All around the country, the media is working overtime to avoid reporting incidents of ‘police brutality’ at Occupy protests– brutality against police, that is — along with other not-so-peaceful-and-pretty behavior perpetrated by the “Occupy” activists.
For example, in Atlanta, the major news stations, the daily paper, and the weekly rag managed to collectively not notice when protestors blocked the entrance to a hospital emergency room in a coordinated attempt to storm the hospital. Nope, not one member of the fourth estate bothered to rouse themselves from end-of-week brewskies at the local reporter’s watering hole to wander a few city blocks to the near-riot that blocked a fire truck and ambulance from reaching the emergency room doors.
My colleague Mary Grabar, who found herself trapped while covering the crowd, wrote about the scary near-riot in Pajamas Media. Amy Wenk, editor for an online neighborhood paper called Patch covered it here. I guess you could call Grabar and Wenk members of the “alternative media,” but that begs the question: alternative to what?
They were the only media there.
Meanwhile, what was the Atlanta Journal Constitution saying about the protestors? They were urging their readers not to dismiss them as “Just a Bunch of Hippies Playing Bongos.”
In case all those obtuse suburbanites (aka the only people left who buy newspapers) missed the crucial distinction the AJC was trying to make, they ran the following photograph under the following headline (I am not making this up):
Occupy Atlanta | ‘It’s not just a bunch of hippies playing bongos’
Right. She’s not playing a bongo at all.
By the way, her name is Shaee and she’s been to lots of Occupy protests but likes Atlanta’s best so far.
She ended up on the streets after not being able to find work with her degree in actuarial accounting.
Now I’m kidding.
Now I’m serious again. Who do these reporters think they are, pretending a near riot at a hospital where police were swarmed and threatened and emergency personnel couldn’t get an ambulance through isn’t news? Are they really that collectively invested in gildedly re-living their glory days fighting the Man? Yeah, the protestors aren’t all hippies playing bongos, or bongo-less hippies hopping from one cool protest site to another: some of them are belligerent creeps physically assaulting cops while trying to terrify sick people in emergency rooms.
Why isn’t that newsworthy? If any one of those police officers pushed back against middle-finger man and he fell and skinned his knee, half the editorial board at the Atlanta Journal Constitution would pee themselves with outrage.
And isn’t that the point? The Atlanta Occupy movement, like Occupy groups around the country, are relying on selective reporting like this to conceal their real intentions. Atlanta Occupy and protestors in other states have announced events at the protest sites where they will be training people to incite and escalate confrontations with police. They’re calling these “workshops on the history of police brutality” and discussions to decide whether police are “working class or working class traitors.” Gee, what do you think the answer will be? Inflaming hatred of police is a major part of the movement’s strategy, and at one of these protests, it’s going to end in tragedy. But I guess that’s not news, either.
It’s time for the public and elected officials to vocalize some support for the police, who are being abused daily by the protestors. Could you handle even one day of a job like that? Here’s something I wrote trying to imagine the life of a policeman during the last L.A. Lakers’ “uprising.” It certainly applies here:
Imagine the crappiest job in the world:
You put on your Men’s Warehouse suit and drive to the office, dreading the inevitable outcome of the day. Settling into your cubicle, you arrange the day’s work on the chipped laminate desk: a billy club, mace, and a copy of the quarterly budget figures for your division, awaiting approval from above. In the next cubicle, Joey H. is already rocking back and forth in his mesh swivel knockoff, working the screws on one of the padded armrests.
The word comes from headquarters right before lunch: the budget numbers are good.
Joey lets out a guttural shriek, rips the loosened arm off his chair and kicks the front wall off his cubicle, still howling. You grab the mace and billyclub and follow him as he tears a path of destruction to the break room, carefully avoiding getting too close, shouting at him to step down.
Joey ignores you and smacks out a fluorescent light fixture with his arm-rest, sending bits of glass and toxic powder all over accounting. Then he pulls a wad of gasoline-soaked newspaper out of his pocket, lights it with a lighter, and throws the flaming mass in the paper recycling bin by the door.
Mike D. wearily rises from his desk, shouldering his fire extinguisher, and heads for the blaze.
You follow Joey into the break room. He’s already used a folding chair to demolish the front of the snack machine, filling his pockets with KitKats while chanting “We’re Number One.” You notice he’s been working out.
“Put the Kit Kats down, Joey,” you say.
“F*** You, Pig-Man,” he screams, winging a full Red Bull can at your face. Luckily, you thought to wear your plexi face shield to work today. Now that you’ve cornered him, Joey head-buts your belly. That hurts. You smack him a few times with the billy-club, always aware that the altercation is being recorded on security cameras for later review. Finally, you manage to subdue him with the help of Kathy P., the new associate from sales. She’s brought her handcuffs, and Joey’s taken off to the bathroom to wash up and get ready for Personnel to review the security tapes.
Later that day, the verdict comes back from Human Resources. While you should have tried to stop Joey before he broke the front of the snack machine, you’re not going to get docked pay for using excessive force subduing him, like last quarter. Kathy P. however, is going to have to go before the panel and explain why she bruised Joey H.’s wrist while snapping the handcuffs on.
Joey H. gets assigned five hours of community service, which immediately gets suspended, as HR is testing a new program which will use positive messaging and self-esteem training to encourage him to stop setting the office on fire. (Nancy W., still recovering from those lycra burns from the spring quarter numbers, stifles a bitter laugh). Joey takes the rest of the afternoon off to meet his new esteem coach at the Starbucks. The rest of the staff gets down to sweeping up broken glass and trying to scrub the scorch marks off the walls while running the numbers on the cost of replacing the carpet.
All except Kathy P., who is hiding in the bathroom to avoid those a-holes from PR who want to snap her picture and use it to illustrate a story they’re writing about the proper way to subdue a co-worker. You settle into your smoke-fill cubicle and tug your rumpled necktie, wishing you could take it off as you start in on the stack of paperwork explaining your actions.
It’s going to be a long night. There’s no way you’re going to catch that Lakers game.
That job would really suck.
It’s called “policing.”