I, and all persons desiring, enjoy Constitutional protection of the human right to be the press. We have enjoyed that protection since December 15, 1791.
The First Amendment reads in significant part;
Congress shall make no law ...In so far as that law applies to the leadership of the APS;
abridging the freedom of ... the press.
The leadership of the APS shall promulgate no rule,The leadership of the APS, Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta in particular, have a need to restrict attendance at press conferences; to abridge the rights of the press.
regulation, requirement, directive, order, edict, or act
that abridges my right, or the right of any person desiring, to be the press.
Their restrictions have nothing to do with time, place and manner; the usual restrictions on the free exercise of First Amendment rights.
Armenta's interest is in avoiding situations where the leadership of the APS can be asked questions that they don't want to answer, however legitimate the questions are.
At the last presser, the reporters from the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV asked questions only about what APS wanted to talk about; all the good things that will be done with the recently acquired bond issue and mill levy money.
I was the only member of the press who asked a tough question.
The question was entirely legitimate but made the leadership of the APS feel uncomfortable; something Armenta is expected to prevent. It's where she earns her $100K+ salary.
I asked; Failed stewardship being an issue in the election;
What concrete plan to you have to directly address the issue of stewardship?Though every reporter there heard the response, I was the only one who reported it;
There is no concrete plan to address their stewardship failure.All the reporters who ignored the question and APS' response, will be invited to the next press conference; I will not.
It represents a violation of my rights under the First Amendment.
If I sue them over it, they will spend another $750K on lawyers and legal weaselry in another cost-is-no-object legal defense, in order to keep me from asking any more awkward questions at news conferences. In the end, they will lose. Taxpayers will be out three quarters of a million dollars and, no one in the leadership of the APS will have to admit any guilt, despite their manifestly obvious guilt.
Their friends in the media, Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz, Iain Munro at KRQE, Michelle Donaldson at KOB TV and, Mary Lynn Roper at KOAT, will spin the settlement casting me as the villain and their friends atop the twins at 6400 Uptown Blvd. as the victims.
They "media" enjoy their exclusive access to the leadership of the APS and are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain it; including asking softball questions at news conferences if need be.
They are unbound by any standards of conduct that preclude their acquiescence; not even the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Like the leadership of the APS, their own code of ethics is utterly unenforceable.
photos Mark Bralley