If the MSM has any opinion about the police brutality dogging many of the Occupy Wall Street protests, I haven’t seen much of it.
I have two major complaints, one emotional and one very pragmatic. Let’s get the emotional part out of the way.
What the hell do you guys need? No one has DIED yet; but if this footage was coming from, say, Syria, you’d be falling over yourselves to condemn it. Yet with barely an exception, you write nothing. This is America, and Americans are being hurt and brutalized by cops for simply exercising their rights, and the mainstream press says next to nothing about it. Why are you loathe to criticize cops? From the outrageous pepper-spray incidents in New York to Oakland’s all-out war against protestors, you got nothing. You are becoming a parody of what OWS says the MSM is. Failure of this sort simply encourages more brutality; and, yes- if you fail to speak up – blood will be on your hands!
Please find the courage to do what is right. Silence is cowardice.
Now to the pragmatic. Why are there no articles explaining what cops are legally allowed to do in these situations? Think about that.
When, for example, is a cop justified to beat someone with a baton (done in NYC protests), spray them with mace (also here), use tear gas or “flash-bang” grenades, rubber bullets, bean-bag shot? When is it OK for a cop to grab someone trying to get away from them from behind and punch them in the face (also NYC)?? This doesn’t even take in to account methods of entrapment like barricading and entire area and arresting everyone in it… for what? I have seen this method first hand in NYC.
Without knowing the rules, how can commentators judge the situation?
Lawrence O’Donnell had a friend of Scott Olsen on his show and actually asked him if Olsen did anything to bring this on himself (I’m paraphrasing). I would assume that would mean some sort of deadly attack on the police… what else could possibly justify THIS? But in a climate where at least part of the population watches people doing NOTHING AT ALL getting maced and thinks they deserve it for just being there, some clarification of what rules and laws the police are supposed to adhere to might be in order.
Again, if the scenes from Oakland where coming to us from Tehran, we’d all condemn the brutal crackdown by a dictator. In the USA, the tear-gassing, rubber-bullet firing thugs get the benefit of the doubt. Why?
To recap: a press that is too cowardly to criticize the police, and woefully unsure as to what rules or laws are being broken, is pretty useless. Showing, with little or no commentary, the spectacular is one thing. INFORMING people about what they are seeing is quite another.
I haven’t seen a single article or TV spot that covers either what protestor’s legal rights are, or in what instances police are allowed to use force.
PS. Think protestors’ rights are not being taken seriously by the police? Consider this. Now get off your asses and write something.