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Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Catch Heat for Nighttime Raid, ‘Media Blackout’

Photo: Michael Moore

Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are catching major heat for a “media blackout” that has resulted in the expulsion and arrest of journalists who have been covering the evacuation of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park.

Reporters from the New York Daily News, the AP, Mother Jones, local site DNAinfo, and other outlets have reported instances of physical confrontation with the police, officers taking press credentials from reporters, and otherwise being barred from covering activity.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the media from getting the word out, and doing it in a way that makes the Mayor and the police look even worse.

Last night, Mother Jones’ Josh Harkinson tweeted the police raid and some of the harsh treatment he and protesters received. At one point, the coverage reads, “Josh may be the only reporter inside Zuccotti Park right now.”

This morning Mayor Bloomberg said he thought protesters and anyone else wishing to go to Zuccotti Park should be allowed to re-enter, although they were being barred while the city figured out what to do with a restraining order that had been issued. A New York State Supreme Court judge decided that protesters should be allowed back in the park, but that hasn’t happened yet, according to The Observer. According to CNBC blogger John Carney, a final decision about this is pending. (Update: The AP reports that a judge has decided that protesters cannot return to camp in the park.)

We saw tweets criticizing the fact that the raid took place under the cover of night. The Washington Post takes up that argument in defense of the OWS protest.

“Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other New York leaders who ordered the eviction should take a long, hard look at their handling of the occupation. This morning’s action may not be what a police state looks like, but it’s certainly how one begins,” the editorial reads.

Mediaite argues that even without the physical protest at Zuccotti Park, the OWS protests have successfully raised awareness of the issues the movement is most concerned about –income inequality and “corporate cronyism” — with coverage of those issues multiplying over the past couple of months. As the movement has become part of our culture, the story says, it’s time to move on to the next phase.

Results from a survey conducted by Social Science Research Solutions between October 26 and 30 found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents (1,003 Americans) said they’d heard or read some or a lot about OWS. Of those who had heard about it, nearly the same percentage, 66, were able to identify the movement’s main message of income inequality.

“This provides some evidence that there is a clear message coming out of the protests and one that is being comprehended by a majority of Americans,” the press release about the survey says.

Today, there have been thousands more articles about the protest and eviction published.

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