Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GOP Response To Town Hall Backlash: Ban Recording Devices And Censor Citizen Journalists

The premier political story of the past few months has been the Republican plan to dismantle Medicare and the resulting voter backlash. Intown halls across the country, voters are expressing their anger at the GOP priorities ofending Medicare, extending tax breaks for the wealthy, and protecting subsidies for oil companies.
ThinkProgress has reported extensively from town halls in Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and elsewhere. In addition, citizen journalists have attended town halls and reported about them online, allowing others who couldn’t attend in person to see the event.
However, some congressmen are concerned about what could happen if citizen journalists repost their town halls on the Internet. At least two members of Congress have taken extraordinary measures to shut down the spread of information.
ThinkProgress readers passed along the following photos, taken outside town halls held by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV). Barletta specifically barred citizen journalists and other non-credentialed media from recording the event, while Heck took a more encompassing approach of “no recording devices” at all:
When Republicans won back the House in 2010, one of their central promises was “to make Congress more transparent.” However, when it comes to their own congressional events, the same standard apparently does not apply.
Indeed, with members like Lou Barletta and Joe Heck barring citizens from recording the events and preventing those who couldn’t attend from seeing what the congressmen had to say, one has to ask: what are they trying to hide?
UPDATEAt his town hall, Heck reportedly faced a rowdy crowd upset about his vote for the Medicare-ending House Republican budget. When pressed, he backed away from the plan a bit, saying, “I’m not saying it’s the best idea, but it’s the only one and the best being proposed now."

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  • How are these thugs allowed to get away with this? These are free and open meetings designed to let the citizens of this great nation hold their democratically elected representatives accountable. If they're mad as hell, they have the Constitutional right to let these jerks know about it. Lawsuits and impeachment/removal, anyone?

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