Commentary | Jason Mattera, the senior investigative reporter for Talk Radio Network, and a credentialed reporter, found out the hard way what happens when a journalist asks the Mayor of New York City a question that makes him uncomfortable. Mattera approached Bloomberg on the public sidewalk as the Mayor was leaving a meeting of U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington. After showing his credentials and introducing himself, Jason asked Bloomberg if he would disarm his security team in the spirit of gun control.
Granted that Mattera can be a bit pushy, having aggravated many prominent politicians with his obnoxious questions and aggressive behavior. He enraged Joe Biden when he tried to ask the Vice President why he wished that opponents of the Job Bill knew what it was like to be raped or robbed. Jason asks provocative questions, and tends to kept repeating them, until he either gets an answer, he gets run off by security or the subject stomps away in a huff.
In the case of Mayor Bloomberg, he actually had the grace to shake Mattera’s hand and told him he would have to get back to him on the question. The entire time Mattera was trying to interview the Mayor, Bloomberg’s rather huge and heavily armed body guards acted more like pro football linemen than professional security. Five of the NYPD officers assigned to protect the Mayor constantly jumped in front of the diminutive Mattera and bodied him out of the way.
As Bloomberg began to enter his SUV, one of the officers grabbed Mattera by the arm and began to push him down the street. Realizing that the interview was over, Matera began to walk away and that’s when the real fun began.
One of the Mayor’s security detail, Officer Stockton of the NYPD, followed Jason and his camera crew down the street and demanded identification from Mattera. The flustered reporter asked the annoyed officer if he even had jurisdiction in Washington and Stockton replied in the affirmative.
Stockton then tried to direct Mattera to another location to continue the questioning, but the exasperated reporter declined the request and once again showed Officer Stockton his press credentials. The police officer then demanded to see a picture id or drivers license. Mattera wisely complied, and once again, began to walk away.
A few moments later, Officer Stockton, who was about 20 yards behind Jason and obviously following him, loudly demanded Mattera’s date of birth. Jason told the officer that his DOB was none of his business, and continued to beat feet down the sidewalk, while proclaiming that he was being followed. At this point, Stockton finally turned away and the confrontation ended.
We all might wonder if this is standard security procedure for any journalist who dares to ask the Mayor an impertinent question, and more importantly, we wonder if the bully squad was acting on direct orders from Mayor Bloomberg. It does seem that reporters who make the political elite uncomfortable are occasionally singled out for a hands on demonstration of power.
In 2010, we witnessed North Carolina Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge attack a well dressed student journalist who politely walked up to him, holding a microphone, and asked him if he fully supported the Obama agenda. The unhinged Congressman gabbed the student by the arm, attempted to swat his video camera out of his hand, and when the student finally yanked his arm away, Etheridge tried to to apply a choke hold to the young man’s neck. Etheridge paid the price for his behavior, losing his seat in Congress in the next election.
A few days after the recent confrontation with Mayor Bloomberg, Mattera spoke to a former New York Prosecutor who claimed the NYPD officer had no jurisdiction to stop and interrogate the reporter. Jason happily tweeted the news to the world.
After all this transpired, Sean Hannity invited Jason Mattera to discuss the incident on Fox, but the conversation rapidly degenerated into a Liberal vs. Conservative shouting match. Democrat Christy Setzer attempted to justify the Mayor’s strong belief in gun control, and the use of his heavily armed security, by saying, “The average New Yorker is not the Mayor of New York City. There is certainly a big difference.” Setzer then claimed that the common citizen does not have the training of police officers and are therefore not qualified to handle guns for self defense.
Obviously, Ms. Setzer knows absolutely nothing about gun ownership or she would not be making such ridiculous claims. The vast majority of American gun owners know the rules of gun safety, practice more than the police, and many are considerably better shots than the vast majority of Bloomberg’s highly touted NYPD. Setzer compared advocates of the right to self defense to “vigilantes and overenthusiastic volunteers,” which is typical of the contempt liberals have for “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”
Watch this astonishing video and make up your own mind. Is America on its way to becoming a police state or is the security detail just being cautious? Is Jason Mattera just an annoying putz, as his critics claim, or was the freedom of the press violated by the Mayor’s bodyguards?