On September 26, 2009, the New York Times deemed it fit to run an article called "Thousands Hold Peaceful March at G-20 Summit," in which propagandist Ian Urbina informed us of "several thousand demonstrators" converging on downtown Pittsburgh in light of that city's hosting of the Group of 20 (G-20) meeting. Urbina called it a "peaceful and permitted march." The demonstrators, he said, were "calling for solutions to a range of problems that they attributed to the economic policies of the world leaders." Later, he told of speakers urging demonstrators to "fight for an array of social issues they felt had been largely ignored in global economic policy."
"They attributed" and "they felt."
Okay, in a rare case of actual objectivity, Urbina was careful to clarify that not everyone agrees with the protesters. However, that's where the any attempt at journalism ended. If Urbina were capable of even an iota of independent thought, he'd have found out why demonstrators feel and attribute what they feel and attribute. But"it's so much easier to just describe what they looked liked.
Some wore fatigues, some chimed cymbals, one played a French horn, 400 "self-described anarchists" were clad in black, and dig this: one very radical group even "held aloft with bamboo poles a giant fabric replica of a dove." None of these dissidents, Urbina reminded us, ever got closer than the steps of the city-county building, blocks from where the G-20 meeting was being held.
Ain't dissent neat? Surely peace and justice will be upon us soon.
When telling his loyal readers about a group called "Students for Justice in Palestine" and what they were calling for, propagandist Urbina was extra-cautious to use quotation marks: "the Israeli occupation." A practicing journalist might have at least used a search engine to include some context from United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), which refers to the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and calls for the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."
Unburdened by such rudimentary journalistic standards, Urbina goes on to end his report by quoting a 20-year-old student from Duquesne University, who was somehow "optimistic that it would be hard to ignore thousands in the street." As the student explained: "They will listen to a certain degree. They might not necessarily do anything."
Take home message: f*ck the New York Times and f*ck peaceful and permitted marches that won't necessarily do anything.
Mickey Z. is the author of two upcoming books: Self Defense for Radicals (PM Press) and his second novel, Dear Vito (The Drill Press). Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net