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Posts Tagged ‘Rebecca Solnit’

Occupy Oakland Gets Support from Authors

More than 50 writers have signed a petition condemning “the violent crackdown on peaceful, nonviolent Occupy Oakland protesters” earlier this week. The document includes signatures from authors Michael Pollan, Rebecca Solnit and Dave Eggers.

Here is an excerpt: “As writers, authors, editors, filmmakers and artists from across the country, we believe free speech and assembly are paramount to democracy. We urge you to cease the police crackdowns immediately, and stop trampling on protesters’ First Amendment rights. As Mayor, you are ultimately responsible for the actions of your police department, and by all accounts they have behaved shamefully—attacking, beating, and tear-gassing people who were assembled peaceably in nonviolent protest. Mayor Quan, let free speech and assembly have its day, and its night, and stop your police from these terrible and entirely unnecessary attacks. The country is watching. Let the protesters speak and assemble, and end the attacks—now.”

During Occupy Oakland protests this week, hundreds of police officers have clashed with activists. 24-year-old Scott Olsen was hit in the head by a police projectile. He has been hospitalized ever since and will have surgery to reduce swelling in his brain. Doctors upgraded his condition to “fair” yesterday.

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Book Review Sparks Reporting Feud

9780670021079L.jpgOver the weekend, journalist Dan Baum reviewed Rebecca Solnit‘s new book, “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster” for the Washington Post. At the end of the review, Baum criticized her reporting on “illegal killings” in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “She is right to raise the issue, but she fails to turn rumor into proof,” he wrote.

Solnit replied in a letter that began, “You slander me and my book,” disputing Baum’s points about the killings. Here’s an excerpt from her letter that sparked a nonfiction reporting feud: “The reluctance of the mainstream media to give credence to this story even in the face of substantial evidence has been one of the most shocking things about it. You owe me an apology. You owe a much bigger one to history.”

On his website, Baum replied in a post entitled, “Evidence vs. Hearsay.” If you want to read more about the city, Baum recently compiled a list of “The Best Books about New Orleans” for The Daily Beast. (Via Jesse Sunenblick) UPDATE: Solnit wrote GalleyCat, sending readers to the work of investigative reporter A. C. Thompson to support her case.