Monday, August 18, 2014

Words from My Mouth

Looking back through some old blog posts, I came across one that was a premonition of the recent police overreaction in Ferguson, Missouri: Covering the Rainbow Gathering "Riot". An excerpt:

I have friends who have been present at what they describe as "cop riots," where police attack protesters using overwhelming force despite little or no provocation. It's easy for those of us who haven't felt a need to exercise our right to free association or speech in a public forum to think that those who do so have done something to provoke the police, that they somehow deserve what happens to them. And that we would be immune in the same situation because our behavior would not provoke them.

But I have a nagging sense that our freedoms are more limited than we imagine, that they exist, in some ways, only on paper, and that those who actually put them into practice often find themselves at the wrong end of a nightstick or even pepper bullets, as happened with the Rainbows and their children.

The main point of Niman's article, though, is that AP (and the papers that carried the AP story) failed because they didn't check the police story for corroboration, in effect rubber-stamping the police point of view. There were independent observers there, including other independent journalists, who contradict the police story.

His point is, what's the purpose of a free press, if it's just going to regurgitate the government's news releases?

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