12:59 pm Dec. 9, 20112
In a radio interview this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg denied the police department prevented reporters from covering the police department's clearing of Zuccotti Park. He also said, as he did shortly after the Nov. 15 raid, that the police curtailed reporters' access to the park to prevent them from getting hurt.
They were asked to "step aside so the police can do their job," Bloomberg said today.
Bloomberg, who owns a media company bearing his name, said, "You don't have a right, as a press person, to stand in the way just in the interest of you getting a story."
The Observer's Hunter Walker wrote this morning that the skirmish between police and reporters "kept them several blocks from the park," and Rosie Gray at the Village Voice noted Bloomberg's comments today also included the argument that granting reporters full access to the police action wouldn't "be fair to the protesters," who would then have had to be "running around, and working around things, it's hard to find out what's going on, hard to communicate. And then people can get hurt as well."
Here's what the mayor said:
The press made a big deal they were denied their rights. They were asked, as we do with every such thing where the police have to take action, you have to step aside so the police can do their job. You don't have a right, as a press person, to stand in the way just in the interest of you getting a story. We didn't keep anybody from reporting. They just had to stand to the side while the police did their job. Police have to protect people. Police are human beings; they want their lives protected as well. And in the middle of any police action you just can't let another group in and get in the way of doing something. It would also not be fair to the protesters because then you're running around, and working around things, it's hard to find out what's going on, hard to communicate. And then people can get hurt as well. So, I think in looking back, they did a great job.
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