For CNN, 200 'Occupy' Arrests Amounts to 'Dozens'

CNN's T.J. Holmes, reporting Tuesday on the eviction of "Occupy Los Angeles" and the subsequent arrests of 200 protesters, simply numbered the arrests as totaling in the "dozens." Apparently for CNN, over 16 dozen arrests still merits the count of "dozens" rather than "scores" or even "hundreds" or simply "200."

CNN held sympathy for "Occupy L.A." in more ways than one. During the 12 p.m. hour, Holmes asked a city police commander if some of his colleagues sympathized with the protest or even had wanted to join the "occupiers" before they had to evict them.

Holmes also made sure to emphasize that although 200 protesters were arrested -- and the L.A.P.D. count was just shy of 300 -- the process was mostly conflict-free. "While 200 people were arrested, police say the operation though, was for the most part peaceful," reported Holmes. Twice the CNN host had counted the number of arrests as "dozens" even though a CNN headline reported the number at 200, and before Holmes himself later reported that there were 200 arrests.

Earlier in the morning, CNN anchor Don Lemon also wondered how the city could return the belongings left behind by the evicted protesters – as if they had been kicked out of public space without prior warning. "What are they doing with all these – with the tents, and the sleeping bags, and all the stuff we're seeing? Are they just taking the dump trucks and throwing it away? Or are they trying to give this stuff back to the people it belongs to?" Lemon asked.

Apparently for Lemon, even someone's toilet paper could be a valuable possession that could be returned to them by the city. "There's some people that junk – this is one man's junk is another person's treasure. I'm sure to these 'Occupy' folks, even if it's just toilet paper or whatever it is, it's, you know, it's their personal belongings."

A transcript of some of CNN's coverage of the "Occupy L.A." evictions, which aired on November 30, is as follows:

CNN
NEWSROOM
11/30/11
10:26 a.m. EST

[10:26 a.m.]

DON LEMON: What are they doing with all these – with the tents, and the sleeping bags, and all the stuff we're seeing? Are they just taking the dump trucks and throwing it away? Or are they trying to give this stuff back to the people it belongs to?

(...)

LEMON: There's some people that junk – this is one man's junk is another person's treasure. I'm sure to these "Occupy" folks, even if it's just toilet paper or whatever it is, it's, you know, it's their personal belongings.

(...)

[11:12]

T.J. HOLMES: And after two months, the "Occupy" camp in Los Angeles is shut down. L.A. police moved in just after midnight to close it. Dozens of protesters were arrested.

[HEADLINE: "Police Shut Down Occupy L.A. Camp: 200 People Arrested"]

(...)

HOLMES: We'll be talking to one of the police officers out there as well, who took part in what was, for the most part, peacefully.

(...)

[12:02 p.m.]

HOLMES: Also in Los Angeles, police there have cleared out and shut down the camps set up by the "Occupy" protesters, arresting dozens of people who refused to leave.

(...)

HOLMES: And about 1400 police officers moved in just after midnight to shut down the camp on the lawn of city hall. It had been there about two months. While 200 people were arrested, police say the operation though, was for the most part peaceful.

(...)

[12:06]

HOLMES: (to Commander Andrew Smith of L.A.P.D.) And for the most past, most people down there wanted to go peacefully?

(...)

HOLMES: In some ways, maybe a couple of your officers around the department – maybe this conversation came up where, you know, in some ways you sympathize with the protesters, and maybe some of the officers even conflicted about having to grab some of them and pluck them out of there, because I'm sure some of your officers may feel like maybe they could – wish they could be out there protesting in some way. Did you find that some of your officers do have that conflict?

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014