....LMB: "More Anarchist Bashing"....

July 12, 2004

Sigh.

The tabloid the New York Daily News has another politically stifling scare story:

Yes, ANARCHY THREAT TO CITY.

The entire article is goofy, really. If you look at the "substance" of the article, the NYC police commissioner claims that anarchists have posted ideas for disrupting the Republican National Convention to the internet. What website? He doesn't say. How do we know that this stuff is posted by anarchists? We don't. As we all should know, posting stuff to the internet anonymously, or while misrepresenting your identity, is pretty easy. Watch.

This is Jaleel White, but you probably know me best as the lovable TV nerd "Urkel". I want to urge you all to turn into giant sea monsters and destroy the Australian coast.

Thank you, good night

(I'd like to take this moment to condemn Jaleel "Urkel" White for his evil terroristical plot to destroy Australia. Thank you.)

And even if you look at these alleged anarchist ploys, you won't come away real scared. The "threat" that this "shadowy, loose-knit band of traveling troublemakers" pose is that some of them might make their clothes smell like gunpowder to so that bomb-sniffing dogs stop and smell them, wasting police officers' time. Or, if the officer was particularly paranoid, and the place was public enough, it could result in delays of subway trains or something (although I want to re-iterate, there's not even any evidence here that any anarchists posted these ideas, or plan to carry them out).

The article also claims that anarchists plan to throw marbles under the hooves of police horses to make them fall, or to use slingshots to shoot marbles at the horses. This sounds completely bogus. Just about all anarchists believe in animal rights (it's a byproduct of the political philosophy. Once you start thinking that it's wrong to use force on a person to get your way, you start believing that it's wrong to use force on any creature to get your way), which makes it very unlikely that they're going to try to harm horses.

The article concludes with a quick history re-write, in which all of the major protests in the past 5 years are tales of heroic cops fighting devious protesters.

So, in response, another "anarchist" (no real way of knowing, right?) posted this FAQ-ish response. Here's an excerpt:

What about all those police claims of violent or terroristic behavior?

Time after time police have made similar claims. Time after time they have been proven to be lying.

Just look at the hard facts, compare police predictions before and during protests with what actually ends up happening. Again and again, police spokesmen predict terrible violence. They predict goons with molotov cocktails, anarchists setting off bombs, protesters throwing acid or slabs of concrete at policemen, or even more bizarre fantasies - during the last Republican Convention, for instance, Philadelphia police claimed anarchists were preparing to release poisonous snakes and reptiles all over the city. During the protests, they often claim such things are actually happening. But every time, when it's all over, police are either forced to grudgingly admit they were "mistaken" (the molotovs turned out to be paint thinner used in making puppets, the van full of reptiles turned out to be owned by a pet store), or they just stop talking about it and hope nobody notices that none of these things ever actually occurred.

Real terrorists try to create terror. They threaten to do terrible things, to kill and maim innocent people, if governments do not agree to their demands. Then they go out and do it. Afterwards, they boast about it and threaten more. Here we have the exact opposite. The anarchists who help organize protests in America have never threatened to hurt anyone, never claimed to have hurt anyone, and in fact, in four years of protests, have never have hurt a single innocent bystander in any way. Despite that, every time there's a major protest, the police keep trying to terrify the public by predicting mayhem, and the anarchists keep desperately trying to reassure the public that there's nothing to be frightened of, that the last thing we'd ever want to do is to harm them.

In other words, it's the police spokesmen who keep trying to create a climate of terror. We keep trying to diffuse it.

So we've got two things working in tandem here: police who want to scare the public so that they'll accept repressive police behavior to "save" the city; and news organizations that draw more audience and sell more papers when they have scary stories to tell. Gotta love the synergy.

Posted by Jake at 10:19 PM | TrackBack (0)
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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