When the Media Cover Violent Ferguson Protests — By Accident

Local media have been fairly diligent in recording the violence that has accompanied protests over the non-indictment of police in the deaths of unarmed black suspects. However, national media have tended to focus on the overall message of the protests, including the racial bias that supposedly permeates police work.

However, occasionally journalists are forced to confront the violence–sometimes by accident. That happened on Monday evening, when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broke away to a New York Police Department press conference that he had strongly suggested would be related to New York’s preparation for Sydney-style hostage terror.

Instead, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and other officials proceeded to detail an incident on Saturday evening, following a largely peaceful protest, when two police officers attempting to arrest a demonstrator who had thrown a heavy trash can onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway were beaten by three men and three women.

CNN viewers watched for nearly a quarter of an hour after the producers made the (correct) decision not to cut away. Ironically, the two police officers who were beaten were from the NYPD’s legal affairs department, and were present to protect the right of peaceful protest — at least among those activists who stuck to the rules.