Trump repeatedly pressured MSNBC to fire Lawrence O’Donnell host of “The Last Word”, is it working?

Read our previous post: The voice of the resistance not so much racism and stupidly undermine MSNBC

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/voice-of-the-resistance-not-so-much-racism-and-stupidly-undermine-msnbc/

Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” has just four weeks left in his contract, and the cable network does not appear to be interested in renewing his deal. Four well-placed sources tell HuffPost that MSNBC has not been in contact with O’Donnell’s team of representatives to negotiate a new deal.

The absence of active negotiations weeks before a contract expires is highly unusual and often a sign that a contract won’t be renewed. News networks normally don’t risk letting the contract of a host who has a highly rated program expire or even come close to expiring before renegotiating. A short time-frame puts the network at a strategic disadvantage in talks, that’s why cable networks often start negotiating renewals six to nine months in advance of a contract ending.

A spokesman for NBC News declined to comment on “ongoing negotiations.” Although, multiple sources from inside and outside the network have told HuffPost that no negotiations have taken place.

O’Donnell, who has been appearing on the network since its inception, has hosted his highly rated program since the fall of 2010. “The Last Word” is the cable network’s second-highest rated program, according to Nielsen figures, behind only “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

O’Donnell has even been, on some nights, besting Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News among viewers ages 18 to 49, the demographic that television advertisers care about the most.

If O’Donnell’s contract is not renewed, that would not come as a surprise to many network insiders. Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, is no fan of O’Donnell’s program, sources say. Some say it’s because he doesn’t appreciate the liberal nature of “The Last Word,” but others say it’s about the fact that O’Donnell rejected Lack’s request to move his program from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. This decision was O’Donnell’s prerogative, two sources said, because his contract stipulates that his program must air in prime time.

O’Donnell’s refusal to move his program could have led Lack, who is known to bristle at dissent, to sour on O’Donnell, sources said. A senior NBC News executive disagreed with the idea that Lack isn’t a fan of O’Donnell’s show saying, “He is proud of and enthusiastic about all the work that’s being done across all of MSNBC’s primetime slate, including Lawrence’s program.”

There does appear to be some evidence of Lack’s distaste. O’Donnell has not had a face-to-face meeting with him since Lack returned to the network in 2015 after stints at Sony Music and Bloomberg Television, two sources said.

A senior NBC news executive said that Lack doesn’t take a heavy-handed approach with the cable network’s on-air talent and that frequent face-to-face meetings are often a sign that he isn’t satisfied. Sources familiar with the production of “The Last Word” say that Lack doesn’t interfere with the program’s editorial direction. And in Lack’s previous stint as NBC News president he was the one that pushed for O’Donnell to appear on the then nascent cable MSNBC network when it was founded in 1996.

Andrew Lack (second from left) meets with executives from Microsoft, General Electric and Drugstore.com in Manhattan to announce the creation of MSNBC.

Lack’s programming decisions and leadership style have caused tension internally at MSNBC leading staff members and on-air talent to express their displeasure internally and externally. For this story, HuffPost spoke to more than 10 sources inside and outside the network who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak publicly about network business.

If O’Donnell’s contract is not renewed, the news would certainly be welcome to President Donald Trump, who has had a long-running feud with O’Donnell.

In 2011, O’Donnell called on NBC to fire Trump, then the host and executive producer of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” for pushing his racist and inaccurate “birther” conspiracy against President Barack Obama. In 2015, he also claimed that Trump was lying about his wealth. Trump threatened to sue O’Donnell for making false statements but never followed through on his threat (which O’Donnell had predicted).

According to three sources, Trump has pressured MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell on multiple occasions. Griffin alluded to Trump’s push for O’Donnell’s ouster in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last month, saying, “[Trump] started calling me all the time in 2011 to say Lawrence O’Donnell was a ‘third-rate’ anchor.”  Griffin and O’Donnell enjoy a cordial relationship but Griffin’s power as the President of MSNBC has been diminished by Lack since he returned in 2015. As a result, Lack will be the one to decide whether O’Donnell stays and under what terms.

There is a fear, among some at MSNBC, that Lack is making programming decisions in an effort to appease the Trump administration (an accusation that has been made of CNN and Fox News), which may lead to more access to the White House and in turn, conservative viewers.

A senior NBC News executive pushed back on this claim. “Is he bringing in more voices from all over the political spectrum? Yes. But that’s to make better programming and more informed analysis. We don’t do things to appease people in power. We hold them accountable.”

If MSNBC failed to renew O’Donnell’s contract, it would be unprecedented, given his high ratings.

It’s unclear who would replace O’Donnell if MSNBC declines to renew his contract. Multiple sources have told HuffPost that Brian Williams, whose program, “The 11th Hour,” is on MSNBC at 11 p.m. Eastern, has been eager to have an earlier start in the evening schedule.

If MSNBC failed to renew O’Donnell’s contract, it would be unprecedented, given his high ratings, but multiple sources tell HuffPost that Lack attributes O’Donnell’s high-ratings to heightened interest in Trump and the fact that his program’s lead-in is the top-rated Rachel Maddow show, and doesn’t credit O’Donnell’s star power and fan base for the high-ratings. Despite this, Lack is said to dislike when people attribute his cable network’s blockbuster ratings to Trump: He believes, according to multiple sources, that the high ratings are largely a product of his programming decisions.

A senior NBC News executive disputes both of these characterizations saying that Lack believes ratings success is more nuanced than attributing it to one or two factors. “He considers prime time to be the “op-ed section” of the cable news network, and believes MSNBC is on top right now because it has the smartest, most insightful and most dynamic opinion hosts in the business,” the executive said.

O’Donnell is not giving up on what appears to be his quest to stay at MSNBC. On May 3, he tweeted about “The Last Word” program beating Hannity in the ratings. “We need audience support now more than ever,” O’Donnell replied. “So thanks again.”

Friday night, he sent another Twitter message about his rankings. “Last night @maddow was #1 rated show in all of cable tv, not just cable news. @TheLastWord was #2,” he wrote. “Thanks for your support. We need it.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lawrence-odonnell-msnbc-future_us_59162d8ce4b00f308cf5534a

Dictatorship 101: Fire the FBI director investigating your regime, then start jailing reporters

Traitor Trump’s cronies copy National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini’s behavior.

A reporter has been arrested for pressing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to say whether or not the Trump health care bill would make it harder for domestic violence survivors to obtain insurance.

West Virginia police arrested Dan Heyman at the state capitol Tuesday as he walked with Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, holding a recorder out and asking Price repeatedly about claims that insurers could refuse to serve survivors of familial abuse. That claim is based on inference from the bill’s provision allowing states to abandon consumer protections from Obamacare with federal permission.

Heyman had sought out Price on his way into the capitol. “At some point, I think [they] decided I was too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job, so they arrested me,” Heyman told West Virginia Metro News. Heyman was later charged with “willful disruption of a governmental process,” according to the news service.

This is Tom Price. Don’t yell questions at Tom Price. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A police report justifying the charge said the reporter “was aggressively breaching the Secret Service agents” and “causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price,” the West Virginia Metro News reported. Heyman was only released after someone from his news agency posted a $5,000 bond. He faces a $100 fine and up to six months in jail under state law.

Heyman’s arrest is the most dramatic recent illustration of the chilling effect President Donald Trump’s election has had on the news business, but it is not the first.

The traveling press corps who followed Trump’s campaign were frequently turned into a side show at his rallies, kept inside a tight and prominently placed cordon where Trump himself would typically point them out as enemies to his supporters. He also occasionally remarked that America should “open up our libel laws” to make it easier to sue reporters who enjoy First Amendment protections.

In one high-profile incident, a senior campaign aide grabbed a reporter by the arm hard enough to leave bruises — an incident the campaign denied despite video evidence. Trump’s political persona frequently relies on cherry-picking media reports he likes and deeming all others “fake news.”

But journalists can handle being presented as a political enemy to the public. The use of state power to physically detain them and then pursue criminal penalties against them for doing their jobs is something different.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wouldn’t rule out the idea of using cops and prosecutors to go after the press back in January. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked him to commit to “not put reporters in jail for doing their jobs” during his confirmation hearing, and he responded that “I’m not sure.” Subsequent reports that Sessions is considering criminal charges against Wikileaks revived deep concerns about press freedom under Trump.

Both Sessions’ exchange with Klobuchar and the reports of a potential Wikileaks prosecution primarily relate to issues of leaked information and source protection. Heyman’s detention and misdemeanor charge is obviously a different beast, pertaining to reporters’ physical and verbal conduct around the public officials they cover.

Heyman is not the first journalist to experience such rough handling by the legal system in the newly dawned Trump era. Several journalists were detained and charged with felony rioting at a mass roundup in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day. Their charges were eventually dropped.

But Heyman’s case is very different even from that mass-arrest sweep. He was solo, in a public building, repeatedly asking a public official for an answer on a matter of some controversy and great public interest.

Republicans and some reporters have scoffed at the idea that Trumpcare would treat domestic violence and rape as pre-existing conditions because the bill does not explicitly do so. But it is not difficult to infer that by allowing states to seek waivers to dump the most expensive health care patients into high-risk pools rather than requiring insurers to cover them at the same price as everyone else, those who suffer ongoing psychological or physiological effects from trauma could quickly be priced out of insurance coverage.

Price may not want to answer questions like Heyman’s. He may not appreciate being bird-dogged by a reporter rather than addressing the media through the controlled environment of a press conference.

But it’s hard to reconcile Heyman’s status as a member of the constitutionally-protected free press with the West Virginia capitol police’s decision that “yelling questions at” public officials in a hallway constitutes an illegal “willful disruption of governmental processes.”

Follow the dead russians

Nilolai Andrushchenko

A prominent Russian journalist known for articles criticizing Russian government and President Vladimir Putin has died in St. Petersburg after being severely beaten by unknown assailants.

Nikolai Andrushchenko, a 73-year-old co-founder of the newspaper Novy Petersburg, was attacked on March 9 and had been unconscious since then.

Andrushchenko’s colleagues and his lawyer say he underwent brain surgery after the attack and initially had been connected to a ventilator, but later was able to breath on his own.

However, they said he never regained consciousness and died on April 19.

His attackers have not been found.

Andrushchenko expressed concern about Putin after he came to power in 2000, saying that the secret services were taking control of Russia.

He was arrested in 2007 and claimed he was tortured in custody. In 2009, a court in St. Petersburg found him guilty of libel and extremism and fined him.

The Memorial Human Rights Center recognized him a political prisoner when he was in custody.

Extrajudicial assassination of Journalists!?!

Washington DC – Two journalists who say they have been targeted by the United States have filed a complaint against the American government, accusing it of putting them on a “kill list” and demanding to be taken off it.

The complaint was filed in the US District Court of the District of Columbia on Thursday on behalf of Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan – a dual Pakistani-Syrian citizen who works for Al Jazeera and Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American who has freelanced for Al Jazeera.

It accuses the US government of using information gathered via its Skynet surveillance programme, which has been used to guide drone strikes on “terror suspects”.

The plaintiffs accuse the United States of conspiracy to commit murder outside its borders and violating international law on targeting civilians.

Filed by UK-based rights group Reprieve and the Washington DC-based law firm Lewis Baach, the complaint asks the court to declare the journalists’ inclusion on the list illegal, and issue an injunction removing their names until they can review the secret evidence against them. It also asks the US to cease any planned strikes against the plaintiffs.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s founder and director, said the timing of the filing is linked to information his organisation has received from a secret source in Turkey who claims an attempt on Abdul Kareem’s life is imminent.

“A major reason for filing this litigation now is not because we’re going to win it next week, and get an injunction against [President Donald] Trump from killing these guys, but because we know they’re targeting Bilal and we’ve got to intimidate them enough, through publicity, to prevent them from doing this,” said Stafford Smith.

He told Al Jazeera there is no doubt the men are on the list of targets the US government is going after.

“When you look at Ahmad Zaidan … we have a copy of their [US] leaked Power Point saying he’s on the list. So that’s pretty powerful,” Stafford Smith said.

He said the case of Abdul Kareem is “even stronger”, as the US has allegedly targeted him several times before.

“The reason we know that is that three of those strikes, at least, maybe more, were drones, and the only country that had weaponised drones at the time was the US,” said Stafford Smith.

The Kill List – Kate Toomey

https://soundcloud.com/aljazeera/the-kill-list-kate-toomey

According to Reprieve’s research, it is not uncommon for the United States’ drone programme to require several attempts before killing a target, even ones such as Abdul Kareem or Zaidan who are not in hiding.

“The US misses on average three times for each person they’re trying to target. And with some people as many as nine or 10 times… Even a cat has only nine lives,” Stafford Smith  said.

Named after the artificial intelligence system in the Terminator movies, Skynet uses metadata – such as geolocation and social media activity – to flag individuals as potential “terrorist” threats, placing them on the so-called kill list – also referred to as the ” disposition matrix ” in the complaint.

“When you use an algorithm, it sounds very fancy, but an algorithm carries with it all the biases of the person who wrote it… This is the same problem with Skynet,” said Stafford Smith.

“The people who are really the ‘bad dudes’ out there, like Osama bin Laden, are not tweeting to anyone – they’re not sending text messages to [current al-Qaeda chief] Ayman al-Zawahiri.”

The sort of activities carried out by reporters in the normal course of doing their job, he said, is essentially what landed both men on the kill list.

Over the course of his career, Zaidan has interviewed senior leaders of groups listed as “terrorist” organisationis by the US, including former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Abu Mohammad al-Jolani,  head of the group formerly known as al-Nusra Front in Syria. He served as Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Pakistan for many years.

In a document leaked in 2015, the US National Security Agency alleged that Zaidan was a member of al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood – allegations that he countered in an op-ed detailing his meetings with members of al-Qaeda and other groups.

Abdul Kareem was one of the few Western journalists reporting from the ground during the battle for Aleppo last year for a number of outlets, including Al Jazeera. He has also interviewed members of the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate in rebel-held areas.

The complaint filed on Thursday stated: “Neither Zaidan nor Kareem pose a continuing, imminent threat to US persons or national security. Neither Zaidan nor Kareem is a member or supporter of any terrorist group. Inclusion of Zaidan and Kareem on the kill list under these circumstance was arbitrary and capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”

In Abdul Kareem’s case, being targeted also violates his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment – prohibiting illegal seizure of evidence, in this case, data – as well as the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees US citizens due process.

The complaint has been filed against President Donald Trump, the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, the CIA, as well as several security-related agency and department heads.

Requests for comment were not responded to by the time of publication.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/journalists-allege-threat-drone-execution-170330205806045.html

 

 

 

 

“the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press” McCain v Trump pt 2

putin-2

Remember Trump’s attacks on the media are diversion so you don’t think about his collusion with this guy

 

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave a staunch defense of the free press Saturday, noting that attacks on the media are “how dictators get started.”

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” to be aired Sunday, McCain took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s volleys against the Fourth Estate, particularly a Friday tweet in which the press was called the “enemy of the American people.”

trump-press-tweet

 

“We need a free press,” said the 2008 Republican presidential candidate. “We must have it. It’s vital.”

“If you want to preserve ― I’m very serious now ― if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” he added.

McCain said that without a free press, “we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”

“That’s how dictators get started,” he added, noting that attacks on journalists questioning those in power are a tactic used by autocratic governments.

“When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” he said. “I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

“A fundamental part of that new world order was a free press,” he added. “I hate the press; I hate you especially,” McCain quipped. “But the fact is we need you.”

Trump has ratcheted up his assaults against media organizations in recent weeks, culminating in a belligerent press conference Thursday in which he excoriated the members of the press as “fake news.”

McCain, in Germany for the Munich Security conference, has unleashed a series of thinly veiled attacks on the White House.

In a speech before the conference, he slammed a “hardening resentment” toward “immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims” and asked world leaders not to give up on America despite the country’s current politics.

During a question-and-answer, the senator said the resignation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, showed the administration was “in disarray.”

Amy and Deia are Facing Prison for Reporting! That Should Scare Us All.

First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A clear attack on journalism and freedom of the press.

ag-on-trial

This Monday afternoon, as the sun hits its peak over Mandan, North Dakota, the award-winning journalist, and host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman will walk into the Morton County–Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center and turn herself in to the local authorities. Her crime: good, unflinching journalism. Goodman had the audacity to commit this journalism on September 3, when she was in North Dakota covering what she calls “the standoff at Standing Rock”: the months-long protests by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is slated to carry barrel after barrel of Bakken crude through sacred sites and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and tribe members fear it could pollute the Missouri River, the source not only of their water but of millions of others’, should the pipe ever rupture. Their protests, which began in April and ballooned through the summer months, represent the largest mobilization of Native American activists in more than 40 years—and one of the most vital campaigns for environmental justice in perhaps as long.

Goodman’s arrival at the main protest site, the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, was significant. At the time, not a single one of the major broadcast networks had sent a reporter to cover the Standing Rock mobilization; none had even bothered to mention it on the air. But there was Goodman, standing at the edge of a grassy plain that was in the process of being churned into gullies of dirt, reporting on one of the most significant stories of the day. Clutching a large microphone, she captured the scene as hundreds of protesters tried desperately to stop a crew of bulldozers from tearing up the earth—the earth, they said, that belongs to nobody—only to be confronted by a force of private security contractors wielding attack dogs and pepper spray. “People have gone through the fence, men, women, and children,” Goodman reported, her voice taut, then rising, louder and more intense. “The bulldozers are still going, and they’re yelling at the men in hard hats. One man in a hard hat threw one of the protesters down…!”

As Goodman narrated, a security contractor, burly in a deep blue shirt, could be seen belly-flopping a man onto the ground. Protesters streamed in to help him, stumbled over mounds of newly churned dirt, faced off with contractors whose faces were hidden behind oversized sunglasses. The scene was full of movement. Overhead, a helicopter hovered, circled, while back on the ground, protesters began to report burning eyes, and dogs—dogs lurching at protesters, dogs straining against their leashes, dogs with mouths open, mouths biting. “Why are you letting the dog go after the protesters?” Goodman could be heard shouting at a security contractor as a woman screamed in the background. “It’s covered in blood!”

Within hours of the attack, Democracy Now! had turned its footage into a seven-minute video that it released as a web exclusive. Three days later, Goodman followed up with an extensive report—“Dakota Access Pipeline Co. Attacks Native Americans with Dogs and Pepper Spray”—that she broadcast live on her show. The video quickly went viral, pinging across Twitter and Facebook (where it was viewed more than 14 million times) and landing, ultimately, on the same big news stations that, until that moment, hadn’t bothered to cover the protests: CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR.

Goodman’s report created a rare crack in the consensus of silence. And, as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi writes, the outrage it generated may well have influenced the Obama administration’s decision to halt work on the pipeline several days later. This was journalism that mattered.

Yet, on September 8, Goodman received the news that Morton County, North Dakota, had issued a warrant for her arrest. The charge: riot, a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine. (It should be noted that the original charge leveled against Goodman was not riot but criminal trespass, also a misdemeanor. However, just days days before Goodman was set to appear in court, the prosecutor, Ladd Erickson, switched up the charges because, he admitted in an email to Goodman’s lawyer, Tom Dickson, there were “legal issues with proving the notice of trespassing requirements in the statute.”)

When asked to explain the grounds for arresting a working journalist, Erickson told the Grand Forks Herald that he did not, in fact, consider Goodman a journalist. “She’s a protester, basically,” Erickson told the newspaper. “Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions.” And in The Bismarck Tribune he later added, “I think she put together a piece to influence the world on her agenda, basically. That’s fine, but it doesn’t immunize her from the laws of her state.” It’s worth pausing here for a moment to contemplate the full and chilling absurdity of this statement: According to Erickson, a woman who appeared at a protest carrying a microphone emblazoned with the name Democracy Now! and trailing a video crew; who can be heard in the resulting video report identifying herself to a security guard as a reporter; and who then broadcast the video on the daily news program she has hosted for 20 years is not actually a journalist. She is not a journalist, because she harbors a strong perspective, and that perspective clashes with his own. By the same distorted logic, every muckraking news gatherer from Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair on through I.F. Stone, and, yes, today’s Matt Taibbi (whose work Erickson apparently admires) was not a journalist but an activist flirting with arrest.

This notion should disturb anyone who labors in the journalism trenches, particularly those who dedicate their days, and often nights, to covering stories that challenge the mighty and prick at the powerful. Engaging in serious journalism—journalism that captures a society’s forbidden, or simply hidden, stories—is hard and scary, and it requires bravery, conviction, and determination, along with an abiding faith in the protective power of the First Amendment. When that faith is compromised, the possibility of serious journalism collapses—a reason, no doubt, the Committee to Protect Journalists came out forcefully on Goodman’s behalf.

“This arrest warrant is a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters from covering protests of significant public interest,” Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas at CPJ, said in a statement. “Authorities in North Dakota should stop embarrassing themselves, drop the charges against Amy Goodman, and ensure that all reporters are free to do their jobs.” Thus far, the North Dakota authorities remain committed to their own embarrassment; the charges have not been dropped, which is why Goodman is going back to North Dakota to turn herself in—and then fight the charges.

A few weeks back, as I drove with Goodman to and from a memorial service (full disclosure: Goodman is a family friend whom I have known for a long time and once worked for), I overheard an admirer of hers ask what the public could do to support her as she faced arrest. Goodman was quick to respond: keep paying attention to the protesters in North Dakota, keep caring about their fight. She, in other words, was not the story.

Goodman was right, of course. The long struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux, which is a struggle against broken treaties, environmental injustice, and government-sanctioned kleptomania, is older than this country and as essential to its future as it is to its past. Yet, without someone to hold a microphone to the activists’ lips or train a camera on their protests, the story often gets lost. We risk missing the message, uttered by a man with a raw voice and pained face, toward the end of Democracy Now!’s viral video: “No one owns this land. This land belongs to the earth. We are only caretakers. We’re caretakers of the earth.”

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that the charges against Goodman were switched from criminal trespassing to riot.

https://www.thenation.com/article/amy-goodman-is-facing-prison-for-reporting-on-the-dakota-access-pipeline-that-should-scare-us-all/

 

Filmmaker Arrested At Pipeline Protest Facing 45 Years In Felony Charges

deia-schlosberg

A documentarian arrested while filming an oil pipeline protest on Tuesday has been charged with three felony conspiracy charges ― and could face decades in prison if convicted.

Deia Schlosberg, the producer of the upcoming documentary “How to Let Go of the World and Love All Things Climate Can’t Change,” was detained while filming a protest against TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline in Walhalla, North Dakota. Activists at the event, associated with the group Climate Direct Action, shut down the pipeline, which carries oil from Canadian tar sands to the U.S, for about seven hours.

Two of the protestors, Michael Foster and Samuel Jessup, were also charged and Schlosberg’s equipment and footage from the event was confiscated. Schlosberg said shortly after being released on bond that she couldn’t comment on her arrest until she spoke to a lawyer.

She has been charged with three felonies: conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service. Together, the charges carry 45 years in maximum prison sentences.

Josh Fox, the director of the film and two others related to fossil fuels, including the Academy Award-nominated “Gasland,” said Schlosberg wasn’t participating in the protest herself but acting as filmmaker to document the event. Her arrest appears to reflect a “deliberate” targeting of reporters, he said.

“They have in my view violated the First Amendment,” Fox said, referring to the state’s Pembina County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s fucking scary, it knocks the wind of your sails, it throws you for a loop. They threw the book at Deia for being a journalist.”

Ryan Bialas, state’s attorney for Pembina County, told The Huffington Post there was no such targeting and said the event at the pipeline was “not a protest” but “a criminal action.”

“People are free to come and protest as much as they want in my county, I just ask they don’t damage any property in doing so,” Bialas said in an email. He also noted his office has offered to return Schlosberg’s equipment and footage and he has “no interest” in keeping it. The arrest is the latest in a series of high-profile criminal charges filed in North Dakota. Police arrested actress Shailene Woodley and 27 others this week for trespassing while protesting the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.

And authorities issued an arrest warrant for criminal trespassing for Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! last month, who filmed a thousands-strong Native American-led protest in September, which was met with guards wielding pepper spray and attack dogs.

Goodman announced this week she will surrender to authorities on Monday “to fight this charge … a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Fox said the actions in North Dakota were “mind boggling” and he hasn’t seen “any other state behave this way.”

“Normally you get a warning,” he said, referencing other direct-action protests. “In North Dakota, you don’t. If you were trespassing, you leave and they arrest you anyway.”

He has been circulating a letter calling for the charges against Schlosberg to be dropped. Signatories include actress Daryl Hannah, musician Neil Young, activist Bill McKibben and actor Mark Ruffalo.

Bialas said he was unaware of the criminal action against both Woodley and Goodman and that his office does “not “target activists, journalists or media.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/deia-schlosberg-arrested-north-dakota_us_58004d81e4b0162c043b342d?