The New York Times’s coverage of the left-anarchist Occupy movement has been very favorable, pushing the group’s vague aims of “fighting economic inequality” while downplaying the anti-Semitism, violence, vandalism, and general squalor of the leftist campouts. Now that undeniable violence has broken out at an Occupy Oakland protest that blocked the city port and halted commerce, how will the Times respond?
A report on Occupy Oakland by Maria Wollan in Thursday’s paper, “Oakland’s Port Shuts Down as Protesters March on Waterfront,” only hinted at the simmering violence.
Thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters expanded their anti-Wall Street demonstrations on Wednesday, marching through downtown, picketing banks and swarming the port. By early evening, port authorities said maritime operations there were effectively shut down.
“Maritime area operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so,” port officials said in a statement, asking marchers to “allow your fellow 99% to get home safe to their families.”
Despite the disruption of work, the crowd at the port was peaceful.
Not until paragraph 20 could we read that things weren’t exactly “peaceful” in Oakland, a sign of the increased mob violence to come later that night.
Ms. Quan, meanwhile, urged protesters to patronize and not penalize the downtown businesses that remained open. The mood at the protest remained jovial throughout the day as ice cream vendors, pushing their carts, joined the marchers, though some graffiti appeared on the walls of banks and there were reports of several broken windows at banks and other businesses.
On Thursday morning, Wollan posted an update on the vandalism that transpired later Wednesday night: “Protest in Oakland Turns Violent," though even there Wollan took pains to emphasize it was "a small group" of violent vandals who broke off from a "peaceful march" of protesters.
Tear gas hung over Oakland for the second time in two weeks after a small group of demonstrators faced off against police early Thursday following a peaceful march of thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters.
A roving group of about 100 mostly young men broke from the main group of protesters in a central plaza and roamed through downtown streets spraying graffiti, burning garbage and breaking windows. The police said some in the group briefly occupied a building on 16th Street near the port.
After warning the group to clear the building, which according to local media reports was vacant, officers in riot gear fired tear gas and bean bag rounds shortly after midnight local time. Dozens of protesters “wielding shields” were arrested, the police said; the building was cleared by around 2 a.m.
The spasm of violence early Thursday morning came after thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters had expanded their anti-Wall Street demonstrations on Wednesday, marching through downtown, picketing banks and swarming the port. By early evening, port authorities said maritime operations there were effectively shut down.
Now the question is: How prominently will the Times play the Occupy Oakland violence in Friday’s edition?