Minnesota Governor Issues Public Apology for CNN Arrests

Tim Walz

Tim Walz

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) publicly apologized to CNN for the arrest of its news crew while covering an arrest stemming from the destructive protesting and looting Thursday night in Minneapolis. 

Related: CNN Crew Arrested

He had already apologized personally to CNN president Jeff Zucker. 

That came during a news conference during which he told the journalists he was "deeply apologetic." 

He said he didn't care why they had been arrested, it was unacceptable.  

Walz said the police could not take a heavy hand with the media and that, even when clearing an area, they must make sure they create a safe spot for journalists to tell the story.  

Related: PEN America Says CNN Arrest Was Dystopian

He made it clear that the reason for that space went beyond protecting journalists, though he said that was a priority. He said protecting those journalists ability to cover the story was "not because it was a nice thing, but because it is a key to how we fix it." 

That is because when people see reporters being arrested, they assume something is about to happen that the police don't want to be seen.  

Related: Twitter Tags POTUS Tweet About Shooting Looters

Walz also said President Trump's tweet--that he had advised Walz that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts"--was "not helpful." 

Chris Snowbeck, president of the Minnesota chapter of the
Society of Professional Journalists, suggested providing such space was critical. “Police, State Patrol and other law enforcement officers should be well aware of the importance of the media whose job it is to document and report on breaking news for the benefit of the general public," Snowbeck said of the arrests. "We implore the responding parties to alert their officers on the rights of the press and the necessity of their presence as they continue to report on the current unrest.”

CBS News tweeted its support for CNN Friday:


“It’s difficult to imagine what police needed as ‘confirmation that these individuals were members of the media’ beyond Omar Jimenez showing his press badge while he spoke into a CNN camera surrounded by his producer and crew,” said Committee to Protect Journalists Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “Journalists have a responsibility to report on matters of public interest, such as protests, and should be able to freely cover these events without fear of retaliation from authorities. These arrests ring of intimidation and are simply outrageous.” 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.