Yasmeen Serhan, writing for The Atlantic on the assaults journalists have come under in modern America.
Being a Washington correspondent is among the most prestigious postings available to international journalists—a reward that is typically reserved for an outlet’s most senior or highest-profile journalist. To be a Washington correspondent means keeping up with the unpredictable and tumultuous pace of American politics and, more recently, making sense of President Donald Trump’s broadside attacks on both the countries they report from and, often, the media itself.Serhan, Yasmeen. (2020, June 19). The ‘Absurd’ New Reality of Reporting From the U.S.. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/06/journalists-united-states-press-freedom/613120/
Still, the role has never been considered a particularly risky one. “The worst thing they would have to do is sit through interminable hours in the Senate waiting for [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to say something,” Robert Mahoney, the deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told me.
No longer. In recent weeks, journalists—both domestic and international—have been subject to unparalleled attacks on press freedom across the U.S. Several of these incidents have involved the detention and arrest of people who identified themselves as members of the press. Others have been considerably more violent, involving the targeting of journalists with rubber bullets and chemical irritants. A photojournalist was permanently blinded in one eye as a result. Like Floyd’s death, many of these incidents have been caught on camera.
For foreign media, who have been among those assaulted, targeted with rubber bulletsand tear gas, and arrested, the government’s response to the protests—upwards of 400media-freedoms violations have been reported since the demonstrations began—is shifting perceptions of what it means to be a journalist in America.