The World Economic
Forum (WEF) still has two days remaining and you can rest assured
New Yorkers, and a cadre of visiting billionaires, will have safe
access to corporate coffee. Along with street-closings, traffic
jams and protesters corralled into pens, a stroll through the streets
of Manhattan will reveal that each and every one of New York City's
Starbucks locations has 24-hour police protection this weekend for
fear of rallying window breakers.
The cost for police
overtime alone for the week long WEF will equal $11 million.
Usually I'm not a TV-watcher, but I flipped on the news last night
and watched some truly appalling coverage. Not only were the lot
of protesters portrayed as dangerous subversives, but the whole
news clip ran like a good verses evil recap of Bush's inane State
of the Union address. Only this time the valiant warriors are NYPD
and the evil doers are dredlocked suburban white kids.
Instead of exploring the issues the protesters came out to decry,
or even covering the WEF event, the local news stations focused
on a pointless us-against-them story. The NYPD played the part of
the unassailable protagonist and the protesters were the set up
as a straw man nemesis. No coverage of the issues at all -- just
a horse race going around and around. Gosh, reminds me of the election
The potential violence should have been an sidenote. Particularly
since there has not yet been any violent protests. Mainstream media
should be covering the issues at the heart of the WEF and the corresponding
protests. Globalization, the environment, racism, responsible corporate
global citizenship -- to name a few.
were 36 arrests yesterday -- according to the NYPD press conference
the police moved in on the crowd because (I'm paraphrasing here)
"they looked like they were ready to act aggressively." The footage
revealed NYPD officers in full riot gear stepping on the necks of
those same kids from the 'burbs with "Free Mumia" t-shirts and hemp-weave
sneakers. So did I get this right? The police started cracking skulls
because the crowd looked surly? If you saw these kids you'd
see that they don't look poised to attack -- rather, they look as
though they might spontaneously crack open a box of granola and
some soy milk.
So today's a beautiful day in New York (except for those 36 kids
calling home to Ohio or New Jersey or wherever to ask mom to send
some bail money). Those who rely on TV as a primary news source
will doubtless breathe a sigh of relief that NYC is safe from an
onslaught of unwashed hippies. They can order a double mocha latté
secure in the knowledge that the police are there to protect their
property -- never minding that it's ideas that are in jeopardy.