Video: John Ziegler’s arrest

posted at 3:10 pm on April 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

From the Someone Left the Irony On Department, John Ziegler gets arrested by security guards outside USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism for committing … er … journalism. He wanted to ask people attending their ceremony honoring Katie Couric with their Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism about the award, and the Annenberg School of Journalism apparently objected to … er … journalism. Watch the whole video, as John provides a good running commentary:

Link: Ziegler Arrest

When will Reporters Without Borders lodge a protest against the Annenberg School of Journalism for having journalists arrested? Would Walter Cronkite have approved of police locking up reporters for merely covering an event and walking on property that is very obviously open to the public in doing so?

The Annenberg School of Journalism … teaching journalists how to stonewall and intimidate … journalists.

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I haven’t read all the posts so I don’t know if this has been addressed, but isn’t USC a public/state school?

kemphd on April 17, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Addressed black & blue. It’s a private school.

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 1:37 PM

This is Obama’s America.

spmat on April 17, 2009 at 1:41 PM

USC police are pretty sensitive to cameras on campus because of the film school there. Cinema students have to apply for permits to film (and their productions could be disruptive shooting on 16mm).

And the surrounding neighborhood is pretty rough.

BUT STILL! I thought Ziegler’s incredulous laughter was the best part.

Katie Couric. Hmph.

the_souse on April 17, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Hilarious….Our American university system wont let a journalist ask questions but they will provide a propaganda forum for Iran’s Aloonyboonyjob.

csdeven on April 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM

But as a matter of consistency (this is where I find myself thinking you’re just a tool), you should surely agree that free speech should allow people to make their case without the authorities pre-judging what they are going to say.

you say there’s a lack on consistency, and that he was targeted because of what he was saying. but what do you base that on?

Do you know of any private events on USC or other private campuses in which people with a political point of view, without permission of the school, were engaging attendees who were trying to enter the event and were allowed to stay?

Again, it seems he didn’t get permission to be there. Despite that, they allowed him to stay if the kept inside the designated media area. It seems he would not do that.

At that point, they asked him to leave. He refused. That’s when the cuffed him.

I don’t think that’s very unreasonable. They allowed him to stay even though he didn’t have credentials and didn’t ask permission to film or cover the event. When he didn’t stay in the designated media area, they booted him.

He wasn’t booted because of his politics, he was booted because he couldn’t follow the rules. This is not an attack on journalism or free speech. If I kick you out of my house because you’re bugging guests at my dinner party, am I infringing on your 1st amendment rights?

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 2:33 PM

1. Security guards did their job well in an awkward situation. Kudos to them.

2. Zeigler acted like a tool. Comparisons to Moore are apt.

3. Stop pant pissing over this. It’s a private university. He wasn’t invited. “Obama’s America”? Please. He had less to do with this than the Somali pirates.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Ironic indeed.

Lots of people describing Ziegler as a “tool” or some such, but it seems to me he was practicing legitimate journalism, regardless of his viewpoint.

That USC would forbid his presence at such an event is absurd.

And for those of you who keep insisting we are not headed toward fascism… just look at the video.

rogersnowden on April 17, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Ziegler as a “tool” or some such, but it seems to me he was practicing legitimate journalism

Since when do journalists attempt to pass out their own DVDs when covering an event?

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 3:28 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Your entire response misrepresented where I was claiming inconsistency. And, like Palin, I tend to think you are not stupid — which means that the misrepresentation was intentional. I know, it’s easier to make up a straw-man to respond to, but it would really be a much more interesting dialog (my spell-checker doesn’t like ‘dialogue’; when did that spelling go away?) if you’d respond to the statement I make instead of some similar one.

Just in case you have misunderstood, let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that USC was inconsistent (I expect they would be, but don’t have proof). I’m referring to something much more general: an inconsistent treatment of speech on campuses nationwide based upon how liberal or conservative the speaker is. Take these thugs in NC last week who disrupted a conservative speaker, or the pie throwers, or the students who riot to prevent military recruiters on campuses. Campus security doesn’t wade in with handcuffs to restore order in those cases. But let some conservative politely ask a question (see IndoctrinateU for numerous examples), and security is called in to escort the ‘troublemaker’ from campus.

I think this is crappy in a private university like USC, but it’s their business if they want to be crappy thugs, and it’s parents’ and students’ business if they want to put up with it. So this isn’t the greatest example of the problem, in my mind. But this sort of thing, and worse, is happening at public colleges and universities all over the country. THAT’s where I have a serious problem with it.

The other inconsistency is in yourself for failing to have enough integrity to condemn disruptive behavior by liberals, or to condemn USCs CHOICE (as opposed to their RIGHT) to evict a person who is — from anything either of us knows about — not being disruptive, but merely asking people to voluntarily express their opinions.

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Ziegler as a “tool” or some such, but it seems to me he was practicing legitimate journalism

Since when do journalists attempt to pass out their own DVDs when covering an event?

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 3:28 PM

I think we’ll have to agree to disagree whether you can call Ziegler’s actions “journalism”. I think it was more likely “documentarism” (a word I just made up), because he’s probably gathering opinions for a documentary, not gathering actual news for a news agency.

But I’d argue that freedom of the press — a phrase that also has been found to apply to novels, movies, computer programs, music, video games, etc. — should apply equally to both, with the same protections and the same restrictions. So while I personally would probably not call what he was doing “journalism”, I think it’s a distinction without any significant difference.

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 3:45 PM

The other inconsistency is in yourself for failing to have enough integrity to condemn disruptive behavior by liberals, or to condemn USCs CHOICE (as opposed to their RIGHT) to evict a person who is — from anything either of us knows about — not being disruptive, but merely asking people to voluntarily express their opinions.

Let’s get something straight. I never “condemned” Ziegler’s actions. I called him a jackass and a clown, but I’m not “condemning” him. I, in general, don’t have a problem with protests.

What I do have a problem with is claiming that an act of protest is journalism. Or pretending that what Ziegler was doing on USC’s campus had anything to do with journalism. Or that there was something wrong in removing him from campus when he didn’t comply with the rules. Make no mistake, just as protesters who don’t have a permit or right to be on private property or act in an unruly fashion are subject to removal by police (as the UNC students were), Ziegler was subject to removal as well. No, he didn’t act in as an extreme manner as the UNC students, but that doesn’t really matter. They both broke rules. There is no inconsistency. Ziegler was not asked to speak on the campus of USC. Despite the fact that he didn’t have credentials, he was allowed to stay if he stayed in the media area. He didn’t do that. So, he got the boot.

So, don’t go saying I fail to have integrity. Ziegler was being disruptive by not staying the designated media area and by trying to pass out his DVDs. They asked him not to, he didn’t comply. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing wrong with kicking him off campus after that.

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 3:53 PM

John Ziegler is an American Conservative hero.

USC’s Geheim Staats (Kampus) Polizei were nothing more than Jack-Booted National Socialist Thugs.

I reckon the leftist powers-that-be recognized Ziegler from his earlier documentary efforts and didn’t want him asking any inconvenient truths.

CatchAll on April 17, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Ziegler was grandstanding and bringing attention to his movie. Sound familiar? There may be a grain of journalism somewhere, but that was not his primary purpose. His was to disrupt an event and get coverage. Mission accomplished. It’s pretty damn hard to argue agaisnt freedom of the press, but it doesn’t include the right for a trespasser to act like a jackass at a private event on private property. There are exceptions, but normally you play by the rules. I’ve attended professional seminars and sporting events at USC and have a number of friends who are alumni. IMHO, USC is far, far from the typical liberal college campus. Most of the grads I know come from money and are quite successful. It ain’t Berkeley.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Claims that USC is a “private” university is actually FALSE. Part of USC was funded by the Hatch and Morrill acts making them, at least in part, a LAND-GRANT college which is in truth NOT a private intitution.
The streets and sidewalks in and on the campus are maintained by the City of Los Angeles and are public egress making trespass impossible.
These security guards and USC are in a LOT of hot water over this.

nelsonknows on April 17, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Nelson – That sounds more like a soundbite from a radio talk show than a reasoned legal analysis. Which part of USC isn’t private? I can’t believe it’s true that the City of Los Angeles maintains the sidewalks, but assuming you’re right, it doesn’t necessarily follow that simply because a municipality agrees to maintain something means that something is open to the public. Interesting to see so many of you fighting against private property rights today. Careful what you wish for.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Need an update:

UPDATE:

This afternoon, the Huffington Post spoke to James Grant, the Executive Director of Media Relations for USC. Their version of events goes a little counter to Ziegler’s narrative.

According to Grant, in the days before his eventual appearance on campus, Ziegler publicly announced his intention to demonstrate at the Couric event. USC was happy to accomodate Ziegler, and provided him with a designated area, where he could register his protest, be seen by event attendees and the student body, and pass out whatever materials he wished. These arrangements were ready upon Ziegler’s arrival.

However, according to Grant, Ziegler showed up for the event making unexpected demands. He was no longer a demonstrator. Now, he was a journalist, with cameramen in tow, insistent that he had a right to enter the event. Told that the event was invitation only, Ziegler contended that he had the right to range up and down the entryway and stick microphones into the faces of attendees.

Said Grant, “The University both respects and facilitates the right to free speech, but we reserve the right to set reasonable ground rules that respect the rights of everyone, and provide for the safety and security of the University community.” Ziegler, opting against the ground rules that had been mutually agreed to, was given the choice of leaving campus or being arrested, and eventually chose to leave campus.

getalife on April 17, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Liberal fascism at it’s finest.

jjrakman on April 17, 2009 at 4:32 PM

If true: Ziegler is even more of a tool.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Yes, nothing smacks of facism like private university security guards calmly and fairly enforcing rules agreed to ahead of time. What’s next? The Enabling Act? Run for your lives!

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 4:38 PM

The other inconsistency is in yourself for failing to have enough integrity to condemn disruptive behavior by liberals, or to condemn USCs CHOICE (as opposed to their RIGHT) to evict a person who is — from anything either of us knows about — not being disruptive, but merely asking people to voluntarily express their opinions.

Let’s get something straight. I never “condemned” Ziegler’s actions. I called him a jackass and a clown, but I’m not “condemning” him. I, in general, don’t have a problem with protests.

What I do have a problem with is claiming that an act of protest is journalism. Or pretending that what Ziegler was doing on USC’s campus had anything to do with journalism. Or that there was something wrong in removing him from campus when he didn’t comply with the rules. Make no mistake, just as protesters who don’t have a permit or right to be on private property or act in an unruly fashion are subject to removal by police (as the UNC students were), Ziegler was subject to removal as well. No, he didn’t act in as an extreme manner as the UNC students, but that doesn’t really matter. They both broke rules. There is no inconsistency. Ziegler was not asked to speak on the campus of USC. Despite the fact that he didn’t have credentials, he was allowed to stay if he stayed in the media area. He didn’t do that. So, he got the boot.

So, don’t go saying I fail to have integrity. Ziegler was being disruptive by not staying the designated media area and by trying to pass out his DVDs. They asked him not to, he didn’t comply. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing wrong with kicking him off campus after that.

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Good gravy. You must have done very poorly on reading comprehension. I didn’t accuse of you condemning Ziegler; I accused you of failing to condemn the CHOICE (you do understand the difference between thinking they had no right on the one hand, and thinking it was a bad choice on the other — don’t you?) by USC to shut down someone who was not being disruptive (as far as we know). Then you go on as if what Ziegler did was in the same universe as what the protesters at UNC did. He didn’t disrupt anyone. He didn’t deny anyone’s right to speak. He didn’t call anyone names. And — my main point, which you have yet to acknowledge, let alone respond to — HE was dragged off in handcuffs, while the punks at UNC were not.

Here’s another case for you. At UMass Amherst, a conservative group was distributing newspapers when some chickie took a big stack and stood on them, to prevent anyone from getting them. When the conservative group asked for them back, they were approached by a woman who displayed a police badge and asked what the problem was. She did tell the liberal chickie to get off the stack of newspapers; but when the conservative guy picks up the papers, bystanders (including the chickie) start grabbing handfuls of newspapers (not a single issue each). The police officer’s reaction? Zip. Here’s a link to the video (yes, it was caught on tape).

Actually, Amherst seems to have quite the budding totalitarian oligarchy going. Sounds like your kind of place, Tom!

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Interesting to see so many of you fighting against private property rights today. Careful what you wish for.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Straw-man. Of course no one is fighting against private property rights. Some don’t believe it WAS private property (which is a very different argument); others of us think USC was probably within their rights, but demonstrated poor judgment and hypocrisy in their actions.

I’d very much like to see more of what occurred before the confrontation began, before I say with certainty that USC was wrong in this case. I must say that recent cases of university censorship certainly have me inclined to accept Ziegler’s account, but I don’t claim to know for certain.

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 4:53 PM

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

I’ve explained my position on this pretty well and in a rational manner. Yet, you still seem to want to say I back totalitarianism. Sorry, but I’m done with you.

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Nelson – That sounds more like a soundbite from a radio talk show than a reasoned legal analysis. Which part of USC isn’t private? I can’t believe it’s true that the City of Los Angeles maintains the sidewalks, but assuming you’re right, it doesn’t necessarily follow that simply because a municipality agrees to maintain something means that something is open to the public. Interesting to see so many of you fighting against private property rights today. Careful what you wish for.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

You might educate yourself on California Penal code 602 which states; “a person cannot commit trespassing on a publicly maintained street or easement to which the public is allowed egress.” and “No person shall be held to be illegally trespassing when that person holds to a public egress on private property with an easment or access to public eagress.”
Security guards have a VERY finite power to detain which is to detain ONLY “upon witnessing a felony act or attempt to do bodily harm upon person or persons.”

nelsonknows on April 17, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Joe – You might not be arguing against private property rights, but many others are. If it’s just a matter of judgment, then you better hope USC’s report to HuffPo is wrong. I happen to think regardless of that, USC and its security force performed just fine. Ziegler acted like an amateur Michael Moore.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 5:05 PM

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

I’ve explained my position on this pretty well and in a rational manner. Yet, you still seem to want to say I back totalitarianism. Sorry, but I’m done with you.

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 4:54 PM

So then you won’t be responding to my assertion that college campuses are cracking down on free speech? Yeah, I guess that is pretty clear. As for whether you back totalitarianism, well… as my hero, Indego Montoya said, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Going to supper with friends. Everyone (even Tom, if you relent and read this) have a great spring weekend. Do something nice for someone that can’t do anything for you in return!

RegularJoe on April 17, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Even if it were pupblic property, you don’t have the right to run around on the sidewalk and harass people. If you want to protest/demonstrate on public property you need a permit.

This clown got much less than he deserved. His video clearly shows him ignoring verbal orders. He’s not listening and he’s talking over the officers and whoever the guy in the suit is. Journalist or not, Ziegler had absolutely no right to be where he was. The officers had every right to remove him. In fact, he was treated with the kindest of kid gloves. Had he pulled that childish stunt in my city he would have been eating pavement in about 10 seconds.

He provoked a scene to get himself publicity. He knew the rules and he behaved like a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum. Those of you calling the officers jack booted thugs are morons who know nothing about the law, and I’m embarassed that you are “conservatives” posting on my favorite blog.

Sgt_H on April 17, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Nelson: Given your familiarity with the Cal Penal Code, I assume you are a criminal attorney or have been charged with this offense. The analysis is still weak.

1. He wasn’t on a street.
2. Has it been established that there an easement in favor of the public over the sidewalk on which Ziegler was “reporting”?
3. Does the City of L.A. or other public entity maintain that sidewalk?
4. None of that stuff even matters if the HuffPo/USC report is true, because Ziegler was allowed permission to be on campus – consent renders the trespassing argument moot. Besides, Ziegler wasn’t removed because of trespassing.
5. Does the definition of security guard applicable encompass a private university police force?

I agree with Sarge on this one. Ziegler got off easy. If that were my campus, I’d be proud of my private cops.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 5:23 PM

“I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

I do know what it means. The fact my stance in support of the actions of a private institution makes you think I support totalitarianism suggests that you don’t understand what it means.

You have a great weekend too!

Tom_Shipley on April 17, 2009 at 5:25 PM

I’m glad these security guards have guns.

They’ll do just fine.

omnipotent on April 17, 2009 at 5:45 PM

I’m sure this has all been covered. But I like to type and I’m sure someone here likes to read.

First, there’s no Irony here, this is exactly what they teach in these liberal schools. Control the media and you can get what you want. Liberals have known this for years.

Second, it sounds like he was actually granted access, but had to stay in a specific area. Nothing unusual there. Just try to cover the Grammies anyplace you want, you’ll get trampled by large men in black suits. He should have stayed in the “designated area” (but obviously, it didn’t suit him, so he moved).

Third, Curit is a TOOL!

Unfit For The Internet on April 17, 2009 at 7:24 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 16, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Tom Tom,

Just got back to the site and saw your response. Even took the time to read a few of your other posts.
Now, normally I don’t get into pissing matches with piss ants- it gets smelly and attracts more ants. But I will make an exception here.
Nothing about the character of the Senior Annenberg was intimated. I’m sure he never expected the termites to invade the sill plates of the foundation. Yet, they are chewing their way even higher. And in truth Ms Wallis Annenberg is on the board of trustees of USC.

I did suggest that one should follow the trail and would personally enjoy seeing full disclosure over the Obama, Ayers and Annenberg Challenge connection, the money and Fact Check.
Since you seem to fancy yourself a journalist, judging from your critiques, perhaps You could be the one to exercise some real journalistic integrity and forsake your sacred cows long enough to delve into these. (Guessing here that sacred cows won’t offend PETA types)
You could perhaps even include coverage as to how and why the MSM was co-opted by the leftists to sway an electorate (and would just as soon require you to be credentialed before you could even write a dissenting word in any public forum) and who then gives a reward to a gnome like Couric for a set-up hit piece (that’s real journalism).
Who knows. You could become the next Solzhenitsyn.

Maybe if Mr. Z had played the part of a paparazzi and gotten to the “private party honoring a public figure” with in your face strobe flashes he’d have fared much better.

OkieDoc on April 17, 2009 at 8:28 PM

Since USC is a private university they can set whatever rules they like concerning your presence on their property. It is no different that you tossing somebody off your property that you don’t want there.
Hawthorne

Really?

So if someone is walking down the side walk and happens to put their foot on my lawn I can whack em up side the head with a baseball bat?

Some how I don’t think that’s right.

For some reason I think if I whacked someone up side the head for putting a foot on my lawn, I think I would be in jail facing assault charges at a minimum.

DSchoen on April 18, 2009 at 12:26 AM

I did suggest that one should follow the trail and would personally enjoy seeing full disclosure over the Obama, Ayers and Annenberg Challenge connection, the money and Fact Check.

I don’t want to make assumptions and want to get this straight:

You think there is (or could be) an Obama/Ayers/Annenberg Challenge connection to Ziegler’s “arrest” on the USC campus?

If so, that has to be the dumbest thing I’ve read all week — and I’ve been on this site a lot over the past seven days.

Tom_Shipley on April 18, 2009 at 10:18 AM

come see the violence inherent in the system…

29Victor on April 18, 2009 at 4:02 PM

USC police are pretty sensitive to cameras on campus because of the film school there. Cinema students have to apply for permits to film (and their productions could be disruptive shooting on 16mm).

the_souse on April 17, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Not the same. The trouble with students are that they are idiots. I was once down a side mall off the main shopping drag, when a woman pulled me into her store by my arm and locked the door. She said there was an armed robbery going on with guys with shotguns. I then saw some guys run pass, dressed like cops with guns. I then saw real cops run pass and arrest the fake cops and fake robbers and charge them with filming without a permit.

Ziegler was in so since a disruption to anything except to leftard smugness.

Blake on April 18, 2009 at 6:24 PM

Ziegler was in so since a disruption to anything except to leftard smugness

.

Boy, I must be drunk!

Ziegler was not a disruption to anything except to leftard smugness.

Blake on April 18, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Here’s a reaction from an Annanberg student — and registered Republican (though, I assume he’ll likely be deemed a “RINO”).

http://brighthall.aol.com/2009/04/17/conservative-filmmaker-tries-to-get-arrested-succeeds/

Tom_Shipley on April 18, 2009 at 11:20 PM

Embarrassing blog post Ed…you’re better than this. Tom_Shipley hit the nail on the head. FWIW, USC is about as conservative as it gets in the world of academia.

dakine on April 19, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Nelson: Given your familiarity with the Cal Penal Code, I assume you are a criminal attorney or have been charged with this offense. The analysis is still weak.

johnnynucleo on April 17, 2009 at 5:23 PM

No johnny, I am a former law enforcement office in California, it was my JOB to know California law, it would be wisw for you to defer to those who DO know California law instead of accusing them to be criminals.

nelsonknows on April 20, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Try that “private property” argument in seeking to kick solicitors out of a mall or shopping center in California.

corona on April 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM

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