To: Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: Food For Thought
Isn’t it annoying – to say the least – to have to subject your constitutional freedoms to theatrical, unproductive and degrading scrutiny by bureaucrats, to no useful end?
A few minutes after 8 o’clock Monday morning, [MPR Reporter] Mukhtar Ibrahim started filing through the security line at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
It was a big day for Ibrahim, and figured to be a long one: Day one of a high-profile trial for three local men accused of plotting to join ISIS fighters in Syria.
Ibrahim and a reporter for the Star Tribune approached the security screening and offered their bags for clearance by a security officer. The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public.
If it saves even one life…!
Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.
Ibrahim didn’t argue and instead just collected his wallet, keys, and bag, and went to wait with public spectators. The way Ibrahim figures, he shouldn’t have even needed to flash the badge. He’s been covering cases there for a year and a half: These guys should recognize him by now.
People with a long, proven record of not abusing free speech are almost never a danger!
On Monday, once Ibrahim and the rest of the non-journalists observers there for the trial were let in, he simply walked across the courtroom to the area sectioned-off for members of the media and sat down. But the episode continued to eat at him.
“It messed up my mood the whole day,” Ibrahim said. “I was just really frustrated. I didn’t expect this.”
It is frustrating, isn’t it? Trying to go about your business, doing something you have a Constitutional right to do, and getting badgered by petty bureaucrats?
“I like to stick to the facts,” Ibrahim said, “so I’ll let people make their own conclusions of this.”
The obvious answer; force all reporters to take a background check.
That’ll fix it.
That is all.