October 27, 2011

Occupy Entering Tar-and-Feather Phase? The Case of the Guy With the AK at Occupy Atlanta Rally


I spent a little time last night looking at how OWS is being visually captured on various right-wing sites. This shot, accompanying a post at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism, was mind-bending in the way it was being spun.

The post consists primarily of an extended excerpt from an AP article regarding Occupy Atlanta. The write-up describes the Mayor there as walking back his support for the Occupy action, and cites the presence of the guy above as a primary reason. As part of the excerpt, the AP points out that the guy in question is:

“…an out-of-work accountant who doesn’t agree with the protesters’ views — but said that he was there, armed, because he wanted to protect the rights of people to protest.”

The Big Journalism writer caps off the post (sorry about the pun) by saying that the guy “wasn’t trying to demonstrate his Second Amendment rights–– he fully intended to threaten, and possibly shoot at, police.”

I could have offered any number of photos which the right wing, law enforcement or other establishment entities and institutions are producing up now to undermine the Occupy movement by framing the movement as out-for-blood. (Justin Elliott had this gem yesterday, for example, in which the NY Daily News went back to the well to frame a more-than-ambiguous photo as an act of violence perpetrated by a protester on an NY police officer as I feared would happen.)

In this case, the fact the guy relates that he’s not an Occupy sympathizer demonstrates to Big Journalism that he is, and a deadly one at that? And then, is it possible this guy would show up with an AK-47 to an Occupy rally (right after Oakland!) unless he wasn’t making a statement about the Second Amendment — Georgia law allowing “open carry” at city parks, and such?

After watching a parade of these “water the tree of liberty” types parading around Tea Party rallies a few years back — not to mention, a demonstration outside a building where Obama was speaking, this is an impressive example of failure to recognize your own kind. More the flavor of Tea (and militia) than anything else, the photo represents one more projection of hate onto a non-violent Occupy movement suddenly vulnerable to contamination, infiltration, exploitation — and, yes, provocation — by all forms of crazy.

(photo: WBS-TV)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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