"Gasland" Director in Handcuffs

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 1 2012 5:07 PM

"Gasland" Director in Handcuffs

BONNEVILLE, Utah -- The 2010 documentary Gasland, a muckraking tour of towns that have had water supplies ruined (apparently) by hydraulic fracking, ends with some deeply undramatic scenes. Director Josh Fox set up his camera in some congressional hearings, with the (soon to expire) Democratic majority grilling energy industry representatives on the safety and ingredients of their craft. A camera pan reveals that no one else is really paying attention.

Problem solved. John Broder reports that Fox, now a fairly prominent activist, tried to film a quickly-scheduled hearing and was arrested and removed for lacking credentials.

Mr. Fox was released by the Capitol police shortly after 1 p.m. with a misdemeanor citation for, in his words, “practicing journalism.” He said in a telephone interview that he did not have to pay a fine or post bail. A court date was set for October.
Mr. Fox said that Wednesday’s hearing was scheduled on short notice and he tried to contact committee staff to get clearance to videotape it. He never got an answer, he said, so he and a videographer showed up at the hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, where they were told they could watch the hearing but could not tape it.

The photo is from this video of the incident.

There are strict rules governing who can and cannot film inside the Capitol itself. Inside House and Senate offices, though, there's no such standard; I've been to many hearings and events put on, mostly by conservative members, that were heavy with iPhone cameras and camcorders.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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