The NATO summit meeting in Chicago this weekend was the target of a diverse collage of left-wing groups as people with the Occupy movement streamed into Chicago for protests that culminated in violent clashes with cops and 45 arrests on Sunday. Before the summit the Times reported the protest would be a sign of how strong Occupy remained. Yet once the violence and terrorism charges began flying in Chicago, the Occupy movement all but disappeared from the paper's coverage.
It's a pattern for the Times, which routinely downplayed violence in the Occupy movement, yet fretted over hypothetical threats of violence posed by the Tea Party.
Last Thursday Monica Davey and Steven Yaccino set the table with "Big Gathering For NATO Puts Chicago On High Alert."
The formal meeting of NATO is to start on Sunday, but by Wednesday evening, buses carrying demonstrators from Occupy movements in eight cities around the nation were expected to begin converging on Chicago. The concerns of demonstrators vary widely: among them are those who say they oppose war, and those who say foreign military spending -- and the work of NATO -- has taken away from efforts for health care, education, immigration and other pressing matters.
On Saturday Davey and Yaccino again mentioned the Occupy involvement in "Chicago Protests Draw Thousands Before NATO Event."
A far larger “anti-NATO” march was expected on Sunday, and violent images from earlier global gatherings, like a World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999, have left some in Chicago on edge -- businesses closed, windows boarded and the Loop oddly quiet.
For some, the outcome of the weekend’s protests will be viewed as a trial of the strength of the Occupy movement months after the groups emerged in cities around the nation with messages about income inequality. Demonstrators have been arriving on buses from Occupy-related groups around the country, and some observers have suggested that the number of protesters who ultimately appear here will serve as a sign of the movement’s current state.
“This is the spring -- this is the rising,” said Christina Cooke, a member of an Occupy group from Buffalo who took part in the march here. “Everyone is still here after the long winter. We are still active with more passion than we’ve ever had.”
Yet when actual terrorism and violence erupted in Chicago, the Occupy link mysteriously vanished from Times coverage.
Sunday's dispatch from Chicago by Idalmy Carrera and Steven Yaccino was titled "3 in Chicago Face Charges Of Terrorism In Protests."
Tensions were increasing here on Saturday, the eve of a NATO summit meeting, after three men were accused of planning attacks on President Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters, the house of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police stations and financial institutions in downtown Chicago, according to prosecutors.
The men, who were among thousands of people from out of town who traveled to Chicago for a weekend of NATO-related protests, were charged with criminal acts relating to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and possession of explosives. Bond for the three men -- Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H.; Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.; and Brian Jacob Church, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- was set at $1.5 million each. The state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, said that this was the first time she knew of that defendants had been charged under the state’s antiterrorism statute. She declined to comment on possible federal charges.
Note that the accused plotters couldn't possibly have anything to do with the protesters "arriving on buses from Occupy-related groups around the country," but are now merely a few of the "thousands of people from out of town who traveled to Chicago" to protest NATO. What happened to the Occupy push?
On Monday the Times raised the Occupy link covering the Sunday violence in which 45 protesters were arrested, only to squash it: "Police Officers and Protesters Clash in Chicago Outside Meeting of NATO Leaders."
The Times outlined terror-related charges against two more men:
Lawyers for both men denied the charges, and suggested that the authorities in Chicago were overstating the claims as a warning to the thousands of protesters, some of them linked to the Occupy movement, who have descended on the city for the summit meeting.
The paper insisted (as it always does) that it was a mostly peaceful vibe, while suggesting "the mood" set by Chicago authorities carried at least some of the blame for violence.
At times, the march was calm. Some protesters could be seen joking with the police. But some protesters said the mood -- and all the talk of arrests and plots -- had raised emotions.