Is the New York Times Embedded With the NYPD?

Analyzing the NY Times' own reporting (and access), Yves Smith is suggesting the answer is yes

The following is an E-mail to Smith that sparked her speculation:

I was curious about the first couple of pictures in this set from the NY Times. How were they able to get pictures of the NYPD gathering by South Street Seaport, before the raid?

I was following the events closely on Twitter last night. the first notice of the pending love came from a tweet by the muscian Questo, who announced he had just driven by thousands of police in riot gear by South Street.

Various tweets among #OWS folks debated the significance of this and then the NYPD was spotted moving, the emergency #OWS tweet went out and I also got an email on it. At that point, no press were anywhere near Zuccotti Park nor were any covering it on Twitter. After the #OWS emergency notice, all sorts of people rushed to the scene, including the press.

Seems strange, then, that the NY Times photographer knew to be at this secret location.

Also strange, this article by the NY Times on the chain of events leading up to the raid includes a number of factual details that don’t appear to come from any quotes or press conferences, such as the secret planning that only the top brass knew about. This article has details about where the NYPD gathered pre-raid and details about the status of the park as the raid was beginning. How did the report get this information? Was he or she there? Were they tipped off before any of the other press?

If so, what does this say about the relationship between the NY Times and the Bloomberg administration, as well as the independence of the NY Times reporting?

According to Smith, it is a sign of access journalism. She challenged the NY Times for portraying the middle-of-the-night, media-blacked-out, violent raid as a cleverly executed plan to remove a nuisance. According to Smith, it is "a classic example of stenography masquerading as reporting."

An excerpt from said NY Times piece:

Mr. Bloomberg, who is generally known for his decisiveness, at first emphasized his disagreements with the protesters, then began describing them as peaceful dissenters exercising a fundamental liberty. In the last several days, he has sounded increasingly exasperated, a reflection of complaints from neighbors and accusations of criminal activity in Zuccotti Park…

Adds Smith:

Note that the “accusations of criminal activity” as of that date were drug use and I believe a petty theft. Given how often I smell marijuana in my near geriatric neighborhood and that in front of Bloomingdales is the biggest site for purse snatchings in the city, the mayor seems to be pursuing a double standard for enforcement. Similarly, the headlines on the front page of the New York Times are more downbeat about the future of the movement than, say, those in Wall Street Journal or the Guardian.

Read more on the NY Times and the NYPD here

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at November 16, 2011, 11:06am

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