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August 25, 2008

Denver Not Quite A Riot

Riot Gear

The most disjointed element of Monday’s visual convention coverage involved the media exploiting the security angle.

The Denver Post’s lead convention page was filled solid with references to demonstrations that “could have” gotten out of hand, not to mention the rumor of an Obama assassination plot.  The NYT’s unsettling slide show, “Guarding The Party,” offered shots of the Pepsi Center through a fence, lending the feeling of an armed camp; a creepy isolation shot of a hovering police helicopter; and still another of secret service personnel, at a far distance, on the roof of the arena.

In the example above, pulled from the same series, we see a head on shot of a riot officer, the anonymity, the robo-feel and the scale conveying a sense of siege.  In contrast, Monday not only seemed orderly (this photo taken Sunday, by the way), but, according to Lindsay Beyerstein of Majiktheise, the main protest of the day received next-to-no visibility because of the ingenious way the “free speech zones” (shades of the Olympics) rendered any reasonable protest virtually unknown to the delegates and powers that be.



Demconsecurity

(view of Pepsi Center from designated protest area,

locally dubbed “
the Freedom Cage“)

Beyerstein Protest

(Outer perimeter of convention zone, also designated as a “protest corridor”

for permitted marches.  Courtesy Lindsay Beyerstein/
photo thread.)

You see, the reason the scale of this photo is so manipulative to the folks at home — along with the explanation for why there’s a sense of an armed camp and why the Secret Service and the roof is so far away — is not because of the protest threat, real or imagined, but because of the way the branded “Pepsi” Center — just like the Olympic Stadium in Beijing — is so walled off from the city, and so controlled by layers and layers of check points and access layers that the image above, and the slide show overall, really demonstrates the overwhelming power of the (corporate) police state.

updated: 9:05 CST

(image: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.  August 25, 2008.  Denver)

  • http://www.jonathanjk.wordpress.com Jonathanjk

    How come the storm trooper didn’t ask Todd to delete the photo?

  • Jerry Holtaway

    I didn’t know Denver was a war zone.

  • Neal

    Wait til St. Paul!!
    Whilt the Democrats have mainly been spineless suckers for the Republicans, the true criminals show up in St. Paul, beginning Labor Day with the Prince of Darkness and his simpering fool.
    Let’s see how quiet it is then.

  • Tom

    will the MSM feature the similar over the top security measures in St Paul muting all protesters as if they did not exist?

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    the conceit (or is it just ignorance?) that some patch of concrete in Denver (or for that matter, Beijing) being “a designated protest zone”…
    …when the brick & mortar reality of The Convention is virtually meaningless, in the age of the Network…
    …boggles my mind: there is no one in Denver; we are all here, sitting in front of our consoles. The “protest zone” is a bunch of people sitting in a Starbucks, typing on their laptops. What a 20th Century anachronism this whole thing in Denver is!
    “designated protest zone”, indeed. jesus! how utterly clueless.
    WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING ‘PROTEST ZONE’, to bring you down, you brick & mortar idiots.

  • jean

    Two things:
    M. Gonzo, the D party is still run by the old guys (us baby boomers) and we don’t take to new stuff all that well. Wait til ‘12 or ‘16…THAT should be really interesting. Howard Dean has moved things along quite nicely, in my crotchety estimation. That said, thank you for your interesting and very insightful commentaries. ‘Whats the conversation?’ Great.
    This is the face of America’s law enforcement. Even in my small town on the NoCa coast. Shaved heads and all. Thank god we have a watchdog group to shine some light on these guys…and even on the women. I wish CopWatch community groups were in all…ALL cities and towns.

  • Chris

    Strange, for some reason I thought the whole goddamn country was supposed to be a “free speech zone”.

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