Uncritical Mass

I missed the first two days of the convention due to a family emergency. I didn’t actually get a lot of news; i didn’t go near downtown Saint Paul.

Unfortunately, I had to depend on the news media for information. It was that bad.

Like most party conventions, the RNC was pretty much a scripted, predictable pageant, up until Palin’s speech a week ago (for which I was in attendance), so there wasn’t much news.

Now, the mass of protesters – which turned out to be 1/5 to 1/10 as big as “organizers” had originally predicted? They got media coverage. Not only were most of the mainstream media gamboling about among the clots of the disaffected upper-middle-class whites on the street, but practically half of the “demonstrators” were calling themselves “media” as well. So the protests? Yes, they got covered.

Well, let’s be clear; the parts of the protests that the agenda-driven leftymedia wanted covered – alleged police overreaching and alleged excessive force – got covered in slathering detail.

Other stories? Like, atrocities committed by the anarkids?

You can scan the lefty alt-media a long time and find no reference to anything like this:

One 80 year old delegate had to be hospitalized from the violence by the Leftists.

The Alabama delegation was one of the buses that was attacked today in Minnesota.

The Leftist, anarchist, Obama-supporting radicals attacked RNC delegates today at the Xcel Center and sprayed them with a toxic substance.

An 80 year old RNC delegate had to be hospitalized!!

With all the video cameras the likes of the Minnesoros Independent were deploying, you’d think this bit of video might have gotten some play. Molly Priesmeyer would probably breezily quip that they’re all just a bunch of old white people; but if she did, it’d be more coverage than all the rest the “citizen journalists” of the lefty altmedia devoted to the lethal attack on people exercising their First Amendment rights.

They certainly didn’t cover this:

As the Connecticut delegation was getting off a bus near the Xcel Center, a group of protesters broke free from authorities and attacked the delegates.

Connecticut delegate Rob Simmons told FOX 9 that a group of protesters came toward his delegation and tried to rip the credentials off their necks and sprayed them with a toxic substance.

The unknown substance burned their eyes and stained their clothes.

One 80-year-old member of the delegation had to be treated for injuries, and several other delegates had to rinse their eyes and clothing.

Or, um, this?:

…a busload of Cub Scouts were en route to the convention, where they were to present the colors to open the convention. A group of protesters–liberals, Obama supporters, or whatever–blocked the road, surrounded the bus, and attacked it, rocking the bus back and forth, denting and scratching the sides, and generally terrifying the children trapped inside. The left-wing protesters attacked a number of buses in the same way, but there is something especially despicable about attacking a group of Cub Scouts.

(UPDATE: Powerline isn’t so sure about this one anymore.  Let’s wait a bit on that).

This? No? Never mind.

I know some of you leftymedia types read this blog. Where were you when your people attacked the delegates? Most of these attacks occurred before the first demonstration, on 9/1 (which was “highlighted” by anarkids smashing things and attacking the police).

No, I don’t expect an answer. I’ve been asking leftymedia types to answer that one for a week now. Not one has ponied up yet.

The leftymedia is shocked, shocked that the police – who did know about the attacks – didn’t treat the demonstrators, or the lefty alt-media with whom they were pretty much indistinguishable, with kid gloves and greet them like heroes of liberal tolerance.

16 thoughts on “Uncritical Mass

  1. I dunno. I read Molly Preismeyer’s “Embedded with the Anarchists” piece at Minnie Mon, while I’m unfond of the spin — only about a quarter of the group of protesters she was with pulled over honor boxes and only a “few” smashed windows? — I don’t have any particular reason to think that she ignored any muggings (or, for that matter, property destructions) by faux protesters that she witnessed.

    I’d heard about — and blogged on — some of the outrages (although I’ve been unable to verify the attack on the Cub Scouts, and Powerline seems, in retrospect, to be in the same position) some of which were both clearly real and outrageous (I mean, throwing bleach on an octogenarian?) but from this remove, it looks like at least some (I think it’s “much”) of the mongered fears were misplaced. (As we discussed yesterday, the flying feces appear not to have flown; a good thing.)

    (And I’m going to point fingers all over the place for the fear mongering. In the runup to the RNC, the RNCWC folks certainly went to some trouble to, at the very least, imply that they were going to trash the town when it would have been preposterously easy to explicitly disavow and discourage destruction of property and attacks on people.)

    Now, possibly, that’s because the six key ringleaders were jailed at the time — and, later, the comm crew from the RNC WC — but that’s hardly the way to bet. The making of disgusting excrement bombs is, well, disgusting, but the assembly and deployment of such hardly requires either coordinated leadership or high tech instructions.

    As to why independent media types — right and/or left — might want to cover what was going on outside the Excel rather than the goings-on inside, I think there’s a couple of explanations, beyond sympathy (on the leftie side) for the protesters. As John Sanford pointed out, one can get “Kinko’s” press credentials by going to, well, Kinko’s (this is, IMHO and all, a good thing; I don’t read the First Amendment as acknowledging freedom of the press only for “official” media); getting inside the Excel (much less getting a floor pass) was a lot more difficult, and competition for the interesting interviews much more intense inside. And, when making plans, the story outside certainly looked more interesting than the story inside did, in advance of the Palin choice. (And, at least arguably, even after that, although I think that’s a fairly weak argument.) Conventions — RNC or DNC — are infomercials, and it’s not going to be earthshaking news when a well-screened party regular not only supports the party’s nominee, but the party’s platform, after all.

  2. I agree with what you’ve written, JoelR (from my redoubt on a distant island paradise), except for two bits: First, the cops may have gotten the right six trustafarian wannabe terrorists. Someone has to throw the first bomb to encourage the rest. There is even a word for this type of individual.
    Second, if the media only interviewed well-screened party regulars, that’s their fault. Judging by the primary candidates there were far more substantive policy differences between GOP primary candidates then there were between Obama, Hillary, and Edwards.

  3. Terry: I don’t think it’s likely that, if the RNCWC was what it was claimed to be, that there were six and only six wannabe terrorists among them. And, while it’s not impossible that the apparently largely clueless and harmless girlfriend of a guy terrorist is one herself — it’s happened in the past, after all — it’s kind of hard for me to imagine such a well-organized bunch of anarchists as all that. Hell, hierarchical organizations would have to work hard to be that compartmentalized. And throw the first bomb to encourage the rest? But, other than the two putative molotov cocktail thrower wannabes, we don’t have any reason to believe that there were bombs, as none were thrown. (Well, except for the various issue less-lethal munitions that our 50 mil in tax bux bought.)

    As to the media being lazy, sure, and substantial differences among primary candidates, sure, but that latter story was long since over by the RNC. The closest we got were the Gotchas, where various former Republican candidates were asked, more or less, well, since during the primaries you characterized John McCain as a honorable but hopelessly clueless guy, how can you possibly support him now? Which, frankly, gets old real quick.

  4. Joel, since it was my snide comment that started the feces thing in that last thread, I feel I should point out that you weren’t exactly in the 10 ring in getting the point. My point was to reword an Amendment that codified (not granted, mind you) a Right of the People into a right that faction of society seemed to believe they possessed. Namely that the right to assault opponents, destroy property, and intimidate others is God given. Which was also the point of the “57th Amendment” line, to show a lack of awareness of what the generally agreed to set of Rights are.

    Here you had a group of folks with a history of feces throwing, property destruction, and assault publicly committing tn repeat those incidents. Are you seriously advocating that police should have been less than proactive in preventing those situations?

    My libertarian side would agree that in an ideal world the cops would catch those doing the crimes and punish them.

    My conservative side would note that my libertarian side is an ass. He’d note that liberals run much of the system of punishment and the likelihood of any meaningful punishment is small; these “kids” wouldn’t be acting the way they do if it weren’t. As such, my conservative side would prefer riots and property destruction to not occur and would grant the police much more leeway to investigate and thwart groups known to commit crime.

    If these anarkids had been doing this for profit they’d be little better than gangs of organized crime. Since they’re attempting to do it for political profit and societal disruption they should be treated little better since they ARE organized crime (organized anarchists? The irony is inescapable).

    Are there outrages by the cops? Yes, I’m rather aware of them, and some of the cases here may call for discipline, but you’ll note that a fuller review of the context of the protests is required since the snippets you see may or may not give true insight into what happened. I hang with some agents and cops and they tell stories of the abuses of some cops, many of which never hit the public eye. But you also hear stories of what else the cops run into, details that never make it into the papers for very valid reasons. Cops are human. That some of them overreact to provocation isn’t a surprise — the surprise is that more of them don’t.

  5. Only a few domesitc terorrists then? So, only two people did the Oklahoma City bombing. JoelR, are you okay with the 168 deaths there since only 2 protesters were excercising there constitutional right of free speach?

    Remember that the terrorists said they were going to cause the convention to “end with a bang” on Thursday.

  6. I thought I remember KSTP doing a story about a Michigan man who was trying to put a bomb in one of the tunnels under the X.

  7. JoelR-
    I’m not sure why it is these people call themselves ‘anarchists’. I suppose they look back with nostalgia on the syndicalists of the Spanish Civil War.
    I was at an anarchist meeting 25 years ago in S. Minneapolis. Some long-gone place called the Nu-Look Cafe over towards Powderhorn Park.

    The first thing they did was try to get everyone’s name for a mailing list. A mailing list for anarchists! And then they tried to make people form groups and committees. Twenty five years is a long time but I bet these are the same kind of ‘anarchists’.

  8. Pingback: Truth v. The Machine » Archives » Society for Creative Anarchisms

  9. PeterH,
    You’re correct… KSTP did the story, plus several other newspapers online.

    Look up Matthew B Depalma of Flint, Michigan who took a seminar in “protest tactics” (I believe it was called CrymeThink or something just as lame) in Wisconsin.

    He was haulled in on August 30. He wanted to shut down the convention. I suspect he didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I can’t imagine a 23 year old left-leaning jackass who wants to play with bombs has enough accuracy and control over explosions to limit damage mere property.

    Jackass. He’s a total jackass. And that’s being kind to the kid and insulting to jackasses.

  10. The thing I’ll say in defense of the police who are trying to protect use…there were 8,000 protestors there on Monday. Perhaps 500 of them violent. Many were suspected of carrying weapons. People are moving fast and running all over the place. On some leftwing facist’s camera, the police spraying someone can look bad, but how did that police officer know that he wasn’t about to be attacked from the side? While coddling one attacker, another could come at him from the side with a brick.

    You people criticizing the people who protected us that day, you sound like the fatass sitting on his couch, and can’t figure out how a baseball player can ever strikeout. It looks so easy on TV.

  11. In response to various folks:

    Are you seriously advocating that police should have been less than proactive in preventing those situations?

    Nope. Not a bit. Glad to clear that up; surprised that there was any question of it, but, hey, takes all kinds, I guess.

    Only a few domesitc terorrists then? So, only two people did the Oklahoma City bombing.

    I don’t think you have to — assuming that every suggestion in the warrant application is true and complete (which, I guess, is possible, sorta kinda) — equate what sound like pretty bad plans with OKC.

    Sorta reminds me of the folks that Mitch was up on the bridge with, complaining about a police state, and his observation that in a real police state, they’d be shot. And, yeah, real terrorists would have been doing a lot worse than even the worst accusations have these idiots planning.

    What damage some of them did and clearly tried to do was bad enough, wasn’t it?

    That said, if what we’re going to do is have a bunch of armed, gas-masked men repeatedly strike, shove, shoot (with paintballs), and spray the holy hell out of (with noxious fluids that just a whiff of makes my eyes water) somebody in expiation of the sins of others, how about let’s change the laws, first, eh?

    I’m not sure why it is these people call themselves ‘anarchists’.

    Me, neither; sounds like some sort of euphemism.

    But there’s a lot of euphemism stuff going around; I’m not sure why somebody who would do this, or this or this would say that he works in “law enforcement.”

    This guy, though, has a good case. (Look very closely at what doesn’t happen at around 2:34 and a few seconds after.)

  12. Nope. Not a bit. Glad to clear that up; surprised that there was any question of it, but, hey, takes all kinds, I guess.

    Complaining about aggressive arrest tactics of a group of people known to contain violent criminals who’ve committed assault and vandalism in the previous 24 hours does lead to some suspicion about misplaced sympathies.

    If you continue to be belong to a group publicly committing crimes do you really have a right not to be treated as a criminal suspect when you also appear with that group in similar public circumstances and refuse to obey the law?

    Without a imminent and recent threat of violence I agree that whipping out the mace at the first sign of resistance would be excessive. However, viewing the previous history of not just the day before but also previous protests involving these groups, and knowing that the cops were outnumbered you’d have a harder time convincing most folks that the cops weren’t right to not put up with any crap.

    I’m still not quite sure why you view the cops as in the wrong with the “I love you” girl. Are you saying that the police’s order to leave the area wasn’t lawful in her case? They tell her to leave, a seemingly lawful order, she refuses. They escalate, she still refuses. The continue to escalate, she continues to refuse. In the end, she got what she wanted, to be arrested, and the cops were forced to do things they didn’t want to do to get her to obey the lawful order.

    Are you saying that the police should have further reduced their numbers and increased the danger to themselves by reducing their numbers to arrest her immediately? Remember one reason why full metal jacketed ammo is preferred in warfare is that it wounds the enemy and that each wounded enemy takes two more healthy soldiers out of the battle. In this case two cops would have been required to arrest her, book her, etc., and been unavailable for the rest of the shift. Most normal people without an agenda would have left after the warning much less the initial blast of mace, so were the police wrong to suspect that something else might be afoot in her resistance?

    The cops are regularly forced to do things they find distasteful to uphold the law (suicide by cop, for example), and this is one more example of it. I know the limitations of the police, but in a situation such as they found themselves in with the anarkids, potential riots, and relatively defenseless citizenry inside the Xcel (consider the relative age and health differences between the protesters and the delegates) you have a more difficult time convincing most observers that most of those incidents were excessive.

    Your last two linked videos, however have merit. They also have the advantage of not having the backstory of the behavior of the demonstrators and their criminal associates.

  13. Are you saying that the police should have further reduced their numbers and increased the danger to themselves by reducing their numbers to arrest her immediately?

    Yup. I don’t think that it’s lawful for cops to decide to act as judge and jury just because it’s inconvenient not to; I think that the inconvenience visited upon police officers by the effort in performing arrests is part of the deal that they sign up for, just as I think that a guy working the Slurpee machine at a stop-n-rob has to expect to make slurpees, and a writer has to expect to tap on a keyboard every now and then.

    And, among other things wrong with it, for a bunch of masked men to thump a kid like that is pretty damn dishonorable.

  14. And, among other things wrong with it, for a bunch of masked men to thump a kid like that is pretty damn dishonorable.

    Strange. I would have guessed they were going the kid a favor by doing their best to dissuade the young fool from getting a criminal record and only finally giving in to the idiot’s demand to get arrested. I guess we run in different circles as far as the desirability of a criminal record since I have had need to pass background checks in the past.

    The young idiot wanted street theater and wouldn’t settle for less. I just hope her record doesn’t come back to haunt her.

  15. Gotta say, as creative defenses for police misconduct go, I hadn’t thought anybody could top the Rehak/Naylon “it was just a joke” story, but the “[d]oing the kid a favor” apologia does just that. Just goes to show that amateurs can, at times, do better than the pros.

    As to a criminal record, I’m betting a beer that she ends up with a CCD or (more likely; the kid’s obviously got grit, and might use a few choice words in response to the CCD offer) a nolle and it all goes away. Takers?

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