Nov
21
2011

It's True: Cops Beat Protesters Even Before OWS

New York Times media reporter David Carr has written some interest pieces on Occupy Wall Street. His piece today tries to work out where things go from here, but one comment in the piece about how Occupy Wall Street compares with protests of the past caught my attention: There were citizens screaming invective about the rich while being confronted by the police in riot gear, the kind of spontaneous uprising we have not seen in almost half a century. Huh. This is used to explain why the mainstream media found OWS so newsworthy. But I remember things like this happening, […]

Nov
18
2011

The Kind of Journalist Authorities Don't Mind Not Suppressing

When the authorities are going out of their way to keep your journalistic colleagues from witnessing what they're up to, yet they reach out to give a ringside seat–what does that say about your reporting? That's the question raised by a blog post by Yves Smith (Naked Captialism, 11/16/11) that makes the case that the NYPD offered special access to journalists from the New York Times, tipping them off ahead of time to the force's secret mobilization at South Street Seaport prior to the pre-dawn November 15 raid. This New York Times photograph appears to be taken under the FDR […]

Nov
16
2011

Crackdown on Journalists at Occupy Wall Street

One more thing about free speech hero Michael Bloomberg's shutdown of Occupy Wall Street. During the early morning raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp journalists were blocked from covering much of what was happening. Josh Stearns from Free Press has a rundown–as he points out, "By dawn, 10 journalists, including reporters from NPR, the Associated Press and the New York Daily News, had been arrested." There was a good local TV news segment about the media clampdown, courtesy of the New York NBC affiliate. It's rare to see an image like this on your TV screen (click the image […]

Nov
16
2011

WaPo and Occupy 'Infestation'

All right, which newspaper posed this question about the Occupy protests today: Is this an occupation or an infestation? Has to be the New York Post, right? Nope–they wouldn't include a question mark. That's the Washington Post, which went on to report that "recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter." And that Post's Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch explain that they're not the only ones who feel this way: In the wake of so much controversy, the Occupy movement–which began as a populist uprising to represent all but the wealthiest 1 percent–has begun to lose some […]

Nov
16
2011

Michael Bloomberg, Free Speech Hero?

The New York Times, writing about Bloomberg's crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, said this: For the mayor, a champion of the First Amendment…. I am not sure what is required to deserve the title of "champion," but was it a different Michael Bloomberg who was mayor during the 2004 Republican convention, which saw mass arrests, preventive detention and surveillance/infiltration of protest groups? What's next–Bloomberg the Fourth Amendment champion?

Nov
04
2011

NY Post to Mayor: Reclaim New York's 'Dignity'

Yesterday the New York Post–Rupert Murdoch's down-market tabloid, for those who are blessed to live beyond its circulation area–ran this front-page editorial demanding that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg shut down the Occupy Wall Street encampment to reclaim the city's "dignity": Uhh…. that message would be coming from the paper that ran this dignified cover, waaay back in August: And don't forget the Post's Iraq War weasels covers: And why not this, while we're at it? And let's not forget the paper's stellar work during the Anthony Weiner scandal: "Weiner Exposed," " Hide the Weiner," "Weiner: I'll Stick It Out" […]

Oct
31
2011

Up Is Down, Down Is Up: Bill O'Reilly Explains OWS

On his Friday night show, Bill O'Reilly took his viewers to a magical place–one where the right-wing Koch brothers have no connection to the Tea Party movement, while Occupy Wall Street is a secret project directed and financed by the likes of Moveon.org, SEIU and George Soros. At the top of his broadcast, O'Reilly wondered if we are now in "phase two of the campaign to undermine America"–this would apparently be the phase where activists protest against police brutality, with an assist from "the radical MoveOn organization, which is funding some of the occupiers." As he explained his conspiracy theory: […]

Oct
28
2011

Occupy Charlie Rose!

With the bad news we've been talking about on the public broadcasting front, it's worth pointing out a bright spot: On Monday (10/24/11), Charlie Rose featured a discussion of Occupy Wall Street with Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman. Goodman made an important point about media coverage of the protests: CHARLIE ROSE: Does it have anything in common with the Tea Party? AMY GOODMAN: Well, it's interesting you ask that. When the people gathered on September 16 and 17–what, 2000 people–hardly any coverage they got. If it was 2000 Tea Party activists who gathered on Wall Street, I would dare said […]

Oct
26
2011

Occupy Oakland Crackdown: Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets…and Cats

Last night by many reports the police crackdown on the Occupy Oakland encampment was severe: Tear gas and flash-bang grenades were used to disperse a crowd trying to retake the park. Reading about the events in the nation's capital, though, and you got a different impression. The Washington Post–no stranger to minimizing the Occupy protests–ran a short AP dispatch under the headline "Protesters Wearing Out Their Welcome Nationwide." As if that weren't dismissive enough, take a look at the photo the Post ran:

Oct
25
2011

Richard Cohen: OWS Isn't Anti-Semitic–Just Clueless, Repugnant

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (10/24/11), tipped off by at least one of his Post colleagues, decided to pay a visit to Liberty Plaza to see the festival of anti-Semitism firsthand. Lo and behold, he found none: Reckless Jew that I am, I muscled my way into the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan despite multiple reports of virulent and conceivably lethal anti-Semitism. Projecting an unvarnished Semitism, I circled the place, encountering nothing and no one to suggest bigotry–not a sign, not a book and not even the guy who some weeks ago held up a placard with the […]

Oct
25
2011

Meet the Press Panel: From GE to Morgan Stanley

There's an old joke about how the pundit spectrum in corporate media debates goes from GE all the way to GM. On Sunday's Meet the Press, viewers got a chance to see that joke come to life. On the panel was conservative former GE CEO Jack Welch, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks and NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell. The left end of the spectrum must have been former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., best known for his time leading the center-right Democratic Leadership Council. Nowadays Ford is a TV pundit (the "liberal" who advises Democrats to move further right) […]

Oct
20
2011

NPR, Lisa Simeone and Biased Opera Reporting

There's quite a controversy brewing over freelance radio host Lisa Simeone for her participation with an activist group occupying a park in Washington, D.C. It's a worth a look at how this unfolded– especially since it appears to have cost her one of her jobs. A report at the Roll Call website (10/18/11) noted that Simeone was acting as a spokesperson for the group, which goes by the name October 11. Roll Call wondered if this violated NPR ethics guidelines, since Simeone acts as a host on two programs that air on some NPR affiliates: the long-running documentary series Soundprint […]

Oct
18
2011

Attention Fox News, Reuters: Mitt Romney Is Funding OWS!

The New York Times has an interesting profile today (10/18/11) of a retired Wall Street trader named Robert Halper who, it turns out, made an early donation to Adbusters to help with the Occupy Wall Street movement: Mr. Halper, who lives on the Upper West Side, had long been a supporter of the magazine, donating by his estimate $50,000 to $75,000 over the last 20 years since he was first attracted by the magazine's spoofs on corporate logos and advertisements. So he wrote a check for $20,000 and returned to his life in New York. Interesting. But the Times clearly […]