Embedded In The Occupy
November 15, 2011
by Daniel Brouse
Over the past month, I have become embedded in the Occupy Philadelphia movement. Originally, I wrote an article entitled “Occupy Wallstreet? Occupy Yourself!” (www.widgette.com; October 7, 2011) From there, I traveled to Wall Street to encounter the protest in person. A few days later, I became actively involved at the Occupy Philly location at City Hall, Philadelphia.
When you become embedded in a story, much care must be taken to remain objective. One example would be Patricia Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). On February 4, 1974, 19-year-old Patty Hearst was kidnapped by a “urban guerrilla group” known as the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA wanted to swap jailed SLA members for Ms. Hearst. The attempt failed. On April 3, 1974, Patty announced she joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”. On On April 15, 1974, Patty was photographed carrying an M1 rifle as she robbed a bank in San Francisco. Since this time, she has become a well-known example of a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
With this in mind, I attempted not to contribute to the gang mentality of the Occupy Movement.
On October 23, 2011, I was witness to the protest and eventual arrests of 15 Occupy Philly members. Deeming the spectacle as unethical behavior by the protesters, I refused to give the event any press coverage. Then, on November 7, 2011, I was covering the protest and arrests of protesters at the Comcast building. Again, feeling the protesters were not acting in the best interest of the movement, I reached out to offer positive press to the Mayor and the Police Department. I contacted the Philadelphia Police Department’s Public Affairs and Media Relations office, as well as, Mayor Nutter’s Press Department. My concerns over a non-confrontational move were voiced along with two requests to ensure a smooth transition. The Mayor’s office asked if I had a dead-line. I responded, “Prior to the expiration of the permit on November 15… or it will be too late.” Both offices promised me call-backs. The phone conversations were followed-up with the following letter:
To whom it may concern:
Pursuant to today’s telephone conversation, thank you for your assistance. As you suggested, I did contact the Mayor’s Press Department.
It is my desire to coordinate press in two ways:
1) Obtain any positive *copy* covering the Philadelphia Police Department and the Mayor’s office. Any statements, press releases or related materials that can be edited and/or redistributed to news organizations would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for any information that will help substantiate that the Philadelphia Police have been doing an excellent job at Occupy Philly, as well as, being civil and cordial.
2) An on-camera appearance by representatives from the Police Department or the Mayor’s Office. Besides praising the Departments on camera, I would like to review the *move plan* offered to Occupy Philly by the Mayor. If we could shoot on-location Thursday or Friday during a picture perfect day, I would like to meet.
* Where can Occupy Philly move? [The area will be filmed.]
* Will there be electric?
* Does Occupy Philly need any permits? Permits to move? Permits to play music? etc.
* Can the move start this weekend?
Thank you. I shall await your advice.
Since that time, I have not heard back from either the Mayor or the Police departments. Instead, Mayor Nutter held a press conference November 13 claiming there has been no communication on behalf of Occupy Philly. Now, the encampment has no alternative but to wait for a confrontation.