cover art for Protests, the Police, and the Press

The Lawfare Podcast

Protests, the Police, and the Press

Carolyn Cole, a Pulitzer-Prize winning staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times, has covered wars and other conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Liberia, Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the course of her 30 year career, she has been seriously injured on the job precisely once—when members of the Minnesota State Patrol pushed Cole over a retaining wall and pepper sprayed her so badly that her eyes were swollen shut. Cole was in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020 to cover the protests after the murder of George Floyd. She was wearing a flak jacket marked TV, a helmet, and carried press credentials at the time of her attack. 

Cole’s story is not unique among the press corps. According to a new report out this week from the Knight First Amendment Institute called “Covering Democracy: Protests, the Police, and the Press,” in 2020, at least 129 journalists were arrested while covering social justice protests and more than 400 suffered physical attacks, 80 percent of them at the hands of law enforcement. As Joel Simon, author of the report and former Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, writes, “The presence of the media is essential to dissent; it is the oxygen that gives protests life. Media coverage is one of the primary mechanisms by which protesters’ grievances and demands reach the broader public.”

Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Joel, as well as Katy Glenn Bass, the Research Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, to discuss the report, the long legacy of law enforcement attacks on journalists covering protests in America, who counts as “the press” in the eyes of the court, and what can be done to better ensure press freedom. 

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Chatter: Fabric, Dyes, Glamour, and International Affairs, with Virginia Postrel

    Author and speaker Virginia Postrel has spent many years researching and writing about, among other things, various aspects of the economics and societal context of fashion, glamour, and consumer choice. A few years ago her book The Fabric of Civilization tackled the history and global effects of fabric-making, dyeing, the clothing trade, and other textile-related activities. So when host David Priess had his curiosity piqued by some displays at the International Spy Museum related to silk, dyes, and espionage, he knew who to call.David talked to Virginia about the origins of string and of fabric, togas in fiction and reality, the value of purple in the Roman Empire, the importance of fabrics for outfitting armies and making warships' sails, the development of weaving, how textile merchants led to the modern political economy, Jakob Fugger, Chinese silk and espionage, Spain's 200 year monopoly on vibrant reds, efforts to steal Spain' cochineal secret, the long history of indigo, French efforts to steal Indian indigo, the invention of synthetic dyes, modern sneaker culture and conceptions of value, Jackie Kennedy, fashion and glamour on the world stage today, and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The book The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelThe TV show The VikingsThe Chatter podcast episode Private Sector Intelligence with Lewis Sage-Passant, June 9, 2022Virginia Postrel's YouTube channelThe book The Power of Glamour by Virginia PostrelThe Star Wars prequel moviesThe TV show Game of ThronesThe TV show The RegimeThe article "Trump isn't just campaigning; He's selling his supporters a glamorous life" by Virginia Postrel, Washington Post, March 18, 20The movie The Hunger GamesThe book The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionThe book Fifth Sun by Camilla TownsendChatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
  • Sudan’s Forgotten Conflict with Reva Dhingra and Ciarán Donnelly

    One year ago, fighting broke out in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In the intervening months, the death toll and humanitarian cost have been immense. And yet, the suffering has gone largely overlooked by the United States and European nations. As U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently said, “Just five years after a revolution that offered a glimpse at a free, peaceful, democratic Sudan, people are losing hope. Aid workers have begun calling this conflict the forgotten war. Sudanese children are asking why the world has forgotten them.”To learn more, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Reva Dhingra, a Policy Adviser at the International Rescue Committee, and Ciarán Donnelly, a Senior Vice President for International Programs, also at the IRC. They discussed the roots of the current conflict, the spillover effects, and the exacerbating effects of climate change. They also heard about what Ciarán saw on his recent trip to the Sudan-Chad border. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Matt Olsen Debriefs on FISA 702

    Last week, the House passed an overhaul and reauthorization of the FISA 702 program, a bill which now heads to the Senate for final passage. In the run-up to Senate consideration of it, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matt Olsen joined Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk about the House bill. They talked about the new constraints it imposes on the Justice Department and the FBI, what it doesn't do, the warrant requirement that isn't there, some other provisions that have generated controversy, and the bill's prospects in the Senate this week.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • FISA 702 Passes the House

    Friday morning, the House of Representatives suddenly—after failing to do so earlier in the week—took up the reauthorization of FISA 702. They considered a bunch of amendments, one of which failed on a tie vote, and then proceeded to pass reauthorization of 702. Immediately after the votes, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare Senior Editors Stephanie Pell and Molly Reynolds, and Lawfare Student Contributor Preston Marquis. They talked about how the center beat the coalition of the left and right on the key question of warrant requirements for U.S. person queries, about whether the civil liberties community gained anything in this protracted process or whether the administration just kicked its butt, about what happens now as the bill goes back to the Senate, and about all the little details that went into this bill. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Everything You Need to Know Heading Into the Trump Trial in New York

    Today marks the start of the first criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City. Trump is facing 34 felony counts for his alleged falsification of business records related to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and others after the 2016 election. After months of pretrial hearings, motions to dismiss and for an adjournment, motions for recusal, and more, jury selection in the case begins today.In light of today’s events, Lawfare Associate Editor Katherine Pompilio sat down with Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien, and Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff who will be covering the trial at length. They discussed the case’s background, Trump’s various attempts to delay the proceedings, how jury selection will work, our plans for covering the trial, and more.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Rational Security: The "Eldritch Portents" Edition

    This week on Rational Security, Alan and Quinta were joined again by Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds to talk over the week’s national security news, including:“The 702nd Time’s the Charm?” Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally set to expire on December 31, 2023. But somehow, Congress has managed to keep kicking the can down the road—and we’re once again in the middle of an argument about whether and to what extent the legislature should reform the bulk surveillance authority. How did we end up here, and is there any indication that Congress will manage to pass a lasting reauthorization in some form this time around?“Magic Mike.” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s troubles don’t stop with FISA, however. He’s also tangled up in a prolonged dispute with his caucus over the U.S. aid to Ukraine—which is becoming a matter of rapidly increasing urgency, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning that his country “will lose the war” if the aid is not approved. Johnson now says he’ll put his own aid package on the table, still tying that aid to another tranche of aid to Israel. But will the House actually vote this time, or is this just another head fake?“Finally, We Can Talk About Linux.” A few weeks ago, a single software engineer alerted the world to an alarming discovery: malicious code inside a key piece of Linux software that, had it gone undetected, could have caused a catastrophic cyberattack. What on earth actually happened here? And what could stop it from happening again?For object lessons, Alan recommended an adorable giraffe growth chart for keeping track of your child's height. Quinta took a cue from Molly and endorsed a podcast by a local NPR affiliate—“Lost Patients,” a series about mental health care from KUOW and the Seattle Times. And Molly shared a story about misprinted pens from the Clinton impeachment trial, as told in Peter Baker’s book "The Breach."Other references from this week’s show:A chart explaining how dark it gets during a total solar eclipseBruce Schneier’s Lawfare article about the XZ Utils backdoorTo receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: Jury Selection Starts Monday

    It's another episode of “Trump's Trials and Tribulations,” recorded on April 11 in front of a live audience on YouTube and Riverside. Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic sat down with Legal Fellow Anna Bower and Senior Editor Roger Parloff to talk about the upcoming jury selection in the hush money case against Trump in New York City and what Judge Cannon is up to in Florida, including her ruling on whether to unseal witness names. They also checked in on Fulton County to see what Fani Willis was up to and talked about Jack Smith's brief to the Supreme Court in Trump's presidential immunity defense. And of course, they took audience questions from Lawfare Material Supporters on Riverside.To receive ad-free podcasts and to be able to submit a question to the panelists, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Archive: Daniel Reisner on Law, Security, and Peace in the Middle East

    From January 17, 2015: This week, Ben Wittes and Matt Waxman sat down with Daniel Reisner, former head of the International Law Branch of the Israeli Defense Forces and current partner with Herzog, Fox and Neeman. Reisner has also served as a senior member of Israel’s peace delegations over the years, participating in negotiation sessions and summits including those at Camp David. He continues to advise senior members of the Israeli government on a variety of issues relating to international law and operational security issues. Colonel Reisner was in New York on a visit sponsored by Academic Exchange for a series of events and discussions on contemporary national security challenges. His experiences set up a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from the law of targeted killing to the role of morality in operational law advice.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Jack Goldsmith and Bob Bauer on Reforming the Insurrection Act

    The Insurrection Act is a provision that allows the president to deploy the U.S. military for domestic law enforcement. It’s been invoked dozens of times by presidents to respond to crises in the over 230 years that it’s been around, but it hasn’t been reformed in centuries. In recent years, the Insurrection Act has come back into public focus because of its implication in a number of domestic crises, prompting a renewed conversation about whether it’s finally time to curb the sweeping powers afforded to the executive in this unique federal law.On April 8, the American Law Institute released a set of principles for Insurrection Act reform, prepared by a group of 10 individuals with backgrounds in constitutional law, national security law, and military law. The co-chairs of this group were Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare Co-Founder and Harvard Law School Professor, and Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law. They joined Lawfare Associate Editor Hyemin Han to talk about the history of the Insurrection Act, to parse out the recommendations the American Law Institute is making for reform, and to make the case for reforming the act in 2024. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at