Coverage in this newspaper of Rev. Gregory Drumwright’s march and protest from Sunday, November 29 was inhibited by a dozen or more of his supporters who attempted to prevent photographing or video recording Drum-wright’s speech when he stopped in front of the Judge J.B. Allen, Jr. Court House mid-afternoon.
As this newspaper’s publisher attempted to take pictures, various supporters – most with signs, placards, banners, or flags – maneuvered to stand in front of the publisher to prevent having him photographing or videotaping Drum-wright while he was speaking.
Wherever the publisher moved, the small crowd moved with him, sometimes blocking his path, but always putting up hands, signs, or other items to obstruct the camera’s view of Drumwright.
This went on for at least 15-20 minutes as the publisher tried various vantage points from around the group that was gathered, including cameras from various television stations, who faced no similar attempts to block their recordings.
Story continues below photographs.
But, if anything is ironic, surely it is that, at a rally dedicated to criticism of law enforcement for what he and his supporters claim to be efforts to impede their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble, they would then turn right around and try to prevent this newspaper’s exercise of our First Amendment freedom – in another part of the same amendment, freedom of the press.
The newspaper has posted online some of Drumwright’s comments, which can be heard from the audio recording made by the newspaper. But most of the video is obscured by the protesters holding signs to prevent any visual images of Drumwright.
This has to be the most bizarre reaction we’ve ever run across. We’re there to cover the event, and his own supporters tried to prevent that. What’s that all about?
Some of these supporters engaged in name-calling and other criticisms of the publisher and the newspaper, as well as uttering repeated profanities that would make the audio portion of the recording inappropriate for the general public.
Some of Drumwright’s supporters have taken the illogical position that our newspaper’s attempts to get ‘both sides’ of every story means that by including comments by critics (even black critics); getting the police and sheriff’s office version of events, such as why pepper spray was used at the October 31 event; or printing photographs (provided by law enforcement) that clearly show violations of his permit (by having gas cans and a gas-powered generator on county property) we’re antagonistic or biased against him.
As we explained at greater length in last week’s edition, we’re not. We’re just there to cover him and the events as they unfold, just as we were on Sunday.
Our role, as always, is to provide a more thorough, a more comprehensive, and more complete account than the surface or superficial efforts of some other media outlets. And maybe that’s also why some of his followers have become so hostile.
We don’t just accept the rhetorical platitudes that may satisfy some. Rather, we’re pressing for the details, the evidence behind some of his accusations.
And this much we do confess: we continue to find it puzzling, indeed, that there are not enough problems in Rev. Drumwright’s home county of Guilford for him to find enough to protest about back home, rather than coming to Alamance County – where he was born and lived as a child through teenaged years, but hasn’t for at least 20 years.
And, the fact that his entourage includes many, if not most, people who are not from Alamance County either makes us wonder what is really behind his and their efforts.
That consternation is only reinforced by the treatment we received on Sunday.