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NY Times' already shady reporting on DNC/RNC

opinion (rant) piece. After hearing Democracy Now's coverage of the DNC/RNC preparations and learning that cops in Denver will be arresting citizens for wielding video cameras, I decided to find out if the mainstream media is covering these developments as well. I find many flaws in a recent New York Times article on security preparations at the DNC/RNC
Here's a scary, but poorly-written article by David Johnston in the New York Times on Denver and St. Paul.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/us/politics/05security.html

How did this guy get a job at the New York Times?!

Write him a letter (nytnews AT nytimes DOT com; letters AT nytimes DOT com) and ask him why he draws so many unfounded claims in his article, like: "New worries about protests and anarchy could bolster the government's case that the plans are justified." Period. Seriously. That's how the paragraph ends, never to be recovered anywhere else in the article.

He also gets information from sources such as "people briefed on the matter" and "federal officials". So is he admitting he actually didn't get interviews with anyone and is reporting second hand? That would explain his sloppy, evasive style.

Early in the article he makes the jump from anarchists to white separatists, without a pause. He also implies that Denver and St. Paul need more security, that they only have a fraction of what New York City had. Doesn't New York City have, like 12 million people?

And since when is "homeland security" a common colloquial phrase? Is this guy officially adapting it into 'mainstream journalism' to be included in Webster's next year? And what the hell does it mean in this context:
>>Kenneth L. Wainstein, the White House adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, recently visited Denver and St. Paul, a trip that reflected the administration's interest in the conventions. "In the post-9/11 world, you have to prepare and plan for all contingencies," Mr. Wainstein said.<<
Was there no protesting before 9-11? Why does the Recreate 68 name scare them, then?
>> "That means preparing for everything from a minor disruption and an unruly individual to a broader terrorist event. We need to plan for everything no matter what the threat level is on any particular day."<<
'Unruly individuals' need White House counterterrorism units on their butts? How about a mediator or a doctor or a meal? That's a bit like this guy, equating protest with crime:
"Because of the Internet, the ability of protesters to mobilize and share information has metastasized," said Troy A. Eid, the United States attorney for Colorado. "That would be fine if it were peaceful, as we expect. But we have to plan accordingly." Uh, we expect it to be peaceful, so we're planning accordingly...I mean, uh, we're planning to keep those who metastasize on the internet from being, uh...being peaceful.

>>Each convention has been designated a National Special Security Event, which makes the Secret Service the lead federal agency responsible for protecting dignitaries and providing overall security. Other agencies will be on standby.<<
Johnston doesn't reveal the details of what the Fusion Centers (calls them Special Security Centers really are or the fact that many private militant security firms, immune to accountability, much less investigation, will be on hand. He just writes:
>>Each convention has been designated a National Special Security Event, which makes the Secret Service the lead federal agency responsible for protecting dignitaries and providing overall security. Other agencies will be on standby.<< (for the details, see Democracy Now's recent coverage) He only mentions the 'complex heirarchy of protocols' and 'rumors' of 'exotic weapons', but doesn't detail the merged security are being instructed to take and the weapons they are allowed to carry. Again this makes me think he did minimal research for this article. He's either a very lazy reporter or a shill for the police state. New York Times?! sure.

And I LOVE the following glaring contradiction that he doesn't bother expand on, but maybe, by juxtaposing the facts (hundreds of troops on site) with the weasely lie (There won't be a visible military presence), he makes a point (unintentionally?) that, well, duh! the troops, like the Secret Service and FBI, have every intention of being secretive about their presence. They learned SOMETHING from Katrina. And why do they have bio-radio-chemical training and weapons when the Denver FBI rep said there isn't a threat from terrorists? Is it maybe to USE those tactics on civilians?

>>The National Guard in Minnesota and Colorado will each have hundreds of troops on call to their governors to help civilian medical personnel or bomb squads, for instance, if needed. National Guard specialists trained to deal with biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons will also be available.
"There won't be a visible military presence," said Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, director of operations for the military's Northern Command, which is in charge of the military's response to threats on American soil.<<

Well, that says it all. Protestors are seen as threats on American soil.

liberal fears of "anarchy" oh no! 05.Aug.2008 13:59

anonymoustoo

I'm not seeing why you are so upset with the NY Times article. If anything, they have played down the fact that radicals are organizing to shut down the city and made the government look like they're overreacting. Of course they are going to spend millions on cops to beat protesters. What else do you expect? Do you not remember every other mass mobilization in the past 10 years?

This statement is NOT unfounded: "New worries about protests and anarchy could bolster the government's case that the plans are justified." There are plans for anarchy. That's the idea. If demonstrators are not a threat to the status quo in this country then they need to stop holding signs alltogether and pick up different tactics. I'm just happy that protesting is still a bit of a threat, and, in fact, I'm surprised that it still is with so many yuppie pacifists doing Die-Ins that no one (not even the cops) care about. Way to stop the war, good job. At least those hooligans in all black give a shit enough to actually give the state a hard time. And yes, the state should be afraid. If not, then we're doing something wrong.

Times? 06.Aug.2008 11:38

Den Mark, Vancouver

I never read NYT & most definitely never buy it. It is, & always has been, a waste of paper & ink, a COLOSSAL waste of paper & ink.

Fact check 07.Aug.2008 09:36

Donutman hypercube32@comcast.net

As far as those NSSEs go, do you need to know or do you *want* to know? I don't think you have to know, so..

Choice quotes:

' '"New worries about protests and anarchy could bolster the government's case that the plans are justified." Period. Seriously. That's how the paragraph ends, never to be recovered anywhere else in the article.' '

Indeed, "could bolster". Personally, I think the real problems which will be adequately handled with as few Homeland Security personnel as possible ( seriously, do they exist for real reasons other then to steal people's laptops? ) are: (A) Republican agitators plus saboteurs and/or people pretending to be Democrats or independent journalists, (B) Slightly stupid civil defense types who will bombard the periphery of the area with their amateur forms of electronic radiation, however both pir8 and activist signals should be able to radio in, (C) Actual terrorists which is who the civil defense ppl freak out about and the U.S. government seems to have a handle on at the moment.

' 'He also gets information from sources such as "people briefed on the matter" and "federal officials". So is he admitting he actually didn't get interviews with anyone and is reporting second hand? That would explain his sloppy, evasive style.' '

He's using restricted and reserved forms of sources, and periodically he probably collaborates with reporters and goes to the military to receive the info he writes about. If you tried running every piece of investigative journalism into only two camps: open and classified then you would be omitting the presence of true state secrets ( how Obama and McCain are protected ) and what I would categorize as other: military intelligence and military nuclear.

' 'Early in the article he makes the jump from anarchists to white separatists, without a pause. He also implies that Denver and St. Paul need more security, that they only have a fraction of what New York City had. Doesn't New York City have, like 12 million people?' '

To me, this is a step up from the time of Ridge, Gonzalez and Ashcroft's "lone wolf" government of suspicion and arrogant, white male honchos. The white separatists are a threat to McCain and the anarchists could heckle Obama if given the chance. That's the whole point behind press passes, blocking physical access to non-essential personnel, etc. If you are vetted and cleared before the event by security and the Secret Service then you can get in. I am curious to know if, for example, the local Denver high school and college news reporters will be able to get inside like NBC and CNN will if they follow that particular procedure.

' 'And since when is "homeland security" a common colloquial phrase?' '

It isn't. It's just this reporter doing it this one time, or he's trying to be a government shill, or he's making his clarion call which is more unlikely now that more people have increased access to the facts as they happen.