Blatant bias in NYT article
by Hudson, Fri Mar 17, 2006 at 11:21:40 AM EST
The words intimidation and suppression come to my mind. But if you're a headline writer at The New York Times, the word of choice to describe these un-American activities is ... calming:
Police Memos Say Arrest Tactics Calmed Protest
by Jim Dwyer
New York City police commanders discussed how they had used "proactive arrests" at political demonstrations in 2002.
Sounds reassuring, eh? See, the cops were just trying to calm things down.
And those "discussions"? Those were actually in private, internal memoranda, brought to light only as a result of a lawsuit. By using the word "discussed" in the lede, the casual skimmer of the article might think this information came as a result of some up-front, open dialogue with the public.
More after the jump...
The whole article (click HERE) is well worth reading; here are some excerpts:
The reports also made clear what the police have yet to discuss publicly: that the department uses undercover officers to infiltrate political gatherings and monitor behavior.
Under the heading of recommendations, the draft suggested, "Utilize undercover officers to distribute misinformation within the crowds."
A police inspector praised the "staging of massive amounts" of armored vehicles, prisoner wagons and jail buses in the view of the demonstrators, writing that the sight "would cause them to be alarmed."
It was useful to have buses with corrections officers on hand," Captain Hardiman wrote. "They also had a powerful psychological effect."
The reports, which were heavily edited at the request of the city, also discuss the use of undercover officers at the protests. Captain Hardiman wrote that "the use of undercovers from narcotics provided useful information." And on Inspector Shortell's list of positive aspects of the strategy, he listed "the use of undercover personnel in the ranks of the protesters."
So the question is: Who applied the "calming" spin on this otherwise alarming article?
The headline is unlikely to have been the choice of the reporter, in a large media organization like the Times. And for what reason, except to diminish public outrage? Perhaps someone at the NYT feels that protecting the police is more important than accuracy in media.
No doubt the verbs "intimidate" and "suppress" were deemed too inflammatory for the Times. But they could have chosen a more neutral word, such as "minimize." Instead they chose "calm," and the question is not are just Why? but also, how can anyone seriously call the media liberal, when even the paper most despised by right-wingers acts to protect these kinds of illegal tactics?