Photographers and Politicians

Nowadays it seems to be de riguer for celebs feeling a tad low on publicity oxygen to slap a pap, and the police always seem to have better things to do than investigate cases of assaults on photographers (perhaps because the officers are too busy assaulting those photographers who cover demonstrations – more on the event where this took place on My London Diary.) So it was good to hear (thanks to PDNPulse) that it isn’t open season for politicians to give us a kicking too – or at least not in the USA.

Douglas Bruce, a new qand already controversial Republican in the house from Colorado Springs, interrupted his public prayer at the start of the session in the Capitol, diverting his thoughts from the holy to the lowly photographer crouching rather too close to his feet for the photographers safety. Bible in hand, Bruce booted photographer Javier Manzano one in the knee, upset that he was being photographed during his prayers.

According to the report in The Denver Post, Bruce thinks its ok because he just “tapped him with the bottom of my shoe” and his assault didn’t leave the photographer squirming in agony – there was “no sound, no shriek, no anything” – clearly we need to make sure to squeal well, though that could be tricky should you happen to be knocked unconscious. Manzano actually didn’t seem to be badly hurt – you can see a video of the incident on CBS4Denver although it doesn’t show the actual impact – you see Bruce moving to take a fairly firm swing and hear a thump. And before you get to the action you do have to put up with some more thumping in an ad for medical heart testing.

Bruce is still refusing to apologise, adamant that it is the photographer who should apologise – presumably for doing his job of taking pictures and getting kicked. He continues to refuse despite a 5-1 ruling from a Capitol panel that the Speaker should request a formal apology from him for disrupting the dignity of the chamber. The panel also unanimously recommended that the House should censure him.

The Denver Post already has, with a columinst giving him the tag of ‘Girlyman’, because he “kicks like a little girl” and suggesting that in any other business his conduct would have led to suspension or dismissal.

The Denver Post prints a picture taken just before the kick by their own photographer, and it clearly gives Bruce a dignity that his subsequent action shows is unfounded. Manzano was working for the Rocky Mountain News, where his rather more straightforward picture appears with their feature on the incident.

As this article states “House rules allow the media full access to the floor where the incident occurred. No restrictions are placed on photographers during prayers or any other activities.” Of course, things are rather different in this country and it may perhaps be wise to give Gordon Brown a little more room.

Thinking of politics and the press, things are also different in Brazil.
Congress Brasilia
This picture shows is the area immediately next to the lower house in their Congress building, open to the public, where representatives stroll out from the chamber and are interviewed by the press. As for security, I did write my name and country in the visitor book, though I think this was probably optional.

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