The Occupy Wall Street protests have endured for nearly a month despite little attention from the press. Yesterday there was an incident that, under ordinary circumstances, would attract some additional coverage.
Reporters from the Fox affiliate in New York were covering the protests when they were embroiled in a chaotic scuffle that resulted in the photographer getting maced and the reporter getting struck by a police baton.
The police in New York have been accused of using unnecessary force against peaceful protesters on several occasions. There have even been allegations that they have deliberately targeted citizens with cameras. However, this is the first report that documents the use of such force against members of the mainstream media – and it turns out to be from a Fox affiliate.
[Note: Local affiliates get some direction from Fox News, but also have a measure of editorial discretion. The affiliates most under Fox control are those that are owned by the network and run by Roger Ailes who chairs both Fox News and the Fox Stations Group. New York is one of those owned by the network.]
The story that accompanied this video on the MyFoxNY web site was also uncommonly candid in reporting this incident and on the protests generally:
“The protests on Wall Street continued to grow all day. The rallies and their participants are showing no signs of slowing down.” […] “During the day, unions and students joined the demonstrators. What was once a protest of powerful Wall Street financial firms and banks is growing into a larger movement about the working class, employment, poverty, education, and more.”
That’s a surprisingly accurate assessment of what is going on in Lower Manhattan and across the country. However, no description of that detail and balance has ever been broadcast on the Fox News Mothership. It is also notable that the footage above has not been aired on Fox News even though elements of the reporter’s story unrelated to the assault have been used.
Hopefully this video will get some traction on other media outlets so that the world can see what is happening down on Wall Street. But what I fear is that someone from Fox corporate will get wind of this and scrub the video from the Internet. Unfortunately for them, that will probably not occur until after many copies have been made and uploaded.
It is important that news of this nature be widely disseminated to counter the portrayal that Fox and other rightist media types are making that cast the protests as irrelevant, unfocused, anti-American, or just plain crazy. This is a true populist uprising and the people deserve to have their voices heard. Particularly when majorities of Americans agree with them.