Sean Hannity’s Softball Interview with Ferguson Chief of Police
The situation in Ferguson has spiraled out of control, and there has been a concerted effort by the Ferguson police to limit the access the news media has to the protests. Wednesday evening, the police ordered cable and broadcast news satellite trucks and crews out of the area on the pretext of safety. However, a video captured by KDSK News shows the police firing tear gas on an Al Jazeera America news crew and then proceeding to dismantle their equipment. A photojournalist was also hit with a nonlethal “bean bag round.”
A little further up the road from where this happened, two journalists were arrested when police forced a McDonalds to close. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post were in the McDonalds availing themselves of the free wireless internet and charging their electronic devices. The restaurant was peaceful, according to Reilly, and the officers again said they “couldn’t guarantee” people’s safety. When it became clear that they were being arrested, both reporters “went limp” and made clear that they were not resisting arrest. However, the arresting officers still told them to “stop resisting.” Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times called the chief of police who saw to it they were immediately released. If only the others they were with were so lucky.
However, while the police pushed the media out of Ferguson, Police Chief Thomas Jackson gave an exclusive interview to Sean Hannity. Slate has referred to the “Hannitization” of news “as the method of cleaning up a messy situation by doing a soft-touch interview,” with the Fox News host. Hannity, who typically defends (non-Islamic) free speech, Hannity spent his time trying to vilify Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager whose deaths sparked this protest, and blame “outside agitators” for the protests and the singular night of looting.
Yet, despite this attempt to control the story the police – either displaying an utter disregard for the law or flagrant incompetence – have found themselves at the center of a very large and very bright spotlight.