Last week, the media-advocacy group Free Press hosted an online seminar to forecast the shitstorm that will likely transpire at both conventions. It was depressing; Andy Sellars of the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard reported that, despite prolonged attempts to engage in discussions ahead of time, "Charlotte and Tampa have not indicated at all whether [journalists are] going to be able to get behind police lines." In other words: writers, photographers, livestreamers, and all those in between can expect to be treated like everybody else in the streets — like human garbage.

"The police are not constrained by the law, and they have no regard for the law," said John Knefel. An independent journalist and co-host of the Radio Dispatch podcast, Knefel helped facilitate the Free Press seminar on account of his being arrested while covering Occupy Wall Street last December. "They're just acting on pure authoritarian impulse. . . . If they say, 'Don't stand there,' it's not because of some Supreme Court decision. It's because they want to get you off the street – whether you're a journalist or an activist."

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