Pattern: Media Relay Occupiers' Claims of Non-Involvement, Then Whitewash the Truth When Learned

Blogger John at Verum Serum has unmasked yet another instance where initial claims by "leaders" at an Occupy site claiming non-involvement with crime fell apart after a short while. Even worse, after his post went up, a subsequent report on the same incident a few hours later scrubbed the truth to again make Occupiers appear not culpable .

After the jump, readers will see the initial and then revised stories about what happened at Occupy Orlando on Monday, each via Local TV station "News 13."


The initial report has since been revised, so the excerpt is by necessity from John's post (proof that the story originally went up as John indicates is here and here in respective Google Web and news searches on the bolded Occupiers' denial clause within his excerpt):

Occupy Orlando protesters helped a person involved in an altercation that occurred at a site near Beth Johnson Park. The altercation involved individuals who are not part of the Occupy Orlando movement, however Occupy protesters who witnessed the incident stepped in to help the injured receive medical attention, alert authorities, and provide eyewitness statements.

But lo and behold, a revised report as of 5:07 p.m. at a News 13 mobile page link (not available at the station's main site) had an entirely different rendition (a similar story is also at the Sun-Sentinel at an item entitled "Cops: Loud drum sparks fight between two at Occupy Orlando protest"):

Officers responded to the area of Senator Beth Johnson Park on South Ivanhoe Boulevard about 12:05 a.m. Sunday in response to a stabbing. Officers determined the argument between the two protesters was sparked by one of them playing a loud drum. When the argument escalated to a fistfight, the unnamed suspect pulled out a knife. That’s when the victim, identified by police as Taylor Dresia, 22, of Marietta, Ga., lunged toward the suspect and tried to grab the knife. Dresia suffered a series of cuts across the inside of his fingers on his left hand.

What, some random drummer unaffiliated with Occupy Orlando happened to stroll by and get in a fight? Of course not. The point was made; this incident had everything to do with people present at the Occupy site as part of whatever the heck it is the Occupy people think they're doing.

You would think that this would be the end of it. But noooooooo. After John's post, a third report at News 13 -- the only one currently available at the station's standard site -- effectively walked the station's 5:07 p.m. version back:

One man was taken to the hospital Saturday night after being stabbed at the park where Occupy Orlando has been protesting.

It's the first act of violence reported at Beth Johnson Park since the group began to gather.

Orlando police said one man stabbed another man, and was driven to the hospital by friends. Protesters said the suspect wasn't someone there for the cause, but more just hanging around the campsite.

"It's just one of those things that happen,” said protester Andy Huff. "It's just like little accidents like that and we cannot let it hold us back."

Later in the report, the station's Amanda Evans added the group's blatant "not part of the movement" dissembling.

Gosh, what happened to the part about the drum? I guess that inconvenient factoid pointed in the "wrong" direction, so away it went.

John's key point at Verum Serum is about the original sin:

The spokespeople for these camps lie every time one of their members pulls a knife or rapes someone or burns down a building. But the media always runs the denial in the initial story even though there’s a clear pattern, one might say a considered strategy, of claiming any incident like this did not involve camp members.

The press knows darned well that initial reports plant first impressions which are difficult to dislodge, the correction of which depends on news consumers having the time and inclination to follow up by going to subsequent reports -- which usually doesn't happen. That's why, at some point (and as far as I'm concerned, we're been there for weeks), the reporters involved should be relying on law enforcement and clearly uninvolved witnesses alone for accurate initial info, because time after time spokespersons for the Occupiers have proven absolutely incapable of truthfully providing it.

There is a second sin, and the responsibility for this one is fully with the press. They find out and briefly report the truth, and then, as seen above, proactively whitewash it. And yes, this is a pattern.

Over the weekend (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I showed how the Occupy Oakland murder in original reportssupposedly only concerned people not associated with the site. Then (oops!) a cousin of the victim said that the victim had spent several nights at the encampment sleeping in the same tent as her. Lo and behold, the next few reports at the San Francisco Chronicle successively cast doubt on her eyewitness statement. By the time the Associated Press issued its near-final item on what happened at the scene, the established wisdom was that "Investigators do not know if the men in the fight (which led to the murder) were associated with Occupy Oakland."

In Oakland, as P.J. Salvatore at BigJournalism.com has proven, initial claims that violence during the November 2 "general strike" violence occurred after it had would down were false. Instead, "violence began during, not after, the main 'general strike' protest."

Additionally, going back to Oakland law enforcement's initial confrontation with Oakland Occupiers, even an on-the-scene observer at the ultra-left Mother Jones noted the Occupiers' proactive violence. Yet the set-in-stone meme on what happened is that the police sharply overreacted.

There are surely other stories. Heck, there's probably at least one for each major Occupy encampment.

The past two months have been more than an Occupy fail. They've been an epic media fail.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.