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My only encounter with Jim Hyde

When we did the Ron Wyden sit-in during the vote to authorize force in Iraq, we sent out press releases to all of the press we could think of. Noone from the Oregonian, noone from WW or the Mercury or OPB, or streetroots, or any of several radio stations, and noone from the Tribune showed up. Several Indymedia people came and attended all day and did good stories on the event, Dave Mazza from the Alliance came and stayed all day (but I never saw an article--doesn't mean one didn't come out), one TV news camera (with no reported) from a station I can't remember came out for about 5 minutes, and Jim Hyde and a camera person came out. Jim stayed for about 45 minutes, he took his time interviewing people outside and in. He was incredibly respectful of us, friendly, he asked intelligent, thoughtful questions. I was somewhat shocked because I expected him to be a jerk, being from KPTV and such.
Here is a story about my only encounter with Jim Hyde:

When we did the Ron Wyden sit-in during the vote to authorize force in Iraq, we sent out press releases to all of the press we could think of. Noone from the Oregonian, noone from WW or the Mercury or OPB, or streetroots, or any of several radio stations, and noone from the Tribune showed up. Several Indymedia people came and attended all day and did good stories on the event, Dave Mazza from the Alliance came and stayed all day (but I never saw an article--doesn't mean one didn't come out), one TV news camera (with no reported) from a station I can't remember came out for about 5 minutes, and Jim Hyde and a camera person came out. Jim stayed for about 45 minutes, he took his time interviewing people outside and in. He was incredibly respectful of us, friendly, he asked intelligent, thoughtful questions. I was somewhat shocked because I expected him to be a jerk, being from KPTV and such.

Preconceived notions are usually wrong, but only when two people treat each other with respect.

I can remember only one quote from him, "I cannot see how anyone, anywhere can be for this war." I also remember him voicing some frustration with the limitations of TV--playing to the public and the boss. He struck me as someone on our side that was doing what he could within very tight external limitations. A reformer from the inside.

That evening KPTV was (in my memory) the only TV news that actually played footage from the sit in. In fact, Jim not only covered the sit in, but made us look like heroes. At the end, he credited us with forcing Ron Wyden's hand and making him vote against the resolution! This was more than even we thought about our impact and went far in pushing the idea that direct democracy can work.

I'm only reporting this to give another side of the issue and urge people to be nice to each other until that no longer works. You may be surprised at how much more effective that is.

img 17.Jan.2004 14:17

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On being nice to corporate reporters 18.Jan.2004 09:39

CatWoman

Well, since I had a recent encounter with Jim Hyde that was reported here as well, I wanted to comment on this post. I have to tell you, I wasn't all that comfortable with personally targeting Jim, because as I said, he is only a symptom of the overall disease that is corporate media. To his credit, he did stay to engage in discussion with the people for quite some time before leaving. ...even if he did say some really thoughtless things along the way. And honestly, he seems like a nice (though clueless) guy to me. And, for the record, I despise KPTV, but less so than, for example, KATU. KATU tops my list of eggregiously erroneous and slanted "news" being spun in the pockets of the PBA.

Having said that, I now make the point that this man, who has a cushy job and a high salary and a roof over his head, was complicit in the deaths of those who froze to death in the storm. He, along with all his corporate colleagues, failed to raise the alarm. Failed to fulfill their duty as journalists -- that of being watchdogs and following important stories that have real impact on our community. And when questioned about this failure, he responded that it was "tough" that people who didn't have the resources to which he feels so entitled actually died in the cold. Cutsey human interest stories are still being churned out about the weather, but the fact that some people actually froze to death was a non-story. It was, simply, tough.

Mr Hyde had a lot of empathy for a hypothetical "single mom cop," whom he made up on the fly to explain the corporate coverage of the recent anti-bush and anti-war demonstrations. When asked how he or his station could possibly justify the fact that police brutally attacked peaceful demonstrators on the streets of America for exercising their constitutional right to speak out against a wrong being committed in their name, Mr. Hyde resorted to imaginary friendly single-mom cops who couldn't help it. He said she, this single mom cop, might have felt threatened by the people in the crowd -- even though she and all her riot cop colleagues were decked out in armor and carrying assault weapons while the people in the crowd had none. He said some people in the crowd often start "throwing bombs" and then softened that to "verbal bombs." Wouldn't it be nice if he could have had as much empathy for a real, flesh and blood human being freezing in the cold as he had for an imaginary friendly single mom cop?

The point is, Jim had to go to great lengths and leaps of imagination to justify what he does for a living. He knows it's wrong, but he -- like so many others -- fails to call it out because he benefits too much from it. He might be a nice enough guy, but he is on the side of the oppressor and he knows it. And, as Bill pointed out in the thread running from the story I wrote, "Our goal is not to induce in him Calvinistic despair, not to drive him into the oppressors' machine; but to help the nice guy win over the professional. Never forgetting to protect ourselves from the claws of the ladder." (Thanks Bill.)

The airwaves are a public resource that belongs, by rights, to The People. They can be a very powerful force for either good or evil. And right now, they have been taken over by the corporate elite, and we all know what side they're on. The issue here is not whether Jim Hyde is a nice guy. The issue is that our airwaves have been hijacked and we need to take them back. If that means calling out a corporate reporter when you see one, so be it. I believe in being good to each other when we can as well, Kurt. But this is, literally, a life or death struggle. People are dying every day because of the reality created by the corporate media. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in the streets of Portland, people die when corporate reporters fail to do what is right.


(PS Just for the record, indymedia did cover the Ron Wyden sit-in. We showed a video on the subject during the Resistance shows that month, from which I learned one of my favorite songs: "Which side are you on Ron Wyden, which side are you on." But I am happy that Mr. Hyde also covered this important story.)

indymedia 18.Jan.2004 13:32

kurtkabang

for the record, i said in my story that "several indymedia people came, attended all day, and did good stories on the event."

Yeah, Kurt 18.Jan.2004 13:52

Bill

I see your intention.

However, you are saying it in a way which implies that the other folks who posted to the original article advocate being un-nice to Jim. That is not true.

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/278398.shtml

Most posters focused on the corporations. Catwoman insists Jim is a good person, except for some attitudes which she needs to tell because (it seems to me) she does not understand them. I say that Jim, like everyone, holds some contradictory attitudes, which can be separated and which he appears to distinguish. You have told another story of Jim putting off the corporate uniform.

Be nice to people. Yes. It is the only way we can win this struggle.

Be intelligent, too. When people put on their uniforms, whether they be vader costumes, mao jackets, video cameras, or for that matter obnoxious drunks, be wary of the attitudes which they put on with the suits.

----- ----- ----- -----

I wrote this for the original article. I see that Catwoman has stiffened her attitude a little. I still represent her accurately.

Catwoman is right. We must hold people accountable for what they do. For everything they do, good and bad. It is easy, it is lazy, to indulge in one dimensional activism... be nice.. off the pigs... up the queen. It is nice to be nice when Jim is nice. It is stupid to be nice when Jim is stupid. Both encourage him to continue being nice and stupid.

Addenda 18.Jan.2004 13:58

Bill

We must appeal to the uniforms as well as the human beings inside. Because they are joined at the hip, deep down inside. The reporter, and the drunk, have needs, too. They definitely do not need nice, but they need.

Even the poor sucker in the vader costume. ... two tracks :

Those vader costumes do not need to be so awkward, hot, heavy, constricting, all that equipment bouncing, bruising spines and thighs. They are designed to constrict the wearers spirit as well as his body. The costumes are designed to irritate, to edge tempers towards violence.

The other thing... maybe we better remove the kevlar and switch to blues... Cops are taught to provoke fear and resentment. No human being wants that; every human knows fear breeds explosive violence. Cops are also taught that cringing is a mark of the criminal personality. They are taught a lot of things. They are drilled to make snap reactions which profoundly conflict with all their myriad inside-the-uniform human personalities. Like anyone, if you drop one into a swineherd, he will run with the herd. Separtate him from the herd and you have a person again.

When a cop is ordered to throw his bicycle at some kid's back, like Jim Hyde, he has to convince himself that it is a cold, cold world.

Well said, Catwoman 18.Jan.2004 14:04

Bill

It is obvious that you have been thinking about this.

. 20.Jan.2004 14:06

Bill

The sensitive newsreader cries in Ethiopia
and we admire
Emotion a delicacy that surprises us more than murder

from 'For Katrina' By Gig Ryan
posted by Migratory Bird,
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/278764.shtml