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'All in a day's work': Reporters arrested at Occupy protests

The Committee to Protect Journalists normally calls attention to the plight of reporters and editors the world over who are coerced, beaten or murdered for reporting the news. It now finds it necessary to call attention to the way police have arrested and otherwise interfered with journalists trying to report on the Occupy demonstrations."Occupy Protests Present a New Terrain of Risk for Reporters," the Columbia Journalism Review reports.What country is this?The Newspaper Guild has long represented journalists and, in keeping with journalistic tradition, doesn't normally inject itself into public disputes. It, too, has lodged protests:

Weve now faced a spate of journalist arrests as governments have moved to close down Occupy camps. Now, more than ever, we need to understand the Occupy movement. Journalists who are incarcerated cant get their stories out.Most notably, New York City prevented journalists from doing their work. With overly harsh tactics, Mayor Michael Bloomberg played a strong hand in forcing protestors out of Zuccotti Park.As citizens we need to know the true story of Occupy, and we need to know how law enforcement handles the protestors. The First Amendment allows peaceful protests, and the ability to report on them especially when that peace is shattered for whatever reason. Blocking journalists from reporting suggests there is something to hide.

The Guild set up a Facebook page, Occupied Journalists, to chronicle the story.The protesters are not blame-free; in some cases, they have attacked or threatened journalists. They taunt and harass police with screaming invective. But the greater concern is that the power of government is being wielded, bluntly at times and incidentally at others, to conceal the truth.News organizations, often reluctant to put themselves into the midst of a contentious story, should report on this. But strangely, one of the brashest voices in American journalism, the editorial board of real estate executive Mort Zuckerman's Daily News, was unconcerned that the paper's reporter was placed under arrest when he should have been providing on-the-scene reports of the early-morning police raid on Zuccotti Park:

Yes, some journalists, including a Daily Newser, were taken in for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Prompt release was had. Chalk it up to all in a days work and getting a tale to tell the grandkids.

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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Institutional protection laps over.So goes the power of the growing plutocracy....

What happened in Toronto at the G20 should have been a warning to all democratic societies. Politicians have now ceded control of society over to the police. Police in Toronto effectively went rouge, removing their badges, used kettling, and made the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. 99% percent were released without charges after being penned up over night without food, water, proper toilet facilities etc. And no level of government has ever instituted a proper inquiry as to what and why it happened. Since 9-11 the police have our politicians cowed and they know it. So I'm not the least bit surprised that such tactics are now being applied to the Occupy movement both in the USA and Canada.

I'm finding the creeping violence of this upsetting. Yes, the protestors have their own share of the blame, but I'm more distressed by the videos of the police with helmets and batons beating on these kids. It isn't necessary and NYC isn't supposed to be this way.

Very strange that occupiers are screaming at journalists. How else are they going to get their story amplified beyond the local level? Moreover, if OWS had anybody who was any good at agitprop, they'd be watching how coverage plays out and honing their message to maintain support.More evidence that the protest has tapped into a visceral sense of frustration, but has no clear goals, no clear message to communicate, and cannot really galvanize into a movement a la the Tea Party. Lord knows, I love a doomed cause, but OWS has so far failed to coalesce into anything more than general discontent.

I continue to be surprised at the mantra being repeated endlessly that OWS has no goals and no agenda and has had communicated nothing of merit. I thought that we were in the era of investigative journalism.

My guess is that most of the OWS protestors are in a sense, complaining about the same things the Tea Party folks protested; that the government is so big that it bailed out banks and bought car companies and that now we are all broke. The difference between OWS folks and Tea Partiers is that Tea Party folks have jobs, they are the dreaded and boring, working middle class who are trying to live their lives, provide for and raise their children, and tend their aging parents. The OWS folks seem to have only recently noticed the state of the economy, and most look like they live with mom & dad, party and sleep late. Keeping that in mind, it seems to me the OWS folks woke up a few months ago, turned off the video game, walked around outdoors a bit, and noticed that the economy sucks right now. They do not like this, nor have they any real idea how it got this way, but they emote and want things to be different.The big government some of the claim they want, would deliver the exact opposite of what they most probably really want i.e., freedom. Most are being used by hard-Leftists and as such are fodder for the rabble which Leftists from time immemorial have loved to use to molest decent society.In comparison with the Tea Party movement, the OWS protest is tiny. Several hundred thousand Tea Partiers converged on the National Mall and, after they respectfully minded the police and had their say, they left the place neat and tidy. They gathered around the country as well, and eventually elected some like-minded people to congress. In short, they focused their energy and got reasonable results.The OWS crowd is much, much smaller (only in the hundreds), but wherever they have gathered, they leave the place a total mess. They seem unable to focus on much of anything except their emotions; they are upset and want the world to know they are special and that they are sad. Well. And what is with all the drumming anyway? They could give that a rest.

I guess Ken's not big on OWS but loves the Tea Party/I thought the thread was about the treatment of reporters, but.....

There seems to be a common assumption that OWS has no goals and no program to implement any particular goals. This, I think, is false. The goal is to change a grossly unfair tax system into a fair one. The common signs with the catch-phrase 1 percent - 99 percent shows this even if no particular leader is on a soap- box speechifying about it. The tax system is patently unfair no matter which definition of "fair" you use. The system is so morally grotesque that even 80 year old middle class women who can hardly stand upright are demonstrating. True, OWS is not organized enough to present a general program for changing the political players of system (i.e., the legislators). But there isn't any general solution because the ultimate problems are local: there are not enough honorable, capable people running for office, so we're stuck voting for least-evil candidates.

A fun fact -- Some of the Federalist Papers were composed on the site of Zuccotti Park. John Jay, "the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, lived in a house at this former address [133 Broadway] in 1787 when he co-wrote the Federalist Papers.", while we're waiting for someone to reveal the deep meaning and historic significance of OWS we could do well to thumb through the writings of this earlier resident of Zuccotti Park (added bonus: he was anti-Catholic).

By standards of past Wall Street demonstration OWS hardly registers on the protest scale. Here's an informative site about major crises in 1792, 1837, 1857, 1874 and 1930:'s one religious response to the Panic of 1857, undoubtedly a shallow effort when placed against the pronouncements of contemporary chaplains of OWS:"The pastor of New York's largest Presbyterian Church, announced that the Panic was God's work. Many Wall Streeters agreed and hied to their churches to pray for relief. By mid-winter 1858, merchants and clerks were jamming lunch hour prayer meetings at the local John Street Methodist Church. The Journal of Commerce encouraged more readers to participate:'Steal away from Wall Streetand every worldly care,And spend an hour about mid-dayin humble, hopeful prayer.'"

Come off it, Ken. Just because you have a job and your neighbor doesn't, that doesn't mean that YOU are virtuous and He isn't. You need to re-assess your premises.

Again, I thought the thread was about journa;ists and police actions - which does not seem to bother anyone here except the maker of the thread and yours truly.As to OWS, an interesting take by Fr. Massaro in the new America - has the movement pricked a few consciences, or, is morality accoring to economic ideology still holding sawy?

Please Ann; I did not say anything like that. I only point out that as a practical matter, and a matter of being civil, the Tea Party crowd is tidier and in 2010 anyway, managed to elect some of their folks to office.Otherwise, my point is that while the OWS folks are a bit late in realizing it, most middle class Americans would agree with them that yes, the economy is tough right now. What amazes me is that is seems these OWS people only recently came to this realization. Gosh, the rest of us have been paying bills and dealing with this downturn since 2008. I have watched the parade of czars, bailing out this or that to-big-to-fail financial firm or car company; most of it for naught, except for big boys like GE who play golf with the president and move X-ray factories like the one in Ohio to China, do not pay any taxes, and end up being appoint to President Obama's jobs committee. Those kind of farces frustrate everybody.Yes most people are frustrated - and worried. For my part, I and many others like me have hunkered down financially, trimmed spending and are keeping my head down tending to work, no frills, waiting for the next election. In my opinion, hollering around, pouting all over, drinking in the streets, sleeping in the park, damaging property and inconveniencing everyone in sight (in the local area) would not help solve much of anything.We all have emotions; we all have feelings, we are all Gods children, and times like these are stressful. That does not mean however, that I or others should just melt down emotionally or lose my head and trash a park or another mans business or his property.Times like these call for getting ones wits together and figure what to do in order to get back to some level of prosperity.The government can barely run the post office and the DMV. It is not fair to expect it to oversee via central planning, a national recovery. One thing the government can do now is get out of the way for the moment; to tend things it is supposed to tend, like the military, the border, and dealing with foreign powers (i.e., things like treaties, tariffs, and alliances).No, I do not think I am virtuous because I have a job. In fact I am not virtuous; I am a normal person, a sinner who worries, works and tries on my own, but who ultimately relies of God.

Oops - I meant "too-big-too-fail"

Some stuff some of you may not be aware of regarding OWS."One of the interesting phenomena of OWS which is not reported on a lot, because it doesnt really happen down in the square, is these working groups that have been established. There's about 60 or 70 of them now, which are trying to tackle particular issues from recycling to alternative banking. The alternative banking group has attracted an incredible array of people who you would not normally expect to see as part of a protest movement a former SEC regulator, a professor of financial law and several bankers, all of whom are thinking about and discussing how to create a better financial system. I was pretty amazed, at the first meeting, at who showed up." Ross is a one time British Diplomat, you will find out more if you read the article.

Tidy: THE American virtue of the Tea Party.OWS: THE American conscience that tends to be a bit messy around the edges.

I'm very sympathetic to the journalists, but I'm wondering, is there an expectation that journalists should somehow be safer/more protected than the protesters themselves? I think the police should show more restraint with everyone- protesters and journalists both.Regarding the diversity of the movement, by favorite Occupiers might be the Occupy Marines- separated and retired Marines that support the Occupy Movement. Veterans have a much higher rate of unemployment than the rest of us; this is just a tragedy and I am glad the veterans are mobilizing.

And also Occupy Army, Navy Air Force, and lets not forget, Occupy Police. The police,too, are the 99%

Thanks Irene, very interesting to see other facets of this that are not making headlines.

Rights like Freedom of Press are some of the basic requirements our Founding Fathers based our ENTIRE legal and political systems on. These rights are being endangered and flat-out violated by denying access to Occupy events to witness the police brutality going on in the police state we are being subjected to. Raise your voice and concern and defend the rights we are entitled to by spreading the word with these free posters I designed on my artists blog at

"There seems to be a common assumption that OWS has no goals and no program to implement any particular goals. This, I think, is false. The goal is to change a grossly unfair tax system into a fair one."I think this is true, that the various concerns heard earlier from the first OWS protesters--worries about food inspection, the environment, health care insurance, etc.--seem to be coalescing into a tax protest. Food inspection, protecting the environment, providing health care--these are not possible in a society where the gap between rich and poor is growing.As for being obnoxious and untidy ... Let's not forget the loudmouths in their tricorn hats who stampeded through Congress with their "Don't Tread on Me" flags, or the ones who shouted down everybody at town hall meetings when the health care bill was in the offing.

SIDEBAR C-Span just had an interview with Jon Huntsman at the Brookings Institute. At last, a credible Republican candidate. Not as extreme as I expected.It was part of the C-Span Road to the White House series. I expect it will be repeated some time later today..

Think about how the Crown responded to the "protesters" in the 1770s in the Colonies. Now think about the response to the Tea Party and to OWS. Which seems more similar?

Our local paper today carried a full page by a grad student at NY Mt.Sinai Medical Colge who joined the scene as Zuccotti park was emptied and the varied postures of"authorities."NYT has a piece by the former poet laurette of the US who with his wife joined the crowd at Berkley to see how demonstrators were treated Theyre knocked to the ground or hit -got to get the tents out of there..Then there's UC Davis and more.Protecting order.Even if order is not working very well -the disparagers of the folks in OWS should disparage a congress with 9% pitiable approval rating who can't maove our country forward by working togther!

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