Below is an email exchange between Steve Albani of Comedy Central and Pajamas Media reporter Richard Pollack. Comedy Central informed them that camera crews that hadn’t been sanctioned by CC were going to be strictly prohibited from filming the event. Pollack’s rejoinder is priceless! [Update: Pollack has a piece up on Pajamas about this that is worth a read]

From: “Albani, Steve”
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 14:59:27 -0400
To: Richard Pollock
Subject: RE: DC Rally Update

Richard – you should have received notification yesterday. Unfortunately, due to extremely limited riser locations, we are not able to accommodate your request for credentials. However, the event is free and open to public so we encourage you to attend with the general audience.

Please note, taping for television or any other filming is strictly prohibited between 3rd and 7th Street without a media credential. The event will be broadcast live on Comedy Central and comedycentral.com and a clean feed will also be available by satellite – coordinates will be released when they are available. Please contact Renata Luczak to receive the satellite coordinates.

From: Richard Pollock
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2010 3:14 PM
To: Albani, Steve
Subject: Re: DC Rally Update

Dear Steve,

Thanks for your reply. Can we get media credentials without a riser position?

Yours,

Richard

From: Albani, Steve
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2010 3:15 PM
To: Richard Pollock
Subject: RE: DC Rally Update

The only camera crews that will receive credentials are those for the riser. We are not issuing any other TV credentials.

Sorry.

Steve

From: “Richard Pollock”
Date: Oct 29, 2010 6:33 PM
Subject: RE: DC Rally Update
To: “Albani, Steve”

Hi Steve,

Well your risers, you own. As Comedy Central, you have property rights and complete control over that. No one will deny you that. We are content, though disappointed with your decision to withhold media credentials to us.

However, the last I heard the First Amendment still does apply to America. It not only applies to TV hosts, show producers and to networks, but extends to the public and to events held on federal land. Yes, public lands! Although it may not make any sense to you at this moment, the National Mall is not a TV set, although it may look like one.

As the former chief Washington producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America” for nine years, let me assure you that you cannot bar cameras from public walkways on the Mall. It has never happened.

And so we will be there crew and all.

It does seem a bit incredulous that a rally for “reasonableness” should exclude freely based camera crews exercising their First Amendment rights to cover your attendees walking on public property. Unless this is Prague in 1968. And unless Comedy Central own tanks. Or unless it deploys a Comedy Police with enforcement powers.

On the other hand maybe I got this all wrong…I thought you were merely trying to be clever when you said it was a rally for fear. If is that, then I certainly understand your attitudes and rules.

See you tomorrow!

All the best,

Richard

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/rally-to-resore-sanity-pledges-to-strictly-prohibit-filming-at-national-mall-106355893.html#ixzz13rcJmq3r