Saturday, October 15, 2011
Star-Advertiser fails us on Occupy Wall Street news
by Larry Geller
The AP story on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York was a clear case of selection bias by the Star-Advertiser editors. In fact, the story didn’t even mention “Occupy Wall Street” once—not once—but instead lead off by describing the protest as “Anti-Wall Street.”
Nor does the story note that there have been OWS protests in Honolulu, or give the schedule of large protests expected today, though that would be asking a bit much of this editorial staff.
The article also described a “showdown” between owners of the park and the protesters, but omitted the role of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the massive opposition, including a letter signed by thirteen members of the City Council, which, along with 300,000 or more signatures on a petition and phone and other contacts caused the Mayor to back off on his plans. It’s not clear that the Mayor has the power to enforce his rule changes on the grounds of a private park anyway:
This afternoon, thirteen members of New York city council signed a letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to let the Occupy Wall Street protesters continue to sleep in Zuccotti Park, calling the prohibition of sleeping bag and gear “an eviction notice and potentially an unconstitutional closing of a forum to silence free speech.”
[The New York Observer, City Council Members’ Letter to Bloomberg Regarding Zuccotti Park ‘Eviction’, 10/13/2011]
Versions of the AP story elsewhere on the web mention that Mayor Bloomberg’s girlfriend is on the board of directors of Brookfield, the privately-held real estate firm that owns the park. This was omitted from the S-A printed version.
A picture attached to the Star-Advertiser story does mention “Occupy Wall Street” but it shows a protester with his arm hooked around a police officer. Far more common are photos and videos of police abuse, including the videos of a “white shirt” police officer pepper spraying a group of women already “kettled” (corralled) and posing no threat. The same officer unleashed his spray against passersby on a sidewalk later. Videos have enshrined his unprovoked attack and earned him an infamous spot on Comedy Central.
The Star-Advertiser AP story describes an incident in which a police moped, apparently accidentally, runs over a man’s foot.
In one case, an observer with the National lawyers Guild who was marching with the group refused to move off the street for police, and the tip of his foot was run over by an officer’s scooter. He fell to the ground screaming and writhing and kicked over the scooter before police flipped him over and arrested him.
[Star-Advertiser, Sit-in site cleanup delayed as protests take tense turn, 10/16/2011]
Videos show that the police officer allowed the scooter or moped to remain on the man’s leg while he took out his baton and left the scene without rendering aid—so they guy was left under the wheel. In the video, which is obstructed by, guess what, people taking pictures and videos, another officer apparently moves in on the observer swinging his baton. Then yes, they flipped him, pressed him against the ground, and arrested him. He is clearly identified as a legal observer. A person on the scene reports that the police ran over him first with the front wheel and then continued with the rear.
Now, something like that would be a news report. Writing that “the tip of his foot was run over by an officer’s scooter” may or may not be truth, but it’s not accurate news.
Although the article did mention that protests are spreading, it immediately turned to describing how police have had to move in. It mentions nothing about the increasing numbers in most cities, and in particular in New York. With unions and other organizations bolstering the crowd, a police confrontation in the park had the potential to become bloody.
Enough, I guess. If you want news, try Google. I didn’t post any videos here because there are so many on the Internet. It seems that cameras are everywhere. Good thing, because nothing else has the potential to eventually rein in the police brutality that is documented but of course omitted from most of the mainstream press.
What’s happening locally? There are several groups and activities it seems.
Facebook: Occupy Honolulu
Meetup: Occupy Honolulu (with a statement)
There’s probably more happening. Today is Day 29 of the protests. Should be big news, huh?
Google. Check twitter. Stay informed. Watch Democracy Now for New York and some national news.
Media is controlled by financial interests/so called Gov partnership. Think GE, they own nuclear, financial, news. What could be more powerful than that?