A viral video posted on YouTube on Monday by Mark Schierbecker shows Concerned Student 1950 protesters at the University of Missouri blocking journalists from covering the continuing protests over racial tension that led MU president Tim Wolfe to resign.
In the video, protesters can be seen swarming student journalist Tim Tai, who according to The Washington Post was covering the protests as a part of a freelance reporting gig for ESPN.
“Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go,” chanted the protesters, who claimed that the journalists were invading their privacy by filming their public protest without their permission.
“The First Amendment protects your right to be here and mine,” Tai said.
As the tensions in the video escalate, the mob of protesters can be seen pushing Tai away from the protest encampment. “You’re pushing me!” he warned.
At the end of the clip, a woman identified by The New York Times as University of Missouri assistant professor of mass media Melissa Click is seen ordering Schierbecker to leave, grabbing his camera, and shouting, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.”
Tim Tai told the New York Times, “We’re documenting historic events with our photographs, and when people are crying and hugging when Wolfe resigns, it becomes a personal issue that people all over the country can connect with. It’s my job to help connect those people to what’s going on.”
Truth in Media spoke exclusively with Mark Schierbecker, who filmed the video. “It seems to me that the idea that we are supposed to only care about Concerned Student 1950 and not free speech is a false one. There is no reason journalists can’t have their moment without detracting from the racial debate. It is not a zero-sum game,” he said.
A tweet by the Concerned Student 1950 protest group explained the rationale behind its effort to prevent journalists from covering the protest encampment, “We ask for no media in the parameters so the place where people live, fellowship, & sleep can be protected from twisted insincere narratives.”
Another Concerned Student 1950 tweet read, “If you have a problem with us wanting to have our spaces that we create respected, leave!“