A response to Steve Lopez by Cheryl Aichele
If the LA Times wants to truly report on the First-Amendment Advocates at City Hall, maybe they should ditch the dismissive comments and start reporting. Here are a few things you missed.
This is written in response to the article located at this link latimes.com
5 weeks ago, I went to my first Occupy Los Angeles pre-planning meeting and found my revolution. I have worked 10-15 hours days, spoken to thousands of people, and have taken part in countless actions.
I’m going to go out on a limb myself: maybe the LA Times has missed something in their reporting or maybe they are manipulating this story to serve their own agenda.
You are right, we are not going anywhere but that does not mean we are stagnant.
Did you ever wonder why Los Angeles is the largest city participating in these occupations to have no violent confrontation with the police and why LA City Council was the first to pass a resolution in support of the occupation movement and their First Amendment Rights?
Whether you want to admit it or not, some of those you dismiss so easily actually took multiple actions during the planning and implementation process to communicate with City Officials regarding this peaceful prolong protest.
The Oakland Occupation and others could learn from the organizers at Occupy LA. Irvine’s Occupy did and they were able to get their own City Council to pass a similar Resolution to the one passed on October 12, 2011 by LA City Council in support of our endeavors.
You’re right; it’s hard to say how this will all play out.
I’ve been following the LA Times and other main stream media’s coverage, and it makes my mind ache as much as your body did joining us for just one day. So, now I feel compelled to set the record straight and make a few suggestions too.
For starters, I’d like to know if there’s a concerted effort to misrepresent or manipulate coverage of the occupy movement. By that, I mean, are these mainstream media outlets receiving corporate money to distort the stories?
Maybe on your one-day stay at our encampment, you missed the fact that we have repeatedly come to consensus in our General Assemblies that Occupy LA will remain non-violent, so if an ‘ugly clash’ occurs it will not be from anyone truly representing Occupy Los Angeles.
If we’re allowed to stay, we intent to take up persistent actions aimed to solve the problems that have plagues our lives. And for some of us, our civic engagement will lead us to working with non-profits, such as Peace Corps. But we will not just limit ourselves to participation in community service.
Unfortunately it isn’t easy to get straight reporting from LA Times or any of the other distrusted and despised mainstream media on these issues.
To answer your question to that poor and overworked woman volunteer organizer with a clipboard, yes we’ve been discussing how to handle an eviction or other responses. You’ll have to forgive her, I am sure she really needed to use the restroom and maybe she could tell from your demeanor how dismissive your article was going to be.
All right, I get it. LA Time’s profits are mainly derived from corporate money for advertising, Corporations that help journalist afford Dockers and I get that the paper’s journalistic integrity has been challenged for years now.
I’m down with making some money to write less-than-accurate articles, times are tough, someone has to pay for the Dockers, right? But why should the media be held accountable, while banksters and politicians get away with gross injustices against people who did have jobs, healthcare, and homes?
But I’m having trouble seeing how a poorly-written piece is going to help anything. Sure, it was great to read your exciting (yet inexact) editorial, but now what?
‘The beauty of this is that it’s a leaderFUL movement,’ said Mario Brito, the guy who was mentioned in the Times piece. ‘The challenge though is ‘How do we get media to cover this movement respectfully and accurately?”
Lopez implies Occupy LA is and has been inactive; he fails to mention any of the multitude of actions we have taken including doing outreach at this weekend’s Green Festival at the Convention Center, or today’s demonstration we did in support of Juveniles caught up in the injustice system or 3 pieces of legislation we’ve been able to influence inside City Hall in the last 3 weeks. Not to mention, the fact that we plan to impact a 4th piece of legislation next week, making it 4 legislations in 4 weeks.
But each time we do anything positive, productive, or impactful—the ‘lame’stream media is too busy trying to figure out how to undermine our actions.
I’m beginning to think the media is all falsification and no real coverage.
I don’t think the mayor, City Council, or the police should evict us either. And if you agree, we encourage you to let them know that you support us. You can pick up a flyer from our Welcome Tent to get those numbers if you are unable to find the numbers on your own.
I don’t understand why reporters are content to degrade the Occupation Movement endlessly when there are so many better ways to cover our movement and advance our cause by portraying us more correctly.
Mario Brito, who’s been out there from the beginning, should have told us to be patient with the media’s coverage of our endeavors, because some bad articles have been written, including the one that inspired this response.
“It’s indeed an exercise in patience,” says Aichele, the author of this response, reminding the reader that sometimes media is just Bull but not the red kind.
“It’s all about the money,” one peaceful protester claims, suggesting the LA Times sold us out for greedy reasons.
I’ve heard many concerns about media manipulation, and here’s a thought: Why not demand the media be held responsible for their subpar reporting?
And as far as your suggestions of sending occupiers to different college campuses each day, I suggest that your become the ‘leaderless’ organizer of this project, since it’s your idea and you seem so intent on it. Because I have to tell you, the rest of us are busy working on our own actions such as reforming the laws through the legislative process on all levels of government (my personal passion).
Maybe you were too busy writing a smear story about occupiers to have heard we forced Bank of America to reverse its announcement of a $5 debit card charge. So, while you think we’re just passing joints in our tents, we’re actually influencing the business of big banks and the laws that hold them Responsible. Did you fail to catch the fact that Occupy LA helped moved LA City Council’s Responsible Banking Ordinance forward in committee?
And as far as your suggestion of marching to skid row, we’ve already beat you to it because 4 days ago, we did just that. Not to mention the homeless outreach we’ve being doing all along. We have also been speaking out against all who have lost their home through our Home Owners Committee. Did you miss that as well on your one-day stay at Occupy LA?
And again, in regards to your suggestion lending a hand to bomb-rattled soldiers, we’ve showed our solidarity for Iraq War Vet Scott Olsen who was in critical condition after Oakland Police shot him in the head with a canister. Olsen has sustained brain damage and can no longer talk. Where’s the LA Times coverage of Olsen?
And this doesn’t even begin to mention the other work we’ve done with Vets.
All your suggestions and criticisms are fine. However, opinion without action and criticism without contribution is running rampant around the encampment. What we need is all the criticizers to put their energy into all the actions we are planning or to plan their own actions.
I am sure our Print Media team (the one that handles the silk-screens) would love to help you with your library-aides idea. And I am sure one of the Orange County Occupations, can help you handle your Disney-resort idea as well.
You see, there are thousands of occupation popping up in cities across this nations, including 50 alone in the state of California with dozens here in Southern California including Venice, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Clarita, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Coachella Valley, and Palm Desert.
Not to mention the occupations being planned as we speak in Pasadena, Burbank and other southern California area.
Not to mention the fact that each day we have different actions that take us to different sites off of City Hall lawn.
So the question is why not write stories with journalistic integrity? Why not report on the real news of our actions? Why not cover the story of LA’s Mayor who wants to be the ‘Greenest Mayor’ but who thinks grass is a sustainable landscape in this desert climate or that the literal grassroots of the lawn are far more important than our First-Amendment-Rights grassroots actions?