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OPD and CNN tees up terrorism narrative for Oakland Occupiers

From a fine media criqitique of Oakland coverage at Zungu Zungu:

Now, I have no difficulty believing that at least a few protesters threw things at the police, though we should also be extremely skeptical; they always say that, and it’s at least usually not true (or at least wildly exaggerated). But while I had an obstructed view of those events – and I know what I did and didn’t see – it’s very easy for you, when you read a news article like CNN’s, to not see the most important clause in the article, the last one, “city and officials said.” This indicates for you (or should) that CNN is essentially doing to OPD’s press release the same thing that desperate college students sometimes do with wikipedia articles: copy and paste, and then change just enough words so that it isn’t plagiarism. CNN was not there yesterday, so they only saw what the Oakland Police Department told them to see. OPD wrote this:

Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares.

And then CNN wrote down a garbled version of it...

True, that, though I'd note in passing that we need to regard all reports as "mediated," and not just those of our famously free press. But the press aren't only stenographers; far more dangerously, they're also propagandists. Note again the escalation of rhetoric from the OPD:

Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices

Well, who uses IEDs? Terrorists. That's the frame that OPD is setting, and that CNN is hjelpfully propagating.

So Thank The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any, that the OPD is heading for court receivership. Take the most cynical view: The OPD wants more of that DHS money. This is starting to look a lot like a self-licking ice cream cone to me, where violence advocates in OO and the OPD reinforce each other.

NOTE * IIRC, IEDs were quite effective against the muscle-bound and petroleum-dependent US military in Iraq. So I can see why violence advocates would want the OPD to go there -- a deke of world-historic proportions. But I'm really not a worse is better kind of guy.....

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tom allen's picture
Submitted by tom allen on

Like Mentos & Coke IEDs? Or Brady Bunch volcano IEDs? (Well, at least they weren't armed with cream pies.) Seriously, we learned acid/base reactions in Boy Scouts. Boy, I hope no one had pointed sticks.*

Nonetheless, I think Lambert is right to go totally nonviolent. Much though I like pie fights. :-P

*Note to anyone who cares: this is a sarcastic reference to a Monty Python skit.