People have begun to notice the verbal smack-down between Occupy Philly protestors and members of the Philly media recorded by WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler and reported here Monday (You can hear the exchange by playing the audio above).
I enjoyed this from Randy LoBasso of the Philadelphia Weekly blog Daily Grinder:
Everyone knows how much Philly news media sucks, right? Like, really, really sucks, and then sucks some more? Turns out, it sucks so bad, we – from the Inquirer to Newsworks to Philly Weekly to City Paper to The Drexel Triangle (?) – completely screwed up the reporting on Occupy Philly. And it was constant. Like, even though we were told Occupy Philly was a leaderless movement, we didn’t always seek out the “so-called leaders” for comment. And even though we often slept there, we didn’t all sleep there every night, to get the real story. And even though plenty of those in the media reported on the scuffles between police and protesters the night/morning of the eviction from Dilworth Plaza, they also didn’t. You can hear all about it, and more, here.
And Philebrity has weighed in with typically under-stated commentary.
I originally posted the audio without comment because I knew the exchange itself would provoke interesting reactions.
Now, here’s my take: It’s rare anybody engaged in advocacy thinks they get fair or adequate coverage from the media. It’s an imperfect world, and reporters doing their best won’t make everyone happy. And it’s not likely that many editors in this day of downsizing will devote staff to embedding with the Occupy troops.
But I don’t buy the notion that reporters ignored police brutality the night authorities cleared the encampment, or were too lazy to look for it, or simply took the mayor’s word on events.
As Inquirer columnist Melissa Dribben explains in the audio, there’s no motive to misrepresent events, and reporters will report what they see.
If there were abuses reporters didn’t see, I can’t believe they wouldn’t be interested in victims prepared to say what happened to them on the record, especially if there were visible injuries and cell phone pictures or corroborating accounts from others.
You can’t have read the Philadelphia newspapers over the past ten years and conclude they’re afraid of criticizing the police.
Advocates have a responsibility in the communications equation, too. There are a lot of voices competing for attention, and if you have a story to tell, find a reporter and try and convince them it’s worth hearing.