The courtroom where the trial of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs is taking place is a tiny place. So small they’ve had to assign seats. If you have a pass, you’re guaranteed a seat. There are about a dozen green passes for Warren Jeffs’ FLDS followers. There are a bunch of tan media passes. The photo passes are red, and there are only three of those. Then there are a limited number of yellow public passes. To get one of those, you have to show up at the crack of dawn and wait in line.
As for the media passes, it’s a pretty select group of writers and TV reporters who have covered polygamy or the Warren Jeffs for quite some time. But as I mentioned yesterday, there’s one “journalist” with a credential who has become quite close to the FLDS members who show up to support Warren.
First off, that’s not a big problem. Like I’ve said, there are writers from some publications who take positions on the issues they cover and write with an obvious slant to their writing. The FLDS community would certainly agree with that, as most of the coverage has been one-sided. Against them. I’d love to read something from their point of view.
I find that negative slant unfortunate and I try to be fair to all sides. But it’s also unavoidable when the insular FLDS refuse to respond to the charges leveled by their critics.
But back to the “journalist.” Last night the jury was called in at 8pm and there was a big crowd at the door to the court. About a dozen FLDS members were standing right at the front of the door, surrounded by cameras. And the “journalist” was standing with them. Here she is in her red high heels, standing next to an FLDS woman:
After a minute or so I noticed that every time a photographer (Jud Burkett of the Spectrum) lifted up his camera for a shot of the group, the “journalist” would move over in front of the FLDS woman, blocking the shot:
In all my years in this crazy field, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a member of the media blocking a camera like that.
And this “journalist” has one of the coveted tan media passes with its guaranteed seat in the courtroom. After seeing this, I really feel bad for the LA Times reporter who doesn’t have a pass and has had to show up to court at dawn every day, hoping for a public pass so he can do his job.
Write whatever you want. But if you actively prevent other media from reporting, your credential should be yanked immediately.