Friday, December 02, 2011
Star-Advertiser editors snip out positive parts of Occupy story
by Larry Geller
The Associated Press provides a variety of slants for newspaper editors to choose from. There are also sometimes variations on stories from which editors may choose. Yesterday the Star-Advertiser made its pick, and ran a story edited to basically suggest that the Occupy movement was damaged and would re-emerge at the 2012 national political conventions.
The essence of the story, if I may pick one paragraph as representative, might be this:
While some observers wondered whether the movement would wither without ground on which to make its stand, many protesters refused to concede defeat.
[Star-Advertiser, Bowed but not broken by evictions, Occupy demonstrators retrenching, 12/1/2011]
Of course, we don’t know who “some observers” are, and the article presents no evidence that protesters needed to concede defeat. Police have taken their tents and trashed encampments, but the Occupy movement has returned, just without tents. In other words, the police actions might be described as unsuccessful.
While the story ran in most papers with the headline “After raids, Wall Street protesters shift tactics,” the SA wrote the headline above. “Raids” is quite accurate. “Evictions” is not, since protesters have returned to raided locations without their tents, in many cases.
The AP story as posted on the web by other papers actually ends by noting that the movement is undaunted. The SA cut out all but one weak sentence from the story’s conclusion. The parts that did not appear in the SA showed that the Occupy movement is alive and well. Basically, the cuts changed the tone of the article completely.
Here’s what was cut out near the end (comparing with the version posted by the Anchorage Daily News):
They planned to protest outside a fundraising dinner by President Barack Obama on Wednesday night and a conference of aerospace executives Thursday that they branded a meeting of "war profiteers."
On Monday, Occupy protesters disrupted a session of the Washington state Legislature in Olympia. State troopers used stun guns against at least three people and issued 30 trespassing citations. In Bloomington, Ind., police arrested five protesters who tried to block the entrance to a recruiting event by JPMorgan Chase Bank at Indiana University's business school Tuesday night.
In St. Louis, protesters whose camp was broken up by police on Nov. 12 planned to march to the Federal Reserve Bank office on Thursday. John Mills, a technical writer, called the dissolution of the camp a minor setback.
"It's dampened some spirits, but I think people are just as passionate, just as excited and just as ready for change as they were before," Mills said.
In Atlanta, where protesters moved to a homeless shelter after police drove them out of Woodruff Park in October, organizer La'Die Mansfield said the group will participate in an international day of action in support of Egypt this weekend and occupy a home marked for foreclosure next week, as part of a national Occupy protest on that issue.
It doesn’t sound like the protests have withered, does it? It doesn’t look as though protesters have gone into hiding until the 2012 conventions. What you couldn’t read in the Star-Advertiser, what was selectively edited out, is the part that might have restored balance to an already flawed article.
Bottom line: we are not getting the full news. This is an example, right here in Honolulu, of selective editing that distorts the news.
Commercial media around the country have tried to play down the success of the ongoing Occupy movement, which is why we need alternative media such as Democracy Now.
The StarAdvertiser is owned by someone who belongs to the one percent, hence the slant. I suspect Disappeared News is not, hence the truth. :)
I strongly recommend this interview with Arundhati Roy for those of us trying to sort out our feelings about the current state of the Occupy movement:
Here is an edited excerpt:
I don't think the whole protest is only about occupying physical territory, but about reigniting a new political imagination....I think the movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters. We need to preserve the element of an intellectual ambush and a physical manifestation that takes the government and the police by surprise. It has to keep re-imagining itself, because holding territory may not be something the movement will be allowed to do in a state as powerful and violent as the United States."
Last night, I was at two different activist gatherings where I mentioned this interview with Roy and all three people I talked with were unaware of her! Oh my Gawd, no wonder people are so demoralized, they are unaware of this great, inspiring treasure in our midst!