MIKE BURKE: Well, we were up on the fifth floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This is the site of the Republican National Convention. And Hany Massoud, our cameraperson, and I—we spent most of the day walking along the hallways where the corporate suites are, you know, trying to find politicians and campaign donors and various other people to speak with. Near the end of the evening, we were walking down the hall, where we see Sheldon Adelson, who of course has played a critical role in this year’s election. He’s already donated tens of millions of dollars, first to Newt Gingrich’s campaign, then to Mitt Romney’s campaign. And so, we attempted to ask him a question, and we got two questions in.
And then what happened, it just—it really shocked me. A woman that was standing right behind Sheldon Adelson, who we later learned that apparently was his daughter, she stopped and then forcibly pushed herself back into me, where I lost my footing. And then, from there, she went over to Hany Massoud, our cameraperson, and actually grabbed the camera. And we were—she was only about two or three feet away from the suite where they were going to be watching the convention speeches. And she attempted to go into the suite, into the door, with the camera. Hany said something along the lines of, you know, "What you doing? This is our camera." And then, at that point, she drops the camera on the ground, and you heard that sound. She goes into the suite, and there’s some commotion outside. We actually have some audiotape—I mean, it’s videotape, but it’s from Hany’s camera. And at that point, we weren’t sure if Hany’s camera was broken or not. And we actually still aren’t sure. I mean, it was—it forcibly fell on the ground. But we have some tape. I think it’s important to hear. It’s a little bit unclear at times who is speaking, but there’s two times in this tape where Sheldon Adelson’s daughter comes out from the suite and actually apologizes to us. And this, of course, is after several—
AMY GOODMAN: This is after she body-slams you, steps back into you?
MIKE BURKE: "Body slam" might be a bit—that might be a bit too much, but she definitely, you know, stopped and then went back with force.
AMY GOODMAN: Into your body?
MIKE BURKE: Right, in an attempt so that I could not ask a question of Sheldon Adelson, who, of course—I mean, regular viewers of Democracy Now! might know, he—very infrequently does he speak to the press. So, for us, it was a very rare chance to speak to such an influential figure.
That was "Democracy Now!" reporter Mike Burke speaking with independent journalist and Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" host Amy Goodman about what happened to him when he just tried to ask Sheldon Adelson a few questions. Wow. Is this something, or what?
What's so disgustingly funny about this is that it highlights the radically changed playing field in this election. How did this reclusive multi-billionaire who makes his money off Las Vegas conventioneers, "reality TV professional partiers", and high rollers, as well as "The Macau Mafia" and the good graces of the "Communist" Chinese government, become such a central figure in so many campaigns throughout America? And especially since he's on a mission to deliver both The White House and Congress to Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan, don't "we the people" deserve to get some questions answered by his operation?
And the Republicans in Tampa actually have the nerve to whine about "lost liberty". So what exactly do they want to call this blatant attempt to silence the press and violate someone else's free speech rights? Remember this next time a G-O-TEA politician waxes poetic on "freedom" and "liberty".