The chilling Steve Baker precedent for American journalism

by WorldTribune Staff, March 7, 2024

On March 1, investigative reporter Steve Baker was arraigned before a federal magistrate, accused of crimes stemming allegedly from the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

On J6, Baker was an independent journalist and online commentator who had 40,000 followers on Facebook.

Investigative journalist Steve Baker was arrested by the FBI on March 1. / Video Image

Baker was inside the Capitol on J6 and covered the story for his audience. Video he captured that day would eventually be used by The New York Times and HBO, among others.

Baker is now charged with four federal misdemeanors: Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

“This isn’t about some right-wing journalist who was allegedly in a restricted area. Hundreds of other journalists were in restricted areas that day, too. And they have not been charged with a crime,” Blaze Media Editor In Chief Matthew Peterson wrote on March 6.

Soon after becoming editor in chief at Blaze Media, Peterson hired Baker as a reporter “because of what he had accomplished since that day.”

In August 2023, the Biden Department of Justice ordered Baker to turn over all video he shot at and near the U.S. Capitol on J6.

Baker had said in interviews immediately after the events of J6 that he spent 35 minutes inside the Capitol recording video. He said he went in about 10 minutes after the first West Door breach and then left at 3 p.m.

Baker told then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson in March of last year that he was at the Capitol on J6 to report on the events as a journalist.

“I was eventually I believe targeted, not because I was there as a journalist, but because my story did not comport with the approved narrative.”

Legacy media outlets like The Associated Press covered Baker’s arrest, but “they refuse to mention his actual work,” Peterson noted.

Reviving the American Free Press

Peterson continued: “Did you know that two key witnesses, both law enforcement officials at the time, in one of the most important trials of all the January 6 cases, appear to have perjured themselves? Did you know that the unjustly celebrated Capitol Hill Police Officer Harry Dunn, who wrote a book filled with lies about his experience that day, is now running for Congress?

“In a just world, Steve would be receiving awards for those groundbreaking stories. Instead, he was cuffed and put into chains next to an alleged methamphetamine dealer brought up on felony charges. The government held his misdemeanor charges over his head for years, and prosecutors did not move on them until after he was hired by Blaze Media and began reporting for us. They did not even tell him what the charges were until he was needlessly handcuffed and shackled.

“Do the remaining adults at The New York Times and the Washington Post realize that this precedent will — not potentially but certainly — be used against them? If Donald Trump died tomorrow, and no Republican ever won the White House again — if we lived forevermore in a national one-party state run by Democrats — does anyone seriously believe that those in power will refrain from ending the First Amendment rights of journalists they disagree with if they can get away with it?”

Blaze Media has also obtained video footage showing Baker inside the Capitol as he reported on the unfolding events.

“You can judge for yourself if he’s guilty of a crime,” Peterson wrote.

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