My late great father-in-law Marvelous Marvin Sutton used to delight in declaring at suitable intervals, “Tough sledding on Wall Street: No snow.”
So it was when an Adbusters-inspired protest (#OccupyWallStreet) filled New York’s Financial District last week with hundreds (not the projected thousands) of activists decrying the capitalist system.
But Monday’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal had starkly different versions of what actually transpired during the protests.
From L. Gordon Crovitz’ Journal column:
A few hundred self-described “over-educated and under-employed” young people turned up for several days to camp out and carry cardboard signs. They occupied Zuccotti Park, a few blocks from Wall Street. This dislodged recent immigrants from their lunchtime chess matches and local teenagers from their evening skateboarding. New Yorkers mostly rolled their eyes, or as comedian Stephen Colbert put it, “If there’s one thing New Yorkers never ignore, it’s people sleeping in a park.” . . .
A tabloid’s headline, “Violence Erupts at Wall St. Protest,” proved overstated. There were arrests for erecting tents (protesters said they were trying to keep their laptops dry) and wearing masks (violating a century-old statute against masked gatherings).
From the Times report:
For a few moments on Saturday, the confrontations between the police and the protesters just south of Union Square in Manhattan seemed fairly typical. People pushed, the police shoved and arrests were made, and in the many videos recording the protest, it was not always clear which of the three had come first.
As the police arrested a protester in the street, an officer wearing a white shirt — indicating a rank of lieutenant or above — walked toward a group of demonstrators nearby and sent a blast of pepper spray that hit four women, the videos show.
Numerous videos and photos captured the aftermath: two women crumpled on the sidewalk in pain, one of them screaming. They were temporarily blinded, one of the women, Chelsea Elliott, said.
You should read the pieces in full to get the full picture. But there’s no question that the Times and the Journal saw different realities in the same events.
Plus ça change and etc.