Wisconsin to NOLA: Rep. Pocan kicked out of ALEC event; ThinkProgress reporters accosted
Post by Jesse Russell on 8/5/2011 3:38pm
State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a dues paying member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, was kicked out of a corporate sponsored reception last night. Pocan is in New Orleans attending ALEC's summer conference where, in addition to attending sessions, he's covering the event for Madison-based Progressive. Not only had Pocan paid for his registration to the conference he also had an invitation to the reception. Pocan issued a statement this afternoon in which he said, "despite being a dues paying member of ALEC, paying to attend the convention and having an invitation to a corporate reception, I was still kicked out of the cigar reception by an employee of ALEC. ALEC has become a secret society where they will kick out anyone with a video camera, tape recorder or an original opinion."
Seemingly to drive home the point that ALEC will kick out anyone "with a video camera, tape recorder or an original opinion" two ThinkProgress reporters were removed from the Marriott by ALEC security yesterday. Scott Keyes and Lee Fang were standing in the lobby when "a guard approached Fang from behind, tackling him and later bending his arm to take his camera. Keyes, faced similar treatment: two security guards roughed him up on the escalator, taking his video camera, and cutting Keyes’ hand as he attempted to leave the premises. As Keyes asked why he was being forced to leave, he was shoved from the back."
Center for Media and Democracy also sent a reporter, Eric Carlson, to the conference, but he was denied credentials. After learning that he wouldn't be allowed to cover the organization's workshops Carlson took a seat in the Marriott lobby and began filing a report on his laptop. As he was doing so security approached him and asked him to leave the lobby. According to CMD the Marriott said their security wasn't responsible and they speculated it was likely ALEC security.
CMD Director Lisa Graves said Carlson wasn't doing anything wrong: "He was doing nothing inappropriate and simply sitting in the lobby filing a story."
Carlson tells his story of being kicked out of the lobby (more than once) on TruthOut.
In the write-up Carlson notes that Al Jazeera-English was also denied press credentials.
The Center for Media and Democracy is responsible for the website ALECExposed which provides access to ALEC documents that were previously unavailable to the public.
Jesse was born and raised in Connecticut, began blogging in 1997, and moved to Madison in 2003. In 2005, he co-founded dane101 along with Kristian Knutson and Shane Wealti. In addition to helping nearly a dozen contributors run this website he's helped launch various events in the city including What's Your Damage?!, the MadPubQuiz of Awesomeness, the Fire Ball Masquerade, Dane101's Freakin' Halloweekend, and more.