Readers were outraged at the tone of the article, which carried the subhead: "Demonstrators on Wall Street this week seemed to lack hard knowledge about the system they were fighting." The reporter, one Ginia Bellafante, chose to make the lead paragraph all about a topless dancer who's been waiting all her life to cavort on Broadway. Further down, she writes:
The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face — finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out. But what were the chances that its members were going to receive the attention they so richly deserve carrying signs like “Even if the World Were to End Tomorrow I’d Still Plant a Tree Today”?Reader reactions were universally scathing. Barbara of Mexico/New Mexico writes: "Considering this is taking place in the heart of the financial district, and that other major media is covering it well & seriously ( Al Jazeera, for one, is doing an excellent job), it is quite sad and very revealing the New York 'paper of record" chooses to treat this movement with such superficiality".
The tone of the piece is easier to understand in light of the fact that Bellafante is not a political reporter or even a metro beat reporter. She is a Times arts section critic, who in the past has written about HBO miniseries and other TV fare. She now does something called the Big City column. That's right: The Times couldn't be bothered to send a political or news reporter to cover the populist dissent. They sent somebody to write it up as an entertainment piece, a whimsical look at the passing parade of weirdness in the Big Apple.
Bellafante took the most heat recently for her negative review of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" -- spawning a revolt in the blogosphere from fantasy fans, accusing her of (surprise!) literary snobbery. Here is how she explains her philosophy: "Writing criticism is completely personal and often impressionistic. I write from a perspective that is my own, not one that seeks to represent a big tent of varying opinion."
Assigning Bellafante to cover Manhattan's version of the Arab Spring speaks volumes about the Times editors, and their choice to treat it as some sort of amusement for the elites. They can spend millions subsidizing safely-distanced reports by Tommy Freedom and Nicky Kristof on the Egyptian revolution, and government crackdowns in Syria and Bahrain -- but I guess they couldn't come up with cab fare for them to ride the few blocks from Times Square to Zuccotti Park to watch our own indignados getting pepper-sprayed. For real coverage, check out the links in my previous posts, or just troll the Internets. Here, for example, is some real reporting from New York 1, the local 24 hour news channel. The truth is out there, in plain sight and out of the control of the editorial boards of the American corporate media.
|Just Another Day of Street Theater or Maybe a Lost Episode of "Law & Order"|