George Floyd & Pink Floyd
Trying to Make Sense in a Senseless World
I watched the George Floyd protests unfold on the nightly TV newscasts for a couple of days before venturing out myself to see what I might learn. The protests began on Friday, May 29th in NYC, following the death of George Floyd, an African American who was asphyxiated, apparently due to a Minneapolis policeman holding a knee over George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes which was caught on video.
TV News Appears to Sensationalize More than Inform
On Saturday night Fox News ran and reran the same footage multiple times of a car burning, seeming to hype and sensationalize the footage into a full blown 'riot'. The a lot of the Fox footage was taken from the air, in a helicopter which they lease (reportedly) for millions annually, which again repeatedly showed video of the crowd below, which appeared to be mostly our men in blue. So given little good video, they talked about groups dallying into the police and back again - but really didn't seem to have any video to support their claims. The next day Mayor de Blasio reported that there were no deaths and no serious injuries to members of the NYPD or the crowd. But there was some looting.
An NBC news account made the situation seem far more chaotic than it was by shaking the camera, providing the appearance of chaos. And so on.
More Photos & Video Coming Wednesday
Covering the George Floyd Protests in NYC from the Ground - Not from a Cushy Corporate Media Chopper
The 'crisis' seemed to be more manufactured by the TV news, than by what was actually happening on the streets, which is why I decided I needed to cover this myself. Second hand TV news seems increasingly like garbage news, but before I could make such a claim, I had to see for myself.
Having grown up in a newspaper family, I've been watching the news and presentation of it all of my life, beginning with the Kennedy assassination, which my father made all of us watch as he said it was history in the making. Back then the news was owned by dozens, if not hundreds of independent newspapermen and broadcasters, so like social media, there was a variety of news presentations and you could pick from them.
Today large multi-billion dollar corporations control most of the news we see, and it seems their focus is largely centered around profit driven ratings instead of a fair and balanced presentation of the news. This is why they seem to hype, sensationalize and distort Americans' perceived reality in order to keep them glued to the tube. And the hyping and sensationalizing is not getting better - it's getting worse.
No longer can you turn on the TV to be informed, but rather to be scared, angered and far too often - to become disinformed.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the George Floyd Pink Floyd protests in NYC.
George Floyd & Pink Floyd
Trying to Make Sense in a Senseless World
View from the Ground in Search of the Truth in Manhattan NYC
But thankfully, there is the internet, which is where you can find the truth - but you have to look for it.
So I ventured out Sunday night into Midtown Manhattan between the hours of 8 pm and 10 pm. I traveled to Times Square via subway. It was largely vacant and quiet, populated by groups of the NYPD, and isolated people walking to and fro.
So I then walked over to Bryant Park, which is where there was a scene the night before, and I had heard earlier in the day that there was to be some activity that night. Nothing. It was quiet and the park was closed.
So I ventured over to Grand Central Station, where I found the same. I asked one of the policemen there if anything was going on that night and he said yes, but in other parts of the city. I headed home to watch the nightly TV news presentation of what was going on.
So what did I see? I saw TV news at Times Square, from where I had just come. Again they had little footage, but said there were groups moving through the plaza. I began to wonder if these groups were doing it to get on the nightly TV news?
My Second Night Covering the George Floyd Protests Manhattan
The next day I did a bit more homework and ventured out at 6 pm. I started my reconnaissance at Union Square Park where, again some of the looting the night before had taken place.
When I came up from the subway I noticed a group of nearly a dozen youths, dressed in hoods, with masks cloistered together. They warned me not to photograph them but I did anyhow. The photo will be shown after I rub out their faces, but they looked kind of tough, they carried no signs and if I were a policeman I would have shadowed them until they went home as I suspect they weren't there to demonstrate.
In the park there were a few protesters chanting Black Lives Matter. The scene had some of the usual theatrics of Bryant Park, but with an edge or a purpose. I continued down 14th Street, heading west, where I photographed a few borded up businesses which were likely vandalized the night before.
The NYPD had a large presence with groups of police keeping a watchful eye, but like the drug policing prior to the methodical scientific policing of the 1990's, it didn't seem focused on weeding out the bad apples, like those I suspected when I came above ground.
Something that occurred to me is that a few bad apples can ruin things for everyone. Not just for the peaceful protesters, but also for police forces around the nation. It seems the good apples need to do more to keep the bad apples in check. A 17th century Irish English political philosopher, Edmund Burke said that, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for [enough] good [wo]men to do nothing."
My Second Night Covering the George Floyd Protests Brooklyn
I then headed back underground into the subway and headed to McCarren Park in Brooklyn. As I neared the park, there were literally hundreds of people coverging on the park, where a George Floyd event was to take place.
When I arrived at the park it was populated with literally thousands of people. I arrived right about 7.30 pm and as I walked through the crowd, there was a pleasant applause ... and then quiet.
All of the people descended to their knees, in what I could only describe as a Colin Kaepernick moment. But it wasn't for a moment. The silence and the kneeling lasted a full half hour. I don't think I have ever, in my decades long lifetime, recall seeing such a large crowd, stay so silent for so long.
It felt like a religious ceremony, but without any organized religion. It was a spiritual event, of people coming together, to register their dismay and disappointment and perhaps silent outrage at the state of affairs we find ourselves in today.
I looked around for the cameras, as this was a huge event. But there were none except those held by individuals. I looked up in the sky to see the Fox Fake News helicopter zooming in on us. But they were nowhere to be seen. No fires, no looting, nothing here to sensationalize, to distort, to corrupt to feed their angry, fearful masses.
A long, disciplined, powerful half hour of silence, a powerful statement made by literally thousands of people, didn't make the fear-mongering nightly TV news that night.
If You Want Your Voice to be Heard it will Take More Than Showing up at a Protest
We live in a democracy. We need to root out the bad apples from positions of power in government through voting, and halt the ratings at any cost reporting by the greedy corporate media by finding better - not bigger - news sources. And we, The People, need to collectively weed out the bad apples abusing the police powers entrusted to them, while simultaneously holding those accountable who seek to exploit and desecrate the well-intentioned statements of millions, by breaking the law.
You and I both know that none of this will happen just by showing up at a protest. It can only happen if those outraged or dismayed, work with and through communal organizations, and by showing up at the ballot box fully informed - not disinformed. The good news is that the information is out there. The bad news is that much of it is not disseminated by those with the largest audiences.
I operate a small group of websites, so while this will be seen by many, but it will be seen by too few. To those who showed at McCarren Park last night, I want to thank you for your very powerful, Gandhi and Martin Luther King like statement.
They would be proud.
This report didn't end as I intended when I started it. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is a 1973 album I still enjoy, that musically weaves themes of race, greed, life purpose and death into a poetically written and acoustically pleasurable experience.