Yesterday I spent some time at the U-C IMC helping to do phone interviews with our reporters on the streets in Miami, and then posting updates to the U-C IMC website. I arrived at the IMC just before the police made a major and violent offensive against peaceful protestors gathered a few blocks away from […]
Archive | November, 2003
A sure indicator that the US police state sees itself as waging war on its own citizens — the Miami Police have taken a page from Bush’s war propaganda book and invited reporters to be embedded with the cops while they force back, pepper spray and beat anti-FTAA protestors.
According to Miami’s WPLG-TV and the AP, the participants in the embedding plan include, “The Associated Press, NBC, Reuters, The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, CNN, Fox and several TV stations. Up to 24 reporters and photographers are participating each day.”
It’s a definite change of tactic for police dealing with such protests, where in the past mainstream reporters covering the protests have found themselves caught in the cross-fire, peppersprayed, beaten and arrested.
Clearly, Miami Police Chief Timoney understands that mainstream reporters are more likely to be sympathetic to his cause if they see themselves as brothers-in-arms with the cops rather than on the receiving end of their tear gas. Just remember how gushing was some of the reporting from the embeds with US troops in Iraq this past spring.
Of course, in reality it’s another sad day for the press and democracy, as ACLU attorney John DeLeon tells the AP:
“It is a frightening prospect that for the first time in this community that the media is being a partner with police,” … DeLeon said that when journalists are seen with police during any action against protesters, “the media is seen as nothing more than an agent of the government.”
In case you weren’t aware, I want to point out that there will be thousands of people on the streets of Downtown Miami this week to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit, beginning Thursday. The FTAA is an attempt to bring NAFTA style so-called “free trade” to the entire western hemisphere.
A Miami/FTAA IMC has been set up to provide the resources for independent grassroots coverage of the summit and the protests. Police presence has been incredibly high, with many reports that the cops are targeting protestors and activists for intimidation and harrassment.
As has been the case with recent anti-war protests in DC, and anti-corporate-globalization protests in Italy and Quebec, the police often do not distinguish between protestors, reporters and ordinary citizens, who all become the target of police violence and “non-lethal” weapons. With such an enormous police presence, we shouldn’t be surprised if the cops crack down on the IMC as soon as they can think up an excuse. Independent media reporters expose these strong-arm repressive tactics. That exposure is a threat to any power that relies upon these tactics to maintain power.
In addition to their website, the FTAA IMC has a web radio station set up, with several mirror streams to accomodate lots of listeners. Infoshop.org has also set up a special FTAA page to compile links to reports about the summit and protests from both the alternative and mainstream media.
Nine members of my local Urbana-Champaign IMC have joined the thousands in Miami and will be filing reports by phone and Internet to the U-C IMC website. The IMC’s “home support” crew is staying at the IMC most of the day Thursday and Friday to take calls from our reporters and publish the reports. With luck, I will be airing a live call-in report from some of the reporters during the mediageek radioshow this Friday at 5:30 on WEFT. For those of you outside the listening area, I will try hard to get the program archived here very quickly.
The radioshow page is now fully up to date with all the show archives that are available on-line.
Now up are the following shows:
Nov. 7: Live report from the National Conference on Media Reform and the Be the Media! Conference, from mediageek host Paul Riismandel and John Anderson, of DIYmedia.net.
Nov. 14: The FTAA in Miami, and the massive resistance to unjust
globalization — Interview with Zach Miller, a member of a local group of IMC journalists traveling to Miami to provide streetlevel coverage
of the upcoming protests against the
FTAA meeting there.
As I noted a few days ago, a column in the American Spectator decrying the liberal and lefty failure to have much sympathy for Rush Limbaugh’s drug problems quoted the ‘geek as one example of this “angry, cowardly, and vile hate-fest.” (Of course, my response is along the lines of: the pot calling the kettle black; or, more maturely: takes one to know one).
It was a couple of barely-literate profanity-strewn comments to mediageek that alerted me to the Spectator’s link, but I had already deleted the comments when I made the connection.
In my earlier post I anticipated that a barrage of right-wing flames would be hitting this site, but, by and large, they have not materialized. Perhaps my original post on Limbaugh isn’t quite the “vile hate-fest” the Spectator’s David Hogberg makes it out to be.
However, patience was rewarded yesterday by the following comment from someone using the moniker “DemsAreWhores” and the e-mail address “firstname.lastname@example.org,” which is actually aimed more at one of the earlier commenters to my post than at me:
“Slam, what a pathetic little loser you are. It is very evident you are mentally ill. Get some help you pathetic piece of shit.”
Wow! Now that is a penetrating refutation, zeroing in on all of Slam’s and my points with laser-like accuracy and an eloquence rivaling William F. Buckley on his most lucid of days. Dittoheads win again!