15 July 2012

WTF? DOJ Attorney Threatens Reporter At Public Hearing?

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From Denny:  Turns out that President Obama's "transparency in government" does not seem to apply to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and at a public hearing.  Talk about obnoxious and a denial of the freedom of the press.  A newspaper reporter from The Daily Iberian was actually denied his civil rights - and publicly by a DOJ attorney at a public meeting.

This is downright bizarre.  Since when does the DOJ have the right to deny a reporter to record, take notes or quote one of their attorneys who is making public comments at a public hearing?  That is exactly what happened.  Who died and made the DOJ God?  The arrogant attorney's name is Rachel Hranitzky and this happened in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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DOJ Attorney Hranitzky became "belligerent and threatening" when the reporter, Matthew Beaton, inquired as to why he was not allowed to record and quote her comments.  The public hearing was 12 June and about the New Iberia Fire Department's hiring and promotion practices.  Talk about small town.  Why the big deal?

Most of what happens here in my state of Louisiana is far from earth-shattering or interesting, so this little corner of  Local Weird News sure caught my curiosity.  It was nothing but a public hearing about a federal consent decree governing the city's operation of its fire department.  Hunh???  And why is this suddenly so Top Secret?

DOJ Attorney Hranitzky got downright Nazi SS Hitler Clone when she demanded that Beaton would be told to leave City Hall and the public hearing if "he didn't comply with her directive."  Can the DOJ get any more obnoxious and full of themselves?

Hranitzky responded arrogantly with the follow-up and public threat, "Then [the Justice Dept] can call your editors and publisher at the paper - and trust it that you don't want to get on the Department of Justice's bad side," she claimed.

Well, it didn't take Managing Editor Jeff Zeringue, of the The New Iberian newspaper, very long to respond to that public threat.  He fired off a June 15th letter to Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division to complain about the reporter's ill treatment by their representative.  


From editor Zeringue to the DOJ civil rights department:  "We are appalled that the Department of Justice would attempt to prohibit or limit media coverage, or worse, attempt to intimidate U.S. citizens - at a public meeting."


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Here it is now almost a month later and no response from the Justice Department until this week.  A department spokeswoman, Nanda Chitre, claimed that Hranitzky "never attempted to alter or stop a news story."  Yeah?  Sure didn't look like that to me - or anyone attending that meeting.  

And, if that lying statement were true, then why didn't the newspaper ever quote her from the very meeting of which she demanded they not quote her?  Go ahead; insult our intelligence a second time and try to explain that one away.  Of course, the DOJ did try to do just that. 
 
Spokeswoman Chitre stated, "The reporter from The Daily Iberian not only was present for the entire meeting, but the newspaper published multiple articles related to the meeting using quotes attributed to a department attorney."

So, what's wrong with this response?  Let me count the ways.  Hranitzky threatened the reporter that he would be kicked out of the public meeting if he dared to quote her directly.  Obviously, he no longer challenged her at that meeting so he remained.  Nor did he quote her directly later in any articles published about the meeting.  Double talk, folks, to distract away from the main issue:  threats and bullying.

Since Hranitzky thinks it's perfectly fine to be so heavy-handed in her treatment of anyone outside of her nasty little clique at the DOJ, and especially a member of the press, let's see how she enjoys a turn about is fair play scenario.  Obviously, this attorney is not emotionally mature enough to hold her job.  It's time to call for her resignation. 
  
There are copious amounts of other attorneys with the wisdom to not go around threatening people - at a public hearing - that would do a far superior job.  How stupid can you get?  It's time Americans can expect to have people in government positions that will conduct themselves appropriately.   


Bullying is unacceptable.  Throwing her weight around to show off is despicable.  Let her DOJ superiors show her the door.  It's obvious she is in need of some Humble Pie.  There is nothing like a terrible job market in a sagging economy to teach her the lesson of her life.  In the private sector her bad attitude would never be tolerated. 
 


Meanwhile?  The DOJ is still stiff-arming the editor and Louisiana politicians who are outraged at this behavior from a federal government attorney at a public hearing.  The DOJ has yet to formally respond to the editor's letter of complaint, denying press freedom and the reporter's civil rights.  


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