Arrested Palin Documentarian: 'I Did Nothing Wrong'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Speaking of Governor Palin, Katie Couric received an award last night at the University of Southern California for her interviews during the 2008 campaign with the Alaska governor. Filmmaker John Ziegler, who slammed Couric's interviews as unfair in a recent documentary, went to the event and ended up in handcuffs.


JOHN ZIEGLER, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Escort me based upon - No, you're not. You're not going to escort me. You guys realize that you are breaking all sorts of constitutional

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not breaking any laws -

ZIEGLER: Well, I am not going to move. This is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Handcuff him and get him -

ZIEGLER: I am now trying to get my property, which are my movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will give you your property.

ZIEGLER: Sir, now you are taking my property.

Now, my wrist is being broken by this security guard. And all I am trying to do is ask questions of people about why they would come to this ceremony to honor Katie Couric for an interview that was not journalism, it was advocacy. This is amazing. This is the country we're now living in. And my wrist is being really hurt, dramatically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just cooperate. Stop struggling.

ZIEGLER: I am not doing anything. I am not resisting a damn thing. Go ahead and do whatever you want.

Apparently, my property --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let go of it, I'll --

ZIEGLER: You are taking --


ZIEGLER: I am being now handcuffed for standing on a sidewalk, asking questions. We are at an awards ceremony on journalism excellence. You can't get more irony than this. This is amazing.

What in the world is going on? This is insane.

Why? This is ridiculous. I am not going to leave here. I have done nothing wrong.


VAN SUSTEREN: Ziegler is the director of "Media Malpractice," the film he says shows the mistreatment of Governor Palin by the media during the 2008 election.

John Ziegler joins us live. John, let me ask a couple of questions. First of all, were you disturbing the peace, or were you trespassing, either one of those?

ZIEGLER: No. And I urge people to go to our Web site, where they can see the entire episode in its context at There is about 20 minutes of video there that is almost a real time. And they will see I did absolutely nothing wrong, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: What provoked this?

ZIEGLER: I would like to know what provoked this. I happen to believe this was provoked because I wrote an op-ed piece leading up to this award ceremony criticizing the fact that Katie Couric was being rewarded for alleged journalism that I believe was journalism of the type that should have been condemned.

And it is very clear that I had a bull's-eye on my back the moment that I arrived at the event. They had a barricade set up thinking that we were going to protest or something, which I had thought about doing but decided against.

And I just was there with a couple of cameras, wanting to ask questions, and wanting people to know what a farce this award was and how dangerous this was for the industry of journalism.

So I don't really understand what the rationale was. And, clearly, in the end, after telling me I was arrested and I was going to be booked, after deciding to let me go as long as I left the premises, clearly they knew that I had done nothing wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were any journalist allowed to cover this event, because, obviously, it seems a little peculiar that you would have journalism awards, and you would expect that journalists could cover it? Were other journalists allowed in there?

ZIEGLER: Yes, I ask that question, Greta, and I was told that only media outlets that had been invited by the award winners could be inside this event.

And, of course, we have the ultimate irony, where Katie Couric is getting an award for her Sarah Palin interview at the very same moment where I am trying to give people copies of my Sarah Palin interview who are entering the event so they'll know what a lie the Couric interview really was, and I can't do it, literally because my arms are behind my back, handcuffed.

I was shocked and amused at this at first, Greta. But now, I am angered and saddened. And this really doesn't have that much to do with me. I think this is about what's going on in this country and how things that were once unthinkable are now happening in almost ordinary ways and becoming acceptable.

There ought to be great outrage about this regardless of the political persuasion of the person who's simply there asking questions. And, of course, this is about journalism, which is absurd.

Watch Greta's interview with John Ziegler

VAN SUSTEREN: So you were not an invited journalist to a journalist event. I take it that you weren't trying to force your way in. Were you standing out on the sidewalk, and did they then say, "You to go," and you didn't go, so they handcuffed you? Is that what happened?

ZIEGLER: Well, Greta, it's an important point to make. I was told I was not allowed to go in the building. I never tried to go in the building.

So I said, OK, I will stand outside, and I will give copies of my movie "Media Malpractice" to anyone who enters, because I want them to know the truth of how ridiculous this Katie Couric award for the Sarah Palin interview was.

I was on the sidewalk away from anybody. There was no way I was blocking anybody's path. And I was refusing to move to where they wanted me, which would have been in a place where I couldn't have spoken to anybody or done anything at all, which was clearly an attempt to try to minimize me. I did nothing wrong, and I'm being told that I should pursue my legal rights, and I am thinking very strongly about doing so.

VAN SUSTEREN: I was just going to give you some free legal advice, because I saw the full tape and saw the marks on your wrists from the handcuffs. I was going to say, go find yourself a lawyer to explore it.

John, that's your free legal advice for coming on tonight. Not everybody gets it, but, anyway, John, thank you.

ZIEGLER: Thank you, Greta -

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