OWS violence and the mainstream media’s predicament
posted at 12:36 pm on November 15, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Change shotgun to Molotov cocktail, and that popular summer camp sing-along sendup of Woody Guthrie’s 1940s paean to the American socialist dream fits the Occupy movement to a tee.
What supposedly started as a peaceful demonstration has now claimed four lives and resulted in scores of arrests for acts of violence. Most of these physical protests have targeted police (read: the pigs), though a YouTube video from Occupy Portland (arguably the movement’s most violent venue) shows demonstrators going after a news crew. (Warning: Crass profanity alert.)
Among the recurring themes fueling the violence at protest encampments is the issue of squatters’ rights. The New York Times reports on the most recent tense encounter between the law and the protesters, which occurred early this morning. Hundreds of police were dispatched to clear Zuccotti Park, but protesters resisted, chanting, “Whose park? Our park!” Dozens more arrests were made before the the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order permitting protesters to return for the time being with tents.
Prior to giving the order to clear the park, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement that read:
The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day. Every since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with.
This land is your land.
The confrontations between the anti-Wall Street protesters and the so-called 1 percent (which evidently includes anyone who disagrees with them) have placed the mainstream media in something of a quandary. Their willingness to accept the “fact” of the Tea Party’s violence with no supporting evidence is now cast in sharp relief against a backdrop of real—and abundant—Occupy violence. It exposes the obvious liberal bias of elite news organizations such as the New York Times, whose editorial writers have on more than one occasion criticized the imagined extremism and violence of the Tea Party but now fail to so much as acknowledge the real acts of occupier violence reported in the paper’s own news pages.
James Taranto comments on the dilemma facing the Times and other mainstream outlets, which was reflected last weekend in a column by the paper’s ombudsman Arthur Brisbane that asked, “How should The Times report on the [Occupy] movement going forward?”
Here’s an original thought: How about trying the truth? It may come difficult at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it.
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