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December 1, 2011

LA Eviction: Witness to Power or The Man and the Money Shot?

photo: Bret Hartman/AP

photo: Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images

You see, what really concerns me when you drive out all the bloggers, and the live streamers, and even the hoards of corporate media from the park by a certain witching hour, leaving behind just a chosen few embedded journalists, the remaining protesters so under the gun that they’re not exactly going to be whipping out their cellphones to grab a few snaps, is: how much leverage is really there to bear witness, and to keep the man honest?

Because, let’s face it, these photojournalists, high minded as they are, are present this particular night under terms established by the city as essentially a documentary adjunct of the police action (at the expense of the Occupiers first amendment rights), as they also are, in plain commercial terms, to secure the picture that sells.

That said, given the size of the city block parcel, the ratio of journalist to police officer, and the impetus to serve as the eyes of the world as hundreds of cops inside the footprint of the park were doing their thing, it’s also a little weird to think about the photographers, as they instinctively would every-other-day, be it a political rally or a car accident or a hostage-taking, just standing alongside each other shooting the exact same thing.

(photo: Bret Hartman/AP caption: An Occupy Los Angeles supporter is arrested and carried out of the camp by Los Angeles Police officers at the Los Angeles City Hall, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, in Los Angeles. Police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia stormed Occupy Wall Street encampments in both cities Wednesday, demanding protestors leave demonstration sites. photo: Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images caption: A protester was arrested as Los Angeles police officers dismantled the Occupy LA encampment outside City Hall in Los Angeles early this morning. The nearly two-month-old encampment was among the oldest and largest on the West Coast.)

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