EPIC FAIL: SF OpBart revolution was not televised

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Local broadcast media fizzles after dark, obscures 30 OpBART detentions, violence 

VIA TWITTER – One would expect edgy, intrepid coverage of an American brand of push back from one of the top media markets in the US, San Francisco. Instead reporters and anchors were winded and reluctant to deliver a live televised element of arrests in progress at the tail end of Monday’s OpBART protests starting at 5 PM.

Mainstream televised media live feeds of the day’s protests ended shortly after the 6PM nightly newcasts; even as some destructive instances and arrests continued. It is anyone’s guess why reporters would film some of the protest happenings and not others.

I spoke to a KCBS 5 live TV reporter on the scene briefly to find out why web news feeds were not airing. This was one of the answers, “We’ve been following this protest for close to 2 hours and we’re exhausted!”  Followed by, “There’s a guy in the crowd with a hammer! You can’t understand that on the radio,” and “Stuff is happening!”

When asked why there was no live feed coverage for the web, “It’s because the protest is pretty much over and people are going home.”

KCBS’ web administrator could not add any live feed online because it required a camera to be on.

The tourniquet on live news coverage was felt immediately by OpBART protesters. Those tweeting during the event began to express alarm as soon as ABC7 TV news feeds stopped.They appeared to be relying on televised media to document the process of a legal protest.

An OpBart protest organizer, AnonyOps, urged participants on Twitter to stay peaceful and disengaged from anyone who expressed violence as the timing dwindled.  They anticipated the presence of agent provacateurs to mix within crowds.  It would be a message that would bear repeating as some protest participants turned violent.

As the sun sank, agent provacateurs could not be distinguished from the rest of the crowds: firecrackers were lit, bottles were broken and even reports of spitting on BART riders and police.  Cameras were present from every television station in San Francisco, and no one was feeding live news to the web.

Protestors claimed agent provacateurs even tried blending with the web community around the same time. One protester’s icon appearance was similar to other Anonymous organizers online, but had this to say,

“Peaceful protest will get you nothing, no recognition, no coverage. Kill as many cops as possible and destroy as much as possible.”

Young on-site news media may have had other concerns, like being mistaken for protesters during coverage.  Tweets of a KTVU cameraman being arrested after 3 hours of protesting were followed by tweets that a Berkley Journalism student and reporter for MissionLocal.org , Helene Goupil, was seen being arrested after dark. 

According to CBS5, arrests of local broadcasters were not being picked up on the police blotters. A KGO web producer could not confirm reports that a KTVU cameraman or any other professional media had been arrested. However, IndyBay reported up to a dozen journalists were detained and released up on providing credentials during a 30 person round-up between Hyde St & Larkin earlier in the evening.

In these unrefined, AnonMedic accounts, you can see the KRON4, KCBS5 vans but not the feeds or the reports.

At the end of the day, citizen journalists and micro-bloggers delivered live on-the-scene reporting: arrest numbers, detentions, and police interactions as a public interest piece.

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