Statement re: recent mainstream media coverage – Anonymous

18 Nov
The Occupy Calgary protest would like to thank the City of Calgary for not using physical force to evict protestors from Olympic Plaza, and acknowledging we express a legitimate political point of view protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As the Occupy movement continues to grow we are saddened to see that protestors staying at Olympic Plaza face an increasingly difficult struggle to survive, which distracts them from their original cause.

The forces wishing to evict us have managed to turn this into a battle over Charter Rights, and shift discussion away from the social problems that brought us together in the first place. We did not come together to express a political opinion for its own sake—we came together because we feel there is something wrong about the distribution of wealth in society, and wanted a dialog to understand how this came to be, and what we can do to fix it.

The protestors representing us at Olympic Plaza are an eclectic group, and while they bring a multitude of issues they want addressed, this multiplicity has been detrimental to our protest because it has been difficult to organize a coherent statement declaring what the protest is about.

Calgary newspapers and television coverage has been a mixed bag; while some reporting has been positive and fair, other reports are maddening in the ways they selectively distort and misrepresent the facts.

A recent CTV News report showed a man identified as a construction worker who had wandered into Olympic Plaza, and got into an argument with the protestors. The construction worker, Richard Evans, had a “heated discussion” with protestor James Bullock, and with a heartwarming nod and a handshake, offered him a job, agreeing to pick him up for work from the plaza the next day. At 7:00am the following morning Evans returned with the CTV News camera in tow, unable to find Bullock thus confirming the protest itself is an excuse to squat on pubic land as opposed to having a real reason to be there, and concluded that Bullock would be an unreliable employee.

What the report failed to mention was Richard Evans is not a random spectator, but a known political agitator. The CTV News crew had to have known who he was; none of the protestors recognized him even though he was present at the Occupy Calgary rally held five days earlier on the steps of City Hall, heckling protestors with a sign that called them “dirty smelly hippies” while disguised head to toe in a chicken costume. Whether Evans knew Bullock has an existing condition that renders him unemployable, we can’t determine.

We question the sincerity of Evan’s job offer, having earlier revealed his desire to ridicule the protestors, some of whom are from the weakest and poorest segment of society and suffering from addiction and mental health problems. While some individuals may not be employable, they are still human, and perhaps know more than anyone about life’s unfairness and injustice. They are perfectly entitled to express their political opinions even if they do not “contribute to society” by paying taxes.

Occupy Calgary has many supporters, and is not limited to the group occupying the plaza. Many of us have jobs, children and other responsibilities that prevent our participation in the protest as much as we would like, so do not let the mainstream media tell you what to believe about the protest, because they have never met more that a few of us, and choose to present what they perceive whether it has any basis in reality or not.

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31 Responses to “Statement re: recent mainstream media coverage – Anonymous”

  1. Richard Evans November 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi there! Unlike the “anonymous” issuers of the above “statement” (Joanne Costello?), I prefer to use my real name; I’m Richard Evans. Now, to clear a few things up…

    1. The job offer was completely legit. Immediately after shaking hands with James I was on the phone to a friend of mine who runs an employment agency. I let them know what was going on and they agreed to help as a personal favour. The plan was to take James for a drug/alcohol test and then to run him through safety training while we waited for the results to come in. Pending passing the d/a and safety testing, a construction labour position would have been found for James. Said training/testing would have been at my own expense.

    2. The offer was made in good faith. James said that he was unemployable. I should have liked to prove him and the authors of the above “statement” wrong.

    3. I didn’t do anything “with the media” in tow. I’ve not had any conversations/interaction/correspondence with any members of the media beyond talking with them at the squatting location. CTV and CBC were there when I arrived at OP that morning. If anything, I’d say they were actually doing their jobs by following up on a story from the previous day. There’s no way you folks can fault them for that.

    4. I stayed true to my word and followed through even though it was against my better judgement. The media was doing what they were supposed to be doing. The only failure in the chain was the inability of the occupy folks to make sure James showed up on time.

    5. What exactly is a “political agitator”? Is it someone who stands up and say’s “hey! This is wrong”? If so, then I’m guilty as charged. You folks keep claiming to want vibrant discourse, right? Now that you’ve got some you’re whining about it? What’s up with that? Did you seriously think that you’d be able to pull off this stunt unopposed? Seriously? You know what’s really funny? That with all your professional activists, assistance from within the city, “union support” and useful idiots, you’re getting hammered in the court of public opinion by a surveyor and a construction safety rep. Politically agitate on that thought for a while.

    6. Back to James… I don’t know what supposed “condition” he has but the idiots that are calling him unemployable need a kick in the nuts. He’s obviously fluent in English which means that he can understand instructions. He has full mobility of all his limbs which means that he can walk, bend, sit, stand, etc… Given those qualifications, he can labour in any of the many local manufacturing facilities we have in this city. He can work an assembly line. That you folks would rather keep him down, using him as a mascot, instead of letting him make something of himself is completely disgusting. IF I decide to give James another chance, It’ll be once the tents are gone and he’s broken away from you mental midgets. Trying to help someone who’s being held down by his peers will only end in failure.

  2. The Big Bad Media November 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    How is this an example of a bias media? Yes, it perhaps was manipulated by Evans, but if James would have showed up at 7:00 a.m., and Evans actually didn’t have a job for him, wouldn’t that have been the ultimate comeuppance? You drag camera’s there, you offer the man a job, he shows up, and you produce….nothing.

    To me, the blame here lies on Evans, if he isn’t sincere on the job offer, and James, for not actually showing up. I’m not sure how this can be blamed on the media. You state the CTV news crew “had to have known who he was” but really, you can’t offer any proof of that and the man was in a chicken costume all day.

    You can’t keep blaming the media for everything that doesn’t go your way. Evans may be an insincere jackass but someone needs to have a long talk with James as well. And, yes, I’m aware that James suffers from FAS but you can’t on one hand say that this person understands economics and politics unlike you “sheep” but he’s too simple to understand showing up at 7:00.

    • Richard Evans November 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      I wore a chicken suit all day… “Insecure” isn’t an issue for me…

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

      Who said he understands economics and politics? He may or may not like many of us who don’t need to understand in order to see that there is a problem and care about finding a solution. He is putting his ass on the line for a movement about fairness. You don’t have to be a great thinker to do that. I repeat: camping in -20 is NO FUN and no one expects any personal gain to result. It’s bigger than that. No handout is going to shut this voice up. Get it?

  3. Hard Working Guy November 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    If you want a fairer distribution of wealth, pack up your tent and start contributing. Personal responsibility plays deeply into this situation.

    You want it, go out and get it – nobody’s stopping you but you. A tent in a park at -25 isnt going to get you ahead in life, having a shower, shaving and going to work just might.

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      I don’t see how we are going to get anywhere if I must continue repeating myself. I have a job. I shower daily. Many of the campers also have jobs. And go to school. And they are making their own choices as are you. No one in this movement is in it for personal gain.
      Now, are you interested in any of the actual ideas presented on this site?

    • tswain November 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Getting a job will change nothing and you are effectively saying that it is acceptable to expect wages declining for the next 30 years as they have done in the past 30 years while those who do not need any more money take even more that they don’t need at the expense of those who do. Which begs the question what kind of Corporate Serfdom do you wish to leave the next generation?

      • Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

        easy… limit the number of children per couple

  4. Colonel Sanders November 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Here are videos of the news reports:

    Global News Calgary 6:00pm November 12th, 2011.

    CTV News Calgary 6:00pm November 16th, 2011.

    CTV News Calgary 12:00pm November 17th, 2011.

  5. Mike Hocho November 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I think one of the issues here between Occupiers and Non-Occupiers is that there isn’t a relevent set of facts that both agree to. While I believe the mainstream media gets manipulated easily as per above, you can also go the the Occupy Calgary Facebook page and there’s a couple of links to “articles” from the eutimes as if that’s an “unbias” newssource. Quick link to the SPLC (you know, that’s the group that sues all the skinheads and bankrupted the Aryan Nations in Idaho) will show you the true sources of that unbias reporting.

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2009/12/16/racist-skinheads-wife-behind-european-news-website/

    I’d love to hear from Jason Devine as he’s a force in both Occupy and obviously does a great job in Calgary exposing the standing up to the neo-nazi’s here as to how he feels about that.

    On that note and for fair disclosure, I’m not a supporter. I support the original message which I think was that you can’t have privatization of profits but then have a bailout paid by everyone. However, I think that message is now lost on tents and legalization of drugs and various other things. I just watched a PBS documentary on Prohibition that reminded me of the Occupy movement. The gist being that the Temperance Movement attempted to have Prohibition in place prior to the 1900’s and were unsuccessful and eventually faded off. The Anti-Saloon league picked up the movement in the early 1900’s and obviously successfully had the 18th amendment ratified in 1920. The biggest difference between the two was the Anti-Saloon league basically said “we don’t care about suffrage, we don’t care about immigrants, we don’t care about civil rights, all we care is to ban alcohol” whereas the Temperance Movement started off wanting to ban alcohol but picked up a ton of other causes along the way which caused them to lose focus on the original movement. In my opinion, Occupy is going that way. If the focus remained on the original message, I think you guys could win a ton of support. Unfortunately, it’s been watered down and lost in the other causes and concerns. I’m not saying those aren’t important, but maybe that’s a battle to be fought another day. But, perhaps that’s the problem with a leaderless movement. Just musings from an individual who supported the original Occupy message but doesn’t get it now.

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I agree with some of what you are saying but it seems to many of us that there is a larger problem than even just bank bailouts and that many of the smaller issues stem from that. If the message seems confused or incoherent it’s because many of us see these issues as pieces of a puzzle we are putting together.
      I think it’s important that you care about the issue you care about, and I hope that you are willing to stand up against it in some way, whether together with us or separately. Write Stephen Harper a letter saying you don’t appreciate his giving $69 billion of our tax money to the banks. Whether you do that under the Occupy banner or not the result is the same – one voice of the 99% speaking out. We are not saying “listen to us.” We are saying “Use your voice.”
      Make sense?

      • Mike Honcho November 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

        Mandi, can you let me know why the facebook page is now limited to only members? I’m not putting you on the spot, it’s your organization, you can do whatever you want, I’m just curious as to the reasoning behind it and you seem like one of the real supporters of non-censorship and freedom of opinion in the group. What was the rationale behind it. I didn’t think there was anything on the page that was so damaging to the group that you would have to shut out others. I don’t want to become a member primarily because, as I’ve disclosed before, I don’t consider myself a supporter but also I have two young children on my facebook avitar and while 80% of the members seem genuine about the cause, there’s another 20% that, frankly, scare me.Thanks in advance for the answer.

        • idnami November 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

          To be honest I’m not sure. I’m not an admin on that page and I argued against it. Partly so we can have a “troll free zone” I think. I’m not calling you personally a troll, just saying that we do get our share of them and people get pretty discouraged battling inane comments when we are trying to support each other.
          Some of them scare me too.
          Honestly by your presence here alone I would class you as a supporter. I don’t agree with every idea put forward. I just publish them. Your respectful disagreement is frankly more useful than a lot of idealistic agreement if you know what I mean. The people who can point out the holes and flaws in our reasoning are the ones who help hone those same ideas and that is incredibly valuable. It is a form of support in my eyes at least and one that I strongly encourage.
          You know, I didn’t consider that kids might read this too and that some of the nastier comments may make this a parental concern. I don’t want to censor but a lot of the comments are totally unconstructive and really offensive. I didn’t want it to seem like I am filtering out detractors which is why I don’t delete them. But I do want this discussion available to everyone, young and old. Hmmm. Your thoughts?

    • AFish November 20, 2011 at 12:56 am #

      I agree that the message has been dispersed to cover far too many topics for there to be a coherent message. But consider that this has largely been done by two forces: the media and the St. Patrick’s Island segment of the group (who seemed only concerned with homelessness as a main issue).
      The original reasons for Occupy have not changed and are international in scope, and I hope that you don’t get distracted by so much smoke and mirrors.
      I’d be the first to agree that Occupy Calgary needs to work on its PR. This blog is a big part of it.

      • Mike Honcho November 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

        Yes, unfortunately ( or fortunately depending on what side you’re on), I think the war on public opinion, at least from a YYC prospective, has been lost. Prior to being not able to access the Facebook site, I thought a couple of guys, particularly Scott Roy and Jason Devine, could see that the tent issue was resulting in the war on public opinion being lost so it had to be wrapped up prior to it looking like a standoff and a ‘lost’ for OC. In my opinion, that’s too late now. Granted, someone might be able to find a way out to preserve some type of ‘victory’ but its difficult for me to imagine how. as I’ve said before, lots of respect for people in the movement who are genuine about it which is most, but I also think some people have dug in on the tents and now can’t see the forest through the trees. Even if it’s a media bias, Afish, it doesn’t change the reality of the situation which is the public is not on OC’s side whether that’s due to media, ignorance, a mixed message, bad presentation, lack of leadership, whatever. Like I’ve said before, I like the gist of the message, but it’s been lost in alot of talk about Charter Rights, Freedom of Assembly, etc. Are those things important? Sure. But from a personal prospective,those things aren’t lacking in Canada in comparison to the rest of the world (Asia, Russia, the Middle East). It’s not an issue which is going to get alot of support from your average Canadian and unfortunately, that’s what the tent issue has been broken down too. Yeah, i know, its not all about tents but even if you lok at your own Facebook page and your GA minutes, there’s an inordinate amount of talk and effort around the tent issue. Again, just my opinion.

        Mandi, can’t follow the ‘other’ Facebook page. Just too much clutter and links to more links that link to other links. Sorry. Take this as a complement but if I had ten people working for me with your energy, I could be one of the 1%.

        • idnami November 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

          I do take it as a compliment! Thank you very much Mike.
          I agree 100% on the tent issue and honestly I think it is very likely to come down to a split between the die hard campers and the rest of us that just want to get on with accomplishing something here. Maybe we will have to present our ideas under a different name, maybe not. We have some meetings coming up that will help us decide what to do and how to move forward. What I can tell you is since I got behind this movement I have learned a LOT and I don’t plan to give up trying to do something about what I have learned. I am far from the best person for the job but myself and a few others have stepped up to take a crack at it all the same, despite our limitations.
          All I can ask of you is, if the material on this blog interests you, keep reading! Keep commenting. Agree with what you agree with, dispute what you don’t, help us clarify our ideas. If you like. I for one appreciate it beyond words.
          Thanks.

  6. Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I didn’t see the CTV piece, but did James accept the offer? Did he tell Richard Evans “yes, see you at 7:00 tomorrow?”

    • Stephen November 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      He did accept the job and they shook hands on the offer.

  7. wildrose Alliance November 18, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    These people are sick, mr morgan and the chicken man should be in jail. These people have no heart. They are the hate machine that drives everything that is wrong with the world. These people have no scruples, no shame. These people are egomaniacs who are only out for themselves. Media whores pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    • Stephen November 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      And your reply is constructive exactly how? Your rantings are just as hurtful and damaging to the cause as the 2 individuals you single out.

    • Richard Evans November 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Morgan and the chicken man want all of the bylaws enforced equally… Are you saying that you have a problem with folks being treated equal under the law?

      • allagescalgary November 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

        Aren’t you the guy that mocked Jack Layton’s death?

  8. Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    if james can smoke and protest he can work and have a job, dispute of disabilities he might have

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      I don’t see the logic in that. Would you care to elaborate?

      • Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

        easy are you telling me he can’t even have a job as simple as holding a sign for a road construction company. it certainly takes more skill to smoke than to hold a sign that says stop or slow. Even a monkey could be trained to do that job. if he can walk around with protest signs and hang out all day i’m sure he can do a job like that.

        • idnami November 19, 2011 at 1:39 am #

          Ok. But there is also a daily changing climate of mental awareness at work here which I know many face. I have known people with diagnosed mental illnesses that seemed as though they ought to be capable of a lot but when faced with the social pressure of a work schedule… weren’t. I can’t make judgments. Just saying some people aren’t cut out for it. Does this make them worthless human beings or should they be appreciated and supported for who they are?

  9. idnami November 18, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I feel certain that he did know as he commented on the Cory Morgan post on Tuesday, which I’m assuming he read or at least got the gist of. What a cruel thing to do. I wonder what would have happened if James had been there?
    What is wrong with some people?

    • Stephen November 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      What is cruel? The fact that a job was offered and accepted?

      • idnami November 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

        Bringing the media along when his intention was clearly to ridicule James. When James accepted the offer did he know there would be TV cameras involved? And knowing how Richard Evans the chicken man feels about Occupy do you really think the offer was genuine?

    • TNA November 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      I’m intrigued Mandi. Exactly how are you doing any good by further marginalizing James and making him a poster boy for your ‘oh poor us’ methods?

      You are keeping him down instead of lifting him up and encouraging to be more, do more.

      I’m sure he does your ideology a ton of good, though. You assert he is incapable of expressing himself coherently and adequately but yet you — presumably one of the camp’s thought leaders — continue to place him in harm’s way by allowing him to speak on your movement’s behalf.

      Now, before you sit down to craft a response demonizing Cory Morgan and Richard Evans and their hurtful attacks one more time (or as some of us might put it, ad nauseum), remember that when you point a finger, there are three more pointing back at you.

      • idnami November 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

        Speaking of ad nauseum, the snarking around here is getting seriously boring.
        MY “poor us” methods? I think you are mistaken. As you can see, my methods center around inclusivity. Maintaining a space for the general public to come, share, communicate and work out solutions to the problems without having to freeze in the park. Judging by the interest and the 1000 hits a day this site gets, I’d say my methods are a fairly effective way of raising awareness and support.
        The problems we are addressing are not only our own. They are yours too. This movement isn’t about giving a few poor people a handout, it is about shining a spotlight on greed and attempting to get people to work with us on creating a fairer and more caring society.
        I am not personally involved with the camp, though I sometimes visit. I lead the project of the blog, selections of which become the newsletter. I’m not able to control who else speaks for the movement and even if I could, I wouldn’t. It’s not my call. I personally dont altogether agree with some of the opinions expressed in posts on this blog, but I publish them anyway.
        That is speaking as a publisher. As a writer, my methods are to craft statements based on my knowledge and opinion styled for maximum impact. Some people don’t care for my style and still others don’t agree with my opinions, but disagreement is fair and I expect it. I don’t go “poor me” when my expectations aren’t met or when people troll the comments with ignorant, irrelevant rants and general unkindness. I did say poor James because a certain blogger who I no longer care to name said something quite hurtful to him. At least by his report and that of witnesses.
        If Richard Evans says his offer was genuine I will take him at his word and respectfully apologize for my assumption that the whole thing was a sick setup with the purpose of humiliating another human being. I don’t know Richard except for his chicken antics which I have no opinion of. Maybe he is a really great guy that would have gone to bat to help empower a guy who doesn’t feel that he is good for antything. That would be very nice and much more the sort of thing I’d prefer to see. So in that case Richard, thanks for trying and I’m sorry James didn’t make it.
        As far as what I assert about James, I have repeated what he told me about his disbilities and called out one man for throwing them in his face. That’s it. I’d be happy to see him empowered and doing well and I don’t care for your implication that I or any one of us would deliberately keep him down in the attempt to further our cause, which is all about empowering the individual.
        We have been told that the campers have made their point and should leave. Judging by the ignorance we continually encounter regarding our true objectives and the assumption that we are a bunch of jobless bums who are out to get something for ourselves, its clear we haven’t. So I guess I better continue to support the camp. Thanks for helping me make up my mind on that one.

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