Anyone who thinks the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t practice for future events may want to consider a report from an international press group.
The 10th annual Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, ranks the United States 47th among 179 nations for press freedoms. That’s down from 20th place.
The primary reason cited for the decline has been the arrests of journalists at Occupy Wall Street rallies around the country.
There are some grains of salt required with the report. For one thing, George Soros has left his fingerprints on Reporters Without Borders via one of his foundations.
Another consideration is that the definition of “journalist” in the report is somewhat loose, including
apparently some independent bloggers and someone described as a “graphic journalist.”
Journalists from left-wing publications such as Mother Jones are prominent among the media detainees. The self-described actions of some of the detained journalists also seem to be of questionable wisdom, such as standing between Occupiers and police with nothing but a press pass for protection.
Countries that come in for the highest marks on the Press Freedom Index are predominantly hard-left socialist European countries such as Finland and the Netherlands where state subsidies and press controls are commonplace.
Having noted all of this, it still might seem there’s a valid point in the report. After all, this is supposed to be a country where free speech reigns, and hordes of police aren’t supposed to randomly beat up citizens for demonstrating on political issues.
That’s the image the report wants you to absorb — the thuggish police state trampling on rights.
But bear in mind that many of these cities where police are now clamping down were initially — foolishly — supportive of the Occupiers. It is the Occupiers themselves who have brought down the force of the riot police through their reprehensible behavior.
Also not included in the report, but persistent in the rumor mill, are tales of so-called journalists actually agitating and participating with the Occupy mobs.
Let’s speculate for a moment. Suppose “someone” in a position of power might find it advantageous to generate a national crisis using a roving mob as the vehicle. (Don’t know who or why; just suppose.) Wouldn’t it be useful if some of the agents provocateurs who whipped up the mob in the first place were also in positions to widely publicize the actions of the police and portray them as jackbooted thugs?
It might make you wonder if some of those folks may have gotten themselves arrested on purpose.
That’s just speculation, of course.
Nothing to see here.
Just move along.
Tad Cronn is the editor in chief of The Patriots Almanac, a nonprofit educational quarterly magazine.