Cartoonist Susie Cagle — who was previously teargassed during another confrontation — was arrested as part of the Occupy Oakland protest on Wednesday night. Cagle was not there as a protester, but as a reporter, covering the scene for According to Cagle’s father, Cagle was arrested despite having a prominent press pass and the arresting officer actually knowing her and her work.

After being held overnight at Santa Rita Jail, Cagle was released, and charged with the misdemeanor of “present at raid.” On her Twitter stream, she mentions she’s currently trying to retrieve her wallet and housekeys from the Oakland police.

ABC news has a video interview Cagle on the event.

For those covering this new item, the arrest of a clearly marked media person covering the event seems troubling…well, a lot of this whole Occupy Oakland matter seems troubling.

Cagle’s Twitter stream — which was maintained by her partner while she was in jail — is the best source for accurate information regarding the matter. As she points out, she has worked for media outlets Alternet, Truthout and more in the past, and has delivered comics journalism for Cartoon Movement in the past.

As she mentions in the news piece above, Cagle intends to continue covering Occupy Oakland — hopefully she’ll be reporting on the headlines more than making them in the future.


  1. Agreed. Conflict. Is she a protestor or a reporter? If she’s been a protestor in the past, by her own admission, then I don’t know if it’s possible to jump back to Reporter, especially that quickly.

  2. I don’t believe that she was ever a protestor for this particular ‘movement’. She’s also addressed that concern before in her Twitter feed (which I’m sure could be found if someone cared to check on that).

  3. So one day I go to the protest. Talk to people. Then I have dinner with some friends, one of whom happens to be an editor for a local paper, finds an anecdote I’m telling to be good and knows I write, so she hires me to freelance a story the next day.

    One day I’m a “protester”, the next I’m a reporter. Not really that hard to imagine.

    Even if you find some inane ethical quandry in that situation, criticize the article when it comes out for bias, but a reporter with prominently displayed press credentials should be pretty hands off unless they are holding a whip and a bullhorn spurring a riotous horde onward.

  4. From one of the linked interviews:

    Q. Are you presenting yourself as media?

    Cagle: Yeah, yeah. It’s a weird thing, but I think that’s the most appropriate thing to do. If I weren’t a member of the press, I would be protesting. But I’m more valuable to the Occupy movement as a member of the press than as a demonstrator.

    People think that I’m a protestor, and when you’re out there, you kind of have to look like one, because you have to cover your mouth with scarf for the teargas. So everyone kind of looks the same and is being attacked the same.

    Q. So you don’t consider yourself a protestor, since you’re there as media? Is it possible to be both?

    Cagle: I think I’d maybe consider myself an activist-journalist. But I think if I say that I’m a protestor and that I’m explicitly part of this occupation, then that doesn’t give me as much credibility.

    Q. You’re throwing any semblance of objectivity out the window.

    Cagle: Totally.

  5. @Bad Wolf–

    One needn’t be objective to be orderly; you can have an interest in what’s at stake without taking any more direct action than to chronicle it.

  6. I don’t think anyone’s ever criticized Ed Murrow and his team for being overtly pro-Allies. Contrary to what some (read: the conservative press) try to claim, as long as journalism is accurate and intellectually honest (the second is where the majority of conservative media outlets fail), a paticular reporter’s personal biases are irrelevant.

  7. I’ve been covering Occupy Oakland as a journalist since October 10, the first day the camp was established. I am an opinionated reporter, but I don’t consider myself an activist in this context, and I’m careful to make this distinction to everyone I speak with at the plaza. I’m sorry for those in this comment stream who are still confused.

  8. People get confused because most media outlets like to present themselves as being “unbiased” and “objective.” Which is a load of bilge, because everyone has biases. Give me a journalist who is up-front about her biases, so I can interpret what she writes with those biases in mind, over a so-called “objective” reporter who keeps his biases secret.

    Susie, I may or may not agree with your politics but to my mind you are indeed a bona-fide journalist.

    And the cops’ actions here are not only troubling, they’re dog-butt stupid, for they will spread sympathy for the protesters among most of the other journalists covering the story.

  9. “The arrest of a clearly marked media person … seems troubling”

    Hey, here in Nashville, Tenn., the state troopers arrested a local reporter covering the protest. Fortunately, the judges here have ruled the arrests invalid and ordered everyone released.


    I’m rather surprised (and dismayed) by the lack of interest shown in this by most comics fans. Maybe they don’t want to deal with the real world on pop culture blogs. Maybe they’re afraid the Occupy movement will demolish Marvel and DC. I dunno.

    But we comics fans should note that the Guy Fawkes mask has become the symbol of the Occupy movement. And the protesters probably didn’t discover Fawkes through history books. They no doubt found the image through “V for Vendetta” (the graphic novel and/or the movie).

    Alan Moore predicts the future again. Didn’t he have the US fighting in Afghanistan in “Watchmen”?

  11. “a reporter with prominently displayed press credentials should be pretty hands off unless they are holding a whip and a bullhorn spurring a riotous horde onward.”

    Word. Just because Susie has dispensed with the illusion of “objectivity” does not disqualify her as a journalist. For that matter, corporate media outlets are no less biased just because they take dictation from government and business spokespeople.

  12. If she looks like everyone else, acts like everyone else and is in fact in support of the activities around her, why would she be treated any differently than anyone else, “press pass” or no? Or should the protesters simply mass-produce press passes for themselves?

  13. @Bad Wolf–

    Per your own emphasis in the previous comment: “I’m more valuable to the Occupy movement as a member of the press than as a demonstrator.”

    So I presume that she was NOT acting like “everyone else”, she was observing and documenting. THAT is why she should be treated differently than the protestors–she’s not protesting, she’s documenting.

    Surely you don’t believe that on the battlefield, for example, that journalists should also be targeted by the opposing side? What about medical personnel? They “look like” the other side, so they must be fair game?

  14. “Activist-journalist” is an oxymoron.

    Journalists are supposed to strive for impartiality, truth and accuracy.

    Activists, on the other hand, inherently have problems meeting the basic tenets of journalism, since they only selectively report or spin the facts that help their case and/or makes the other side look heavy-handed or evil.

  15. “Susie has dispensed with the illusion of ‘objectivity'”

    Which makes her far more honest than people who pretend their own bias is a well reasoned objectivity.


    Here is Frank Miller’s diatribe about Occupy Wall Street. The man has overdosed on Tea Party kool-aid.

    I don’t know what to say, except that I won’t be buying any more of his comics. I suggest that Frank turn off Rush Limbaugh, find something to watch besides Fox News, and maybe leave his mansion and go talk to those protesters. They probably grew up reading his comics.