gold. I was never once molested by the opposition although I was asked to leave on one occasion because i showed up to a private affair. I do not share George’s pessimission as to her remedy under law. I hope she files charges of battery against the d…headed cop who touched her, unlawful arrest against the Department and a civil suit for major bucks. This aint over unless she wants it to be.

Harry August 25, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Yeah, but how do private property rights fit or not fit into the equation.

greencracker August 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

A second-hand story on the radio this morning reports that they heard the GOP advertised the event as “public.” So _if_ it was a “public” event, does it matter who owns the venue? Like if a party rented a hotel ballroom for a “public” event, could the hotel throw a person out or tell them to stop filming?

Lea Thrace August 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

Meh. I dont think Deal needs to speak on this anymore than Carter needs to speak on what his grandfather says.

Hudgens on the other hand. Slimeball extraordinaire. He needs to do some explaining since he started it.

Sue Deaunym August 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

I believe Tisdale helped the pumpkin farm owners, the strutting county cop, and the GOP control-freaks to show the rest of Georgia (and perhaps the rest of the nation) just how rabid a great many Republicans are these days. Olens gets it. Most of his cronies do not. . .