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by spocko

Read Next Week’s Occupy Stories Today! Spocko Exclusive!

8:58 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

(photo: edenpictures / flickr)

Last year I used my time-travel capability to describe what to look for in the Occupy Wall Street movement, how the media will cover it, how opponents will try to destroy it,  with suggestions on how to change the narrative by understanding the media. I’ll do it again this year. So, back to the future, today!

97.3 percent of the time the media are as predictable as Borgovian Land worms*. They are attracted to movement or noise. Like mina birds and toddlers they like shiny objects. Like Klingons they like a fight and conflict. They look for novelty because they are bored. And of course TV media love action – bonus coverage for blood! “Holy crap, the cops are throwing flash bang grenades? Scramble the Action News van, we’ve got our lead story!”

Occupy Wall Street is coming up on an anniversary and the media LOVE anniversaries, they can revisit the action with ‘perspective’ which is often a rehash of their conventional wisdom.  Here are some of stories you will see, and not see.

Overarching Story Line: “What has Occupy Wall Street accomplished?”

On one hand this seems a natural story line, but the problem is that the MSM looks at accomplishments only through certain narrow lenses.  Advertisers and marketing people have drummed into their thin skins and thick heads to only look at certain metrics by category such as:

Numbers and dollars: If you are selling a product they want to know how many cap snafflers were sold. What is the profit per cap snaffler?The media will pick the metrics that they think are important or have been told is important.

Expect stories about how much the Oakland Occupy cost the city in police overtime and clean up.

The media will contact the police and city public information people because they are easy to reach. What they won’t be doing is calling them liars when they exaggerate numbers because they will need to talk to them again in the future. They don’t know if they will ever talk to Ketchup again. 

They won’t be covering how much the financial sector’s illegal activities have cost the city in revenue. For example, how much more money would the city have if the LIBOR scandal didn’t hurt them? How much did the foreclosure misdealings cost the city in revenue? Did they back the state’s Attorney General in cases against banks? How much did the city lose in revenue compared to what the states got back for them?

Who is impacted? Say you are a TV show like Leverage, it’s good to have lots of people watching but it’s better to have the “right kind” of people tuned in.  Expect the media to categorize the Occupy attendees as “real Americans” with jobs vs. hippies in a drum circle. 

They won’t be explaining how the Wall Street financial crisis impacted employment. I was asked by one reporter. “How many of the Occupy people are unemployed?”  The MSM has this idea that “real Americans” with jobs protesting trumps students or unemployed. You don’t become less of an American when you lose your job. Unemployment driven by the financial lawbreaking and misdealing of Wall Street is an essential part of the protest. How lucky for the protestors that economic destruction has lead to having “free time” to protest! Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Who’s Undercover at Your Occupy Protest? In Oakland It’s These Guys.

11:09 am in Uncategorized by spocko

Today Copwatch put up this video of undercover police officers at Occupy Oakland protests.

“Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs“.

I would like for people in other Occupy cities to watch this, and if they have the skills, I encourage them to create the same kind of video or photo document. This is the kind of work that Charles Grapski has done on the New York and DC protests and Matt Kresling recently did on the Oakland Occupy protest. (Kresling was the blogger who took the KTVU footage of the protests and produced a video that clearly showed a police officer throwing a flash bang grenade into the crowd around Marine Scott Olsen.)

Police departments in various cities talk, they use some of the same tactics and methods. If I lived in Portland and supported Occupy Portland I could do this kind of video.  When done, I’d post the video and contact the local media covering this story.  They would then go to the police for comment.

The police will often say, “We don’t have undercover operatives.” They can then be shown the video to see how they respond to the video. (Remember when  the police said, “We didn’t use flash bang grenades, it was protesters with M-80s.” then they saw the footage?) Next they move to excuse number two, “We didn’t’ know about it.” Then to excuse number three, “The police officers are there to protect the safety of the protesters.” Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Hey Oakland PD! Got Proof of Protesters Throwing Skillets at Cops?

12:32 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Photo by Reginald James/ Flickr

Is there footage of the alleged skillet throwing? Are the throwers undercover cops? How do you know they aren't? Photo by Reginald James/

This morning there was a raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment.

I’ve read the accounts in the Oakland Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle and a live account from an independent citizen journalist in Salon.

As I wrote just this weekend, the authorities will use alleged examples of protester on cop violence to convince the media and public that these encampments need to be shut down.  Public officials will repeat even unconfirmed reports of protester on cop violence in order to create the impression that the protesters are a bunch of rock-throwing thugs that justify police wearing full riot gear to disperse the crowd.

The  suggestion of protester violence gets picked up and used by the city officials.

“We’ve been trying (to talk) with the Occupy Oakland people for the last two weeks,” Quan said. “Last week it was pretty clear that there was escalating violence. (SF Chronicle Demian Bulwa,Henry K. Lee,)

Here is an example from the Oakland Tribune above where the Oakland Police Department makes a statement to the media and is accepted at face value.

One police officer said that during the plaza camp shutdown, protesters threw several objects at police, including bottles, skillets, other kitchen utensils and rocks. They also “threw plates at us like Frisbees,” the officer said. Police confirmed that protesters had set off a fire extinguisher — mistaken at first for a smoke bomb — and several M-180 and M-1000 firecrackers, low-level explosives they used to try to confuse or deter oncoming police. (Kristin J. Bender and Sean Maher, Oakland Tribune)

I wasn’t at the dispersal.  If I was I would ask the unnamed police officer a few questions: Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

What to Do When the Media Says a Protester Attacked a Cop

11:15 am in Uncategorized by spocko

If it bleeds it leads.

- Old TV news saying

Say this weekend you turn on the TV and there is a teaser headline. “Occupy Wall Street Protests Turn Violent!” You tune in to hear the details. An anchorman says something like, “As with the protests in Greece and Egypt, it was only a matter of time before the protests in America turned violent. Today Occupy Wall Street protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police. ”

Now what do you do?

Do you drop to your knees, like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes and scream at the TV? “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you!”

Do you cynically shake your head and think, “That’s it, the movement has been discredited with violence just like back in the old days. Now the police will have an excuse to shut down all the Occupy protests with this as an excuse.”

I’m going to suggest another approach when you hear of reports of violence at an Occupy Wall Street protests.

Photo by DavidyDave, Flickr Creative Commons

1) Challenge the assumption that the violent protester(s) are actually Occupy Wall Street protesters.

The media move fast, they don’t believe it is their job to know who started the violence, just that it started. If someone looks like an Occupy Wall Street protester, they are an OWS protester, even if they are an editor from the Right Wing publication American Spectator who is at the protest specifically to discredit the movement.

2) Scour all the footage and photos you can find of the instigators of the violence at the protest.

3) Crowd-source the images and ask for help identifying them.

4) Write a post about it on a blog with info on the person(s) and their background.

5) Contact the media and point out who that protest was started by. It could be people like:

  • An agent provocateur (Such as Patrick Howley, Assistant Editor of The American Spectator who bragged about his role starting the actions that led to pepper spraying at the D.C. Air and Space Museum) Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Tell the 1% What You Think at Occupy The Board Room

2:13 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

The website was put together to give us 99% an opportunity to talk with the 1%. It lets you pick a “penpal” you can write to and tell your story. People can pick from dozens of top executives at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley

The stories will be sent to the actual email accounts of the executives as well as delivered by mail. You can read some of the funny, heartbreaking and passionate letters already written at the Occupy The Board Room Mail Bag.

The site encourages you to write your letter in a constructive manner that helps build the movement for a better world. From the site: “DO NOT intimidate, harass or threaten anyone, no matter what you might think of them. Think funny! The #OWS movement emphasizes peaceful, non-violent protesting.”

I think this is a great idea for people who can’t get down to the various OWS sites to participate. I’m always trying to think about what kind of actions are necessary to either change the configuration of someone’s thinking or to change people’s behavior.

This website is designed to reach the 1% but there are other important audiences that these stories are for:

1) Anyone in the MSM who wants to believe that Occupy Wall Street supporters are just young people or “dirty hippies” There are hundreds of stories to chose from of home owners, retired people, working stiffs, average Janes and Joes.

2) The right wing media who desperately want to discredit the movement. If they follow their standard playbook they will take a few of the examples and turn them into a “Blame the victim for their poor choice of parents, life choices, industry choices and financial decisions.” If you can’t pull yourself up from your bootstraps and fly around the room they want you to shut up.

Read the rest of this entry →