You are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongity, wrong, wrong, wrong. And someday one of your reporters may need you to take the State of Tennessee to school, so you need to get right on this.
But so what if Meador was a reporter? The First Amendment protects press freedom, but it doesn’t grant journalists any rights beyond those of other citizens. In fact, in this day of blogs and cellphone cameras, it’s hard to say what actually constitutes a reporter. An employee of an established media outlet may carry a press card and ID badge, but that shouldn’t make him or her any more legitimate in the eyes of the law than a self-published scribe.
Here’s the “so what” you’re missing. Meador was, in fact, cited for being drunk, so drunk that he “appeared to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.” And that’s when he produced the video he took of his arrest in which no officer makes any mention of his alleged drunkeness. In fact, they’re discussing charging him with resisting arrest. How one resists arrest by falling when knocked to the ground by the THP, I surely don’t know.
But the issue, the important issue, here is not just that he identified himself as a member of the media–which I say is still an important and meaningful thing and that the THP ought not to be arresting reporters who are trying to cover a story the State is making efforts to literally hide in the middle of the night–but that not only did they appear to decide to make up a charge of resisting arrest, they made up that he “appeared to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.” (Again, the State’s words, not mine).
Jack, they did this after they knew he was a reporter. After they knew he was a reporter, they made up things to charge him with and then falsely accused him of being so drunk that he couldn’t care for himself in order to discredit him. That wasn’t just about trying to jack Meador up as a person, though that would certainly be wrong. That was about trying to discredit Meador as a journalist–accusing him of being so drunk on the job that he needed to be arrested. Certainly, that was about not only trying to discredit anything he might say about his arrest as a citizen, but also anything he might report about his and others’ arrests as a journalist.
If you think the issue is just that they arrested a journalist, you are wrong. It’s that they arrested a journalist AND then, once they knew he was a journalist, they seem to have deliberately set out to fuck him over.
That should give you great pause.