Occupy Oakland activists were very adamant last week when they forbade reporters from recording them, even to the point of assaulting and siccing a dog on them.
So they shouldn’t be surprised when the media turned its cameras off as police fired tear gas, bean bags and flash grenades at the activists Tuesday night, turning an American city into a blistering war zone.
Was it the right thing to do?
Of course not. The media has a job to do and it shouldn’t let a few assholes stop them from doing it. Especially when it comes to possible police abuse.
But the media is made up of humans and we all know how petty and catty people can get. And the media is owned by corporations, which is what these activists are rallying against.
So it probably wasn’t a tough decision to shut their cameras off once police started their battlefield tactics, which is still ongoing, according to reports on Twitter.
The story comes to us from The Weather Space, which admits this is not something it would normally report on.
This is not usually something TWS reports on but no other ‘media’ outlet will. During the Occupy Oakland march tonight (Tuesday), ABC News in the Bay area shut cameras off on the ground and in the sky the moment police attacked.
They said the chopper needed to refuel and will be back, but we all know this was not correct. A coincidence that both CBS and ABC choppers needed to refuel at the time police started attacking?
There was a camera on the ground for a full minute showing exploding canisters, people screaming, and gas being covered everywhere and that was shut off shortly after.
This is the constitution, protests are allowed by it. For CBS and ABC to shut the cameras off during the time police violated the rights of the American people is journalism at the worst, in fact not even close to the integrity a real media outlet should bring.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other citizens with cameras who are documenting the aggressive police action, including the above photo of a protester who had been shot with a rubber bullet, which was posted on Occupy Oakland’s Facebook page.
The above video is one of the first to be posted on Youtube, but there will be many more in the next few hours.
At 1:30 in the video, it sounds as if somebody is asking where is the media during all the excitement. The video shows media vans parked along the side of the street, but actual news videographers are not present.
The Associated Press said police were responding to rocks being thrown by some of the protesters who were attempting to retake the space in front of city hall where they had been shut down the night before.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the rock throwing did not start until after police started firing tear gas at them.
Police arrested 85 people Monday night. Tonight’s conflict is still ongoing but so far dozens have been arrested, according to Twitter reports. I will be updating as I get more info.
Many tweets are also criticizing the lack of mainstream media coverage and are comparing this to the 1999 Seattle protests, which resulted in hundreds of arrests.
And here is one of many eery tweets on the subject that are popping up a mile a minute.
“Oakland police have told news choppers and reporters on the ground to turn off their cameras and leave” #OccupyOakland via @boingboing
Depending on the photos and videos we will see in the next few hours, this confrontation could serve as a huge momentum shift in either direction for the Occupy movement in the way the Tony Baloney videos beefed up support.
Tensions have always been high between activists and police in Oakland. And perhaps they’ve been high between the media and activists as well.
But at a time when they are participating in a nationwide protest that most Americans support, according to polls, they should do all they can to keep the media on their side.
And that goes for Occupy encampments all over the United States.
Unfortunately, there have been a few activists who fail to see this simple logic.
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