What is wrong with United States Main Street Media?
Those willing to answer will have different solutions in mind to fix the current mess.
In the United States Congress (US Senate, US House of Representatives, also known jointly as Capitol Hill), politicians of all persuasions will happily blame each other ad-infinitum ensuring they stay in powers and that nothing ever changes.
That is why, when a large number of Americans decided to take part in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, there was reason for hope that the powerful business elite and the politicians would stop and take notice. Unfortunately, they did, and not in the way that the so-called 99% expected.
A pre-Christmas release of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents has made known the official response to Occupy Wall Street. It is apparent that the seventeen city paramilitary crackdown was coordinated.
It came out later that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was the nexus of that operation. The deep FBI involvement is a new and ugly addition to this picture. Several impressions emerge from reading the summaries and dipping into the FBI documents.
The FBI deemed Occupy Wall Street to be a terrorist organization and decided that occupiers were “guilty until proven innocent”. Many of the FBI descriptions of possible OWS actions or those organizations affiliated with it, such as Adbusters, consistently look to have presented the most inflammatory information about them out of context.
The FBI also seems to believe that there is no such thing as peaceful protest, that any non-violent activity has the potential to turn violent and therefore should be treated as violent. One document to corporate “clients” warned:
“Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”
The banks were deeply involved in the effort to put down Occupy Wall Street. The executive director of the Partnership For Civil Justice stated, “These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
“The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).”
More details from the Partnership for Civil Justice Justice Fund (PCJ) summary:
“As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest…”
Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector.”
The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients – the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…”….DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.”…
The United States Federal Reserve System in Richmond appears to have had their personnel engage in surveillance of OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as Occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”
While the media depiction of the movement when it was in its encampment phase as a bunch of directionless hippies with no message, The FBI saw the Occupy Wall Street movement as a terrorist threat. The FBI’s response highlights how anything other than corporate or otherwise officially sanctioned assembly is no longer permitted in America.
Why are we hearing about this only now? Is it clever journalism?
Not according to Naomi Wolf who points to this unpleasant conclusion:
Jason Leopold of Truth-Out.Org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic:
If you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the “long term plans” of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.
There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.
Lets think about this for a minute; the banks control your mortgage, your money, your credit, and now, with the tacit approval of the American government through the FBI, the banks control your dissent. So you thought you lived in a free country? Think again.
Think about one other thing – where are the stories from the big United States, Canadian, and United Kingdom news networks? Where is CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, BBC or CBC? What about The Wall Street Journal? Why have none of them said a word about this? Why is even the Public Broadcasting Service News (PBS) silent?
The thought that the banks, with the support and approval of the government now can shoot you if they consider you a threat, should be front page news. Where in the world is the “free press” during all of this? Nowhere!
Are you not shocked? Are you not outraged?
Consider this – Many in America believe that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution entitles the news media to special protections that do not apply to anyone else.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this is wrong. “The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the media’s right to free speech is no greater than anyone else’s. In short, the press’s favored status is only as strong as Congress says it is, at least under current First Amendment jurisprudence. Free speech at Congress’s discretion — is not exactly a recipe for a strong and independent press.”
It downplayed Mr. Obama’s economic policies, ignored his crippling divisiveness, glossed over his apologetic treatment of Islamists, and has apparently misreported or altogether avoided commenting on his many foreign policy blunders.
The most transparent act of bias was, of course, the failure to critically probe the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, although it was by no means the only one.
The Main Stream Media (MSM) press had not taken such a deferential approach during the Iran-Contra Affair years earlier, when it accused President Ronald Reagan’s administration of malfeasance and criminal conduct.
Neither did it pull any punches when it accused former President George W. Bush of intentionally lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in order to justify war in Iraq – although reliable intelligence reports showed that inaccurate information concerning Iraq’s nuclear weapons capabilities actually came from factions within Iraq seeking to topple Saddam Hussein, not from “war-mongering” Republicans and Democrats who voted to invade, and that Iraqi chemical weapons did exist, but were likely spirited out of the country to Syria.
The media’s bias is not limited to Obama bias. It also uses apologetic tones when discussing Islamist Terrorism and shows open deference to an administration that officially refers to Muslim terrorist acts as “manmade disasters,” considers the Muslim Brotherhood a moderate organization despite its Jihadist goals, and seeks to befriend Islamist dictatorships. Ironically, it has no problem condemning Israel for the simple act of self-defense or describing her as an apartheid state, though her Arab citizens have full political, social and economic rights.
It is obvious, at this point, that President Barack Obama has the press in his pocket. Well, he is the president. Owning the press and the FBI in support of the banks is a no brainer.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a free and open press to provide accurate information to the public and scrutinize the doings of government. It does not prohibit the press from enforcing standards of fairness, honesty and accuracy.
By failing to require such standards, and by permitting the manipulation of news in order to support specific parties, candidates and causes, the press falls far short of the lofty goals envisioned by the Constitution. In short, welcome to the official propaganda department of the United States of America.
Sadly, I am not surprised that the Occupy Wall Street movement is being investigated and tracked by federal authorities in the United States as well as several other countries including police authorities who adequately prepared for OWS activities in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. Unlike some cities in the United States where violence was the norm, Vancouver authorities also had to shut down the illegal OWS encampments after a death occurred.
Much fault lies within the Occupy Wall Street’s loose confederation world-wide for allowing anarchists, criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers to infiltrate the ranks of what started out as a peaceful protest movement.
Although many protests were peaceful, the reputation of what OWS stands for was heavily damaged until organizers realized that their movement had been infiltrated by malcontents and anarchists. Bent on attacking the establishment without realizing the damage, it has taken all of 2012 for attempts to address the loss to their reputations.
Events which I have personally witnessed here in Northern California (San Francisco and Oakland) where tens of millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted during their wanton destruction of public property that occurred during the Oakland Occupy Wall Street riots of 2011. Tragically such events continued well into 2012.
My family has personal experience as discussed on Twitter and privately when my now deceased 86 year old World War Two Veteran father was attacked by young thugs earlier in 2011 during the OWS San Francisco riots when illegal encampments filled with violent drug dealers and prostitutes became manifest. Tragically, my Dad never fully recovered from those attacks, ultimately leading to his early demise in December of 2012.
Whether people agree or not, the nature of such violent protests are what provides legal grounds for government agencies to take action. Readers should be aware that the Obama Administration has deftly taken a page from history during the news media’s courtship with this President in which major news stories like this are overlooked.
One should look back no further than President Nixon’s Administration and the Watergate debacle when it took over two years before the media paid real attention, ultimately leading to his resignation pending impeachment.
Let us hope that the media will be more attentive this time around as is Naomi Wolf, and that the Occupy Wall Street movement has learned valuable lessons that peaceful protest, following all laws is the only way to ensure their message is not lost.
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This article was jointly written and researched by Patricia Stewart and Kenn Weeks. It is a pleasure working with you Patricia on our first “Point” / “Counterpoint” news article here at WHRP about the lack of news coverage by the Main Street Media, or should I say the Lame Street Media (LSM)?
When we discussed this news site, we sought to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that liberal and conservative perspectives can peacefully coexist and collaborate to expose the failure of the news media to identify important human interest issues that everyone should be aware of.
We will return next week with another expose.
Stay tuned as Kenn from RockwaterReports announces more of our new Real News series in the future!
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