Tuesday, February 9, 2016

First they came for the "free press" -- and the books

Cops just violently shoved me away as I tried to shoot this man in a stretcher being loaded into ambulance http://twitpic.com/7efa2v

First they came for the "free press" -- and the books


Cops just violently shoved me away as I tried to shoot this man in a stretcher being loaded into ambulance

-- Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones.

Journalists who write poorly thought-out editorials like this one need to realize how messy the world can get outside a glass office in a newsroom. If you say you're behind the 99 Percent, it takes guts and staying power to stick with that position -- when there are fixable flaws and holes in the Occupy movement, especially when some of the folks in Zuccotti Park or Dilworth Plaza aren't the 1-Percent types you typically meet for lunch and chat up on the phone. Saying you support them means coming up with better ways to fight income inquality and unchecked corporate greed, not throwing in the towel and giving cover for the cops to do their thing.

Because, when the first priority as journalists isn't hardcore, pedal to the metal support of the First Amandment and the right of free assembly, when you essentially egg on a police response, do you know how the cops are likely to thank you for your reasoned, well-thought editorial support? They're likely to whomp you upseide the head. Just ask this reporter from the New York Post, whose paper has been cheerleading for the police crackdown on Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park that finally came in the dead of night.

I'm w/ a NY Post reporter who says he was roughed up by riot police as Zuccotti was cleared. He thinks violence was "completely deliberate."
Among the broader outrages that took place in Zuccotti this morning, there were reports that news helicopters were ordered not to fly above the police raid and that reporters with properly issued press credentials weren't allowed near the park. When one reporter protested to a cop that "I'm press," the response was "not tonight." Numerous journalists -- perhaps as many as 20 -- have been arrested for doing their job, others were roughed up.

Here's more:

12.52pm: We reported earlier today on the complaints that journalists have been obstructed in reporting the eviction and aftermath. A number have been arrested. This the tally so far:

• Julie Walker, a freelance reporter for National Public Radio was arrested in the early hours of the morning, despite wearing an NYPD-issued press badge.

• New York Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak was arrested at around 12.15pm today while covering the aftermath of the eviction. He is on a police bus, and filing updates for the NYDN live blog.

• AP print journalist Karen Matthews and AP still photographer Seth Wenig were arrested at the same time as Lysiak, aand a photographer from DNAInfo. All had been with protesters who had gained access to ground owned by Trinity Wall Street church at Duarte Square. Police cleared the area, and arrested everyone.

But actually the biggest First Amendment outrage is this one -- the wanton destruction of 5,000 books. I thought this was the kind of thing that only happened in...oh, nevermind:

The NYPD has reportedly thrown out 5,554 books from the Occupy Wall Street Library during the raid to evict protesters from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning. GalleyCat compiled the @OWSLibrary tweets: The Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night:

"NYPD destroying american cultural history, they're destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history... Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them?...Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster."

Hopefully this will be an eye-opener -- at least for some journalists, and especially some editorial writers -- of what is really going on in this country.

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Will Bunch
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