NY Times Epic Fail

I haven’t been down to Wall Street yet. I almost went today with my 5 year old after we biked to Chinatown, but it felt wrong. I am in full support of raising questions and I am appalled by both the press and the police brutality.

Part of the reason I haven’t gone is that I have a very hard time with the authoritarianism practiced by the police. I worked on a documentary about the RNC convention. My role was to follow a Salon reporter as she immersed herself in the protests. She had a press badge and I did not. I also had on headphones that fed sound from a directional microphone and a radio mic that she was wearing. Often times I lost sight of her but could hear her. Looking through my camera really limited my vision and the sound I heard was amplified and intense. As the police got more aggressive I got increasingly paranoid, stressed, and discombobulated. I witnessed hundreds of people getting shoved, hit, and arrested for absolutely no reason and without any warning.

Days later I filmed as people finally came out of jail. Many of them had been taken in to jail days earlier. The press didn’t cover it at all. I am inspired to go back to that footage to cut something from it as it mostly ended up not being a part of the film. I felt emotionally damaged after those days of documenting the protests.

I’m not surprised by yesterday’s events. However, even with my compromised view of the NY Times, I’m still shocked at the horrendous coverage that appeared today.

This snarky article, “Protesters are gunning for wall street with faulty aim”, makes the case that the protesters have failed because they don’t have a cohesive message. This is like telling Picasso that Guernica failed because it doesn’t follow classical patterns. It’s also appalling that this article appeared on the front page of the Times website all day and the brutality of the police was relegated to the blog. City room did a good job of getting the word out about the pepper spray incident, but it certainly doesn’t balance out the unmitigated snark of this article. Of the 125 comments on this article it’s clear that the Times has lost touch with its audience. Almost all of them take the writer and the Times to task for their coverage. Early in the day I wrote an email to the writer expressing my dismay. I wonder if this doesn’t become a kind of a watershed moment in the next election cycle as well as the Times descent. Their audience wants news and they are not being given it. In the parlance of business, “If they don’t serve their customer, their customer will go elsewhere.”

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