Monday, August 29, 2011

Steve Chabot Meets Norman Rockwell

The other day I posted a piece about Rep. Steve Chabot's (R-OH) recent town hall meeting. During this town hall meeting, Chabot banned the use of cameras (though not media cameras) and even had a Cincinnati Police Officer confiscate equipment of those who tried to record the public meeting. This was all done for, as Chabot claimed, "security purposes" of those in attendance but as ThinkProgress pointed out, the real reason was so that people "didn't make a show" of the event.

The backlash from First Amendment advocates was intense and led to Chabot announcing that cameras would be permitted at his next event.

It is curious why some Conservatives claim to champion "personal freedom" while campaigning, but then deploy Orwellian tactics that are anything but open and honest when at a public event. Remember Ohio State Treasury Candidate Josh Mandel, whose staffer tried to block my camera during a public event in 2010? Or how about Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) who recently distributed a "blacklist" of local activists who may criticize him at town hall meetings?

It appears that Rep. Chabot has fallen in with the crowd who are first to preach love for the Constitution and love for protesters (especially when speaking to them), but who take a much different stance when it is time to put those words into practice.

This leads me to a reader submitted graphic that might make an appropriate campaign sign for Chabot in the future. The artwork on this one is credited to Roger De Bris, "with apologies to Norman Rockwell":

This piece is cross posted here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Chabot Bans Cameras at Public Town Hall Meeting "For Security Purposes"

Thinking about taking a camera to record Rep. Steve Chabot's (R-OH) next public town hall meeting? Think again! According to this report from ThinkProgress, Chabot banned constituents from filming the town hall meeting:

Fearing pushback on issues like ending Medicare and corporate tax dodging, Chabot took an extraordinary step in order to prevent a possible “Youtube moment”: he banned constituents from filming the town hall. Outside the town hall were multiple signs reading, “For Security Purposes, Cameras Are NOT Permitted.” In fact, on at least two separate occasions, middle-aged constituents who tried to record the public event had their cameras confiscated and were asked to leave.

Oddly, media were permitted to film the event which undercuts the claim that cameras were banned "for security purposes". What is the real reason for Chabot's ban on public filming of the event? ThinkProgress has the answer: one of Chabot’s staffers told ThinkProgress, they wanted to “prevent” people from “making a show” of the event. Indeed, Chabot and his staff were worried enough about citizens voicing their anger at his policies that they only accepted pre-screened questions chosen by the congressman’s staff.

Check out this video that was captured of Cincinnati Police confiscating cameras from citizens who were attempting to tape this public town hall meeting: