Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Somebody Didn't Get The Memo

About America's Total War Against Journalists.

From The Gothamist:

Cop Charged With Lying About Arrest Of NY Times Photographer

An NYPD officer has been charged with falsifying documents relating to the beating and arrest of New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik on a shoot in the Bronx last August. According to a release, Officer Michael Ackermann of the 44th precinct claimed that Stolarik repeatedly discharged his camera's flash in Ackermann's face while he was trying to arrest a 15-year-old girl, "blinding him and preventing him from performing his duties." In fact, police later found that no flash was attached to Stolarik's camera, and none had been used that night.
At the time, the NYPD also accused Stolarik, a photographer for the Times for more than ten years, of striking an officer in the face with his camera. Before his arrest, Stolarik says he was kicked in the back and head by several officers. His equipment and press credentials were confiscated, and he was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Both those charges have been dropped, and Stolarik's credentials were eventually returned to him.
"As we've seen so many times in this narrative, very often the officer's version is a work of fiction," Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association tells us. "I think the officer in this case decided to get a little too creative with the flash business...Robert doesn't even own a flash."
Ackermann, 30, was formally indicted by a grand jury with two counts of falsifying business records, two counts of tampering with public records, offering a false instrument for filing in the first and second degrees, making a punishable false written statement, and official misconduct. Tampering with public records is a class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 7 years in jail.
No word on how many years Mr. Stolarik will spend languishing incommunicado in the lightless dungeon into which he will be automatically disappeared for embarrassing the Security State,  but based on what I hear on the teevee I have to assume it will be in the thousands. 


Lumpy Lang said...

Algernon, your flowers have arrived...

Let's hope Droneglass someday recovers from this overdose of stupid pills he's taking to shudder at the crap he's writing now.

Jack said...

LOL, awesome post, Driftglass. Literally laughing out loud over here. I'm playing the troll soundtrack in my head: "but but but! The only reason Droney would write this is because he's a paid shill for the Obama New World United Nations Order, maaaaan!"

Jack said...

Still catching up on the day's new posts. And I saw this, from two posts below. Driftglass said:

"So 'Lawyers, Guns and Money' lied. And because that lie hit just the right ideological sweet-tooth it went 'round and 'round and 'round the internet and became part of the framing narrative of the the story before anyone bothered to find out that it Just. Wasn't. True."

See? That just nails it perfectly. That beautifully captures exactly what has been happening for months, now: All of these disclosures are being couched in precisely the same way, engineered to hit just that ideological sweet spot and get the desired reaction every time.

In the case of The Young Turks, I'm *convinced* their NSA act is completely contrived; there is just no way they can be unaware of their own distortions, omissions, exaggerations, and lies. But they know what they are doing: They are formulating lies designed to hit that sweet spot and cash in with page views; there's a huge audience for the anti-government, anti-Obama spin they are putting on this story. And given the choice between being morally courageous and honest or blatantly lying to the delight of the horde, Cenk and Co. have chosen the later.

I'm glad there are still a few people out there who are committed to the truth.

Jack said...

Just one last comment. John Cole says this, revealing how severely he doesn't get it:

"Greenwald isn’t going to be the story for much longer, so it will be fun watch these guys come up with new villains."

What's selling this story is the formula Greenwald has repeatedly used: obscuring the mundane truth with loads of carefully engineered hyperbole and lies, the root of which are "the government is completely evil and out of control."

The thing Cole doesn't understand is that in the hands of responsible journalists, this story just isn't going to get the same page views and generate the same excitement. Greenwald and Cenk Uyger and the rest have already figured out that the truth is too boring all by itself; it's not scandalous enough. That's why they've continuously lied and exaggerated: for profit and personal glory. If you take the sugar and the fizz out of Coca Cola, people won't buy it in bulk.

Let's be completely honest: For most of the people who are blindly following Greenwald's lead on this story, what they really want is to be told that the government is an out of control force for total tyranny. If the New York Times and Pro Publica don't hew to that formula, the horde won't be buying their stories.

The problem for us is that there isn't much money in being honest. Take the wingnuts for example*: They want to be told that Obama is an illegal alien. They want to be told he should be impeached. And they will reward anyone who tells them those things. Anyone who tries to tell something closer to the truth will be kicked in the nuts and kicked out of the GOP.

We've reached the point now, on the left, where we have our own deranged faction less interested in actual truth than in being told "Obama is a monster" and the government is a total tyranny. And if this horde can't get that message from News Vendor A, they will find it from News Vendor B. And in this system, there will ALWAYS be someone willing to step forward and get rich pandering to the crazies. This is what ruined the right. Now it's happening to the left.

*No, really. Take them. Far, far away. ;-)

marindenver said...

You have so nailed what's going on. The thing is I respect John Cole and Charlie Pierce and the other pretty reasonable writers who are just getting totally sucked into this narrative. I honest to god don't know who's going to eventually profit from the "Obama's the monster we always knew he was - ACCEPT IT SHEEPLE!!" narrative that's coming out now. Just plan on pushing back against it myself.

blader said...

By becoming a central character in the NSA story, GG positions himself to profit most, while demanding his audience, "Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

Jack said...

I'm with you all the way. I absolutely love both Charlie Pierce and John Cole. I will never be able to feel the same towards them, no matter how crazy this story makes them, as I feel about GG or Edward Snowden. But I sure wish they had some perspective on this story.

Ultimately it's all tied up with two things: (1) We have a two party system and have to work within the constraints it imposes (like gradual change vs sudden change), and (2) Obama's infuriating (but effective?) tendency to slow walk everything.

In the 2nd case, Obama has really screwed himself. And here, I'm stealing an idea Driftglass presented in the podcast (and hopefully not mischaracterizing what he said): By failing to investigate and prosecute the most severe crimes of the Bush Administration, Obama has in effect become personally liable for them.

It's understandable why Obama approached his presidency the way he did: Any sudden movements or dramatic action (like prosecution of war crimes or swift reversal of the police state policies) would have led to an overwhelming backlash. Obama has proven that his slow-walk approach can be effective, and he's certainly right that sudden moves would be counterproductive because of the backlash they would cause.

But in the case of the police state policies of Bush/Cheney, Obama has now let himself be outflanked by, of all people, the far right. Instead of becoming the vanguard for civil rights and the rule of law, Obama's incrementalism has allowed the libertarians to take the high ground and paint Obama as a tyrant.

Those of us who are sympathetic to Obama can appreciate the long game he has been playing, and understand the calculations he has made along the way. But those who hate Obama have no interest in being so understanding, and in fact have an interest in harming him politically. Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald, and Edward Snowden all share the same hope: That the NSA disclosures can be leveraged to destroy the Democratic Party and establish far-right libertarian extremism as the dominant political force in America.

I can't help but note, too, that even as the libertarians screech and howl about mostly imaginary invasions of their privacy, they have not a god damned thing to say about the nationwide campaign to disenfranchise black voters, or to intrude on women's privacy. There are real, concrete civil rights abuses with real victims playing out in the headlines every day, but the libertarians couldn't care less. Instead they are entirely focused on mostly illusory violations of rights.

Kathleen said...

Jack: Thank you for articulating many of my thoughts so well. I do want to add my thoughts on Obama's inaction regarding prosecution of Bush and Co. 1) When he took office the economy was in free fall. He had to focus primarily on that, and he had to have support of the business/Wall Street crowd (whether we like it or not, I don't think that was the time to rock the banker boat) and build relationships with the Intel/Military/Security crowd, some factions of which supported those crimes. 2) I think as our first African American President, he had to tread very carefully. Given the state of the economy and the Rethug hysteria (their primary goal was to defeat Obama), could you imagine the Fecal Fragment firestorm that would have erupted? The Rethugs went bat crap crazy when Michelle suggested kids eat vegetables for crying out loud. Obama had an agenda, and I think he knew what he was up against and knew if he wanted to implement any of it he had to pick his battles very carefully. 3) In addition to 1 and 2 above, I don't believe he would have had the will or backing of the American people, who, again, were preoccupied with surviving. While I'd love to see Bush and Co tried for war crimes, this has not been the right time.

Jack said...

Kathleen: Amen to everything you said. I agree with it entirely. You make a critical point (well, several, but one in particular) that I overlooked: Even if Obama *had* tried to bring charges against the war criminals (high-level or low), it never would have gotten anywhere; it would have been totally self-defeating and would have inspired a huge backlash at a time when he was trying to be the president of all the people and still believed it would be possible to have broad, bipartisan appeal.

I think Driftglass is right* that failing to be more aggressive has allowed Obama's enemies to pin these programs on him. But that's a sad fact that could not be avoided no matter what Obama did, for the reasons you mention: taking them head on just wasn't an option.

Great point about the hysterical reaction to Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative. Same with his addressing school kids to tell them to work hard and study. Reaction from the right: "OMGWTF NORTH KOREA DICTATOR!!!!1!!"

* I'm citing Driftglass from memory, hopefully accurately.