Sunday, October 2, 2011

How the Media Makes up "Facts"

Here is a bit from an excellent article in the NY city The Village Voice newspaper. It highlights how the NY Times newspaper in a matter of minutes "changes" the news from one of demonstrators being allowed onto a bridge then cut off and arrested to a much more hostile account where the demonstrators confront the police and force them into arresting a disorderly crowd.

Click to Enlarge

From The Village Voice:
The above photo of juxtaposed screenshots from the New York Times website has been making the rounds on Facebook, and it shows two very different takes for the same story on yesterday's Brooklyn Bridge arrests. The screenshot on the left, from 6:59 p.m., appears to reflect what many protesters are saying: The police tricked them into marching on the bridge. At 7:19 p.m., any mention of the police allowing demonstrators onto the bridge was removed from the lede. Why did they make this change?

We asked City Room Bureau Chief Andy Newman, and he said the following:
At every point yesterday as the story unfolded, we offered the most complete account we could of a large and chaotic scene that could not be grasped by any one person. The earlier version had almost no input from the police. The later version reflected the accounts of the police, protesters and of course our reporters at the scene. The later version, read in its entirety (not just the one highlighted sentence in that photo), reflected the various perspectives much more thoroughly. The final version of the piece was more thorough still.
It's worth noting that one of their reporters at the scene, freelancer Natasha Lennard, was among the over 700 arrested. The original City Room report that Lennard contributed to says that police did in fact allow protesters onto the bridge:
After allowing marchers from the Occupy Wall Street protests to claim the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge and get partway across, the police cut the marchers off and plunged into the crowd and began making arrests around 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
That paragraph is now nowhere in the story. Currently, the only mentions in the piece of police telling protesters they were allowed onto the bridge are in the words of the protesters themselves.
The wonderful thing about those with money and power: they get to define reality. The bottom 90% have to patch together bits and pieces to uncover what has been covered up. We live in lies all our life struggling to know what is really going on. It is those at the top who manipulate and deceive in order to protect their power. The media is owned by the ultra-rich. In the final analysis, the ultra-rich get to decide what is "news" that is fit for the rest of us to see. And of course, the ultra-rich help "guide" the police in "doing their duty".

In a "strange coincidence" the Wall Street bank JP Morgan Chase has decided now is the right time to "donate" to the NY Police:
A coincidence, I'm sure, but it sure is poetic. Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement was picking up speed, JPMorgan Chase donated what the financial organization itself described as "an unprecedented" $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation, part of which will be used to boost surveillance systems. Well isn't that special.

The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD's main data center.
Wow! What a remarkable "coincidence".

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