The great pretenders: how the press helps public figures stage the news.
News isn't just any account of what happened yesterday. It's a story, with characters, action, plot, points of view, and dramatic closure. In particular, it's a story about crisis and emergency response--about the waxing and waning of urgent danger to the community and about the actions of responsible officials to cope. Thus, newsmakers in search of publicity and journalists in search of news don't converge on just any sort of news event. They enact, select, and narrate events in the image of the genre's overarching o·ver·arch·ing
1. Forming an arch overhead or above: overarching branches.
2. Extending over or throughout: "I am not sure whether the missing ingredient . . . drama of urgent public danger. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , they translate themselves and their projects into the language and theater of crisis.
In some circumstances, this translation involves little or no change. When a real crisis is at hand and people are taking real steps to cope with it, the focus on crisis and emergency response simply means that the media faithfully reflect what is actually happening.
But the news genre insists that crises and emergency responses are taking place every day and everywhere. As newsmakers and journalists adapt the news story's preconception pre·con·cep·tion
An opinion or conception formed in advance of adequate knowledge or experience, especially a prejudice or bias.
Noun 1. of ordinary events as crises and the front page's preconception of ordinary days as times of great excitement and historical of ordinary days as times of great excitement and historical consequence, the actions they undertake and the stories they tell become fabrications. The news stops representing the real world and begins to falsify falsify,
v to forge; to give a false appearance to anything, as to falsify a record. the real world. The transaction between newsmaker news·mak·er
One that is newsworthy. and consequence, the actions they undertake and the stories they tell become fabrications. The news stops representing the real world and begins to falsify the real world. The transaction between newsmaker and journalist degenerates into a joint journalist degenerates into a joint exercise in manipulation and exploitation.
The newsmakers and journalists involved are more or less aware of the falseness of what they're up to. However, disclosing that falseness would undermine the benefits they're seeking from the news process. Newsmakers are looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. public approval and support. Telling the audience that they're playacting for the press wouldn't exactly serve their purpose. Journalists present themselves to the public as objective observers and reporters of the real world. Disclosing the fact that they're covering fabrications as news events would destroy their authority with readers.
The word lying is harsh, but it's the correct term for the behaviors we are talking about here. A lie is defined as a misrepresentation misrepresentation
In law, any false or misleading expression of fact, usually with the intent to deceive or defraud. It most commonly occurs in insurance and real-estate contracts. False advertising may also constitute misrepresentation. of one's state of mind or belief as to what is authentic and true. When people script and enact events and simulate sentiments for the media's consumption, they meet the simple dictionary test of misrepresentation. When journalists present these made-for-media impersonations as authentic news, they also meet that dictionary test. Journalists are almost always aware of what newsmakers and sources are really up to: it rarely happens that they are completely taken in by the fabrications.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I had better say immediately that I am not talking here about the corruptions of truth and history that take place when journalists and newsmakers break the rules and falsify facts. I am talking about what happens when people follow the rules, when the facts are right and the relevant people have been contacted and the story has been told straight. I am arguing that in such circumstances, officials and journalists are usually lying. They're pretending that the events they're enacting and narrating are bona-fide actions, whereas in fact most news events and stores are prepared performances. The following story, in my opinion one of the best and most important news reports to appear in America in the second half of the 20th century, is a good example of the way in which the news genre invites and validates dishonest behavior and thereby turns public life into a farrago far·ra·go
n. pl. far·ra·goes
An assortment or a medley; a conglomeration: "their special farrago of resentments" William Safire. of manipulative fictions. It appeared on the front page of The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times on December 4, 1964. This is, of course, a magnificent piece of reporting trod trod
Past tense and a past participle of tread.
the past tense and a past participle of tread
trod, trodden tread newswriting about an event that was as electrifying e·lec·tri·fy
tr.v. e·lec·tri·fied, e·lec·tri·fy·ing, e·lec·tri·fies
1. To produce electric charge on or in (a conductor).
a. as it was consequential. Three decades later, the story still brings back memories (for those of us of a certain age), and reading it with the advantage of hindsight, one is struck by the prescience pre·science
Knowledge of actions or events before they occur; foresight.
Formal knowledge of events before they happen [Latin praescire to know beforehand] with which the story identifies the whole complex pattern of the campus protest and student radicalism of the '60s in its first major eruption. Nevertheless, this story perfectly exemplifies the way in which the news business makes journalism an instrument of lying and manipulation.
On the surface, to be sure, the story is a monument to facticity fac·tic·i·ty
The quality or condition of being a fact: historical facticity. . This is a piece of writing that at all times is trying very hard to persuade the reader that it is a truthful, reliable, accurate report of what happened at Berkeley that fateful December day. Virtually every statement in the text is a statement of unambiguous fact. With a handful of exceptions, every statement apparently derives from the reporter's personal visual observation. The rest come from official texts put out by individuals or organizations or from earlier newspaper accounts.
The facts presented in this story are not only true, they are obviously true. Observation can be careful or cursory; it can detect small or gross distinctions; it can be in fine or rough focus; it may discern minute or broad characteristics. This story reflects a method of cursory observation in rough focus that seeks only the gross characteristics of visible physical particulars. These are statements of fact about matters that it's particularly easy to be right about, and particularly hard to be mistaken about. This may be seen most clearly in the vocabulary employed in the story, Nearly all the words used are in widespread popular usage; they are relatively few and recur fairly often; and most of them denote tangible things or qualifies. Moreover, these words are not highly specific. Thus, people who are enrolled to study at the University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). are invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil described only as students, never as graduate students or undergraduates, juniors or seniors, premed pre·med
premed Premedical adjective Referring to preparing for a career in medicine noun students or electrical engineering electrical engineering: see engineering.
Branch of engineering concerned with the practical applications of electricity in all its forms, including those of electronics. students. Similarly, people who teach at the university are always faculty members and not scholars, researchers, teaching assistants, epidemiologists, or anything else. The crudeness of the reporter's lexicon makes the story particularly easy to accept as true, since an observer is less likely to err in identifying a student than he is in identifying a graduate student or nontenured non·ten·ured
Not having or leading to tenure: a nontenured academic post. associate professor or research scholar. The story also invites us to accept as true and precise its account of the events by narrating them in a highly impersonal voice. Although the text was in fact reported and written by a human being, he never speaks in the first person or expresses his own feelings. The prose does not evaluate or qualify. By withholding the subjective aspect of the writer-event encounter, the story is telling us that it was written by a person with an intense commitment to factual reporting and the self-discipline to bring it off. It is inviting us to trust this man. (It is also saying, somewhat inconsistently, that the events at Berkeley were so dramatic and unforgettable that they require no elaboration or rhetorical embroidery, no direct writer-to-reader communications, for the entire episode to be intelligible and compelling to the reader.) A small indication of the impersonality of this authorial voice is to be found in the scarcity of adjectives in the story--only some 10 percent of the words are adjectives. And almost all of these adjectives in this text denote number, sequence, location, or some other objective characteristic of the noun they modify.
A further element of impersonality is provided by the story's insistently chaotic structure. As one reads the story through, the subject changes no fewer than 15 times; in only three instances are there five or more successive paragraphs treating the same general subject without interruption, and the average number of successive paragraphs on the same subject is approximately three. The impression created is that the story is a more or less random list of facts about actions, with little or no interpretation or other input from the journalist.
It isn't so, of course. The news story's rhetoric of objectivity is just that, a rhetoric, a set of stylistic devices for creating an impression that, in the case of this news report, is sharply at odds with the reality. This is no random bunch of facts. It's a story, an integrated narrative whole that possesses all the attributes classically identified by Aristotle in the Poetics po·et·ics
n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. Literary criticism that deals with the nature, forms, and laws of poetry.
2. A treatise on or study of poetry or aesthetics.
3. as fundamentals of drama. There's action (for instance, the arrests), rhetoric (e.g., the deputies' acid comments about "sore rumps"), spectacle, character, plot reversals, and closure.
This was a story about a community in crisis. This feature of the story is perhaps most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially and obviously conveyed by the fact that it appeared on the front page, was summarized by a banner headline banner headline n → Schlagzeile f spreading across four columns, and was allowed to run to over 2,000 words, very long by the standards of a daily newspaper. The urgent, danger-laden, consequence-fraught nature of these events is further evoked by the ironic sparseness and impersonality of the narrative voice--these events are so important they speak for themselves, the story suggests.
The sense of emergency is also conveyed by the way in which the events themselves are subordinated to some unnamed, superseding superseding
taking over a case of a patient under treatment by another veterinarian. In general terms this is poor professional etiquette unless the other veterinarian has been consulted and agrees to the change. , larger concern. Thus, the second paragraph describes the arrests as a subordinate element of the larger, overarching enterprise of "removing demonstrators who took possession of the administration building on the campus last night."
By the same token, the actual offenses for which the demonstrators were put under arrest (trespass trespass, in law, any physical injury to the person or to property. In English common law the action of trespass first developed (13th cent.) to afford a remedy for injuries to property. and unlawful assembly unlawful assembly: see riot, rout, and unlawful assembly. ) are mentioned in passing as a kind of afterthought, halfway through the story. By contrast, the political issues raised by or over the arrests--the FSM's charge that law-enforcement officers had brutalized the demonstrators, the faculty's demand that police be removed from the campus, the governor's insistence that the demonstration had been an exercise in anarchy--are described explicitly and specifically in the opening paragraphs.
Notwithstanding all this, the story lies. It tells a lie; it is a lie.
The lie is the story's implication that the events are unself-conscious and authentic, and that the journalist is an uninvolved un·in·volved
Feeling or showing no interest or involvement; unconcerned: an uninvolved bystander.
Adj. 1. observer whose presence and interest doesn't affect the newsmakers' behavior. Both of these implications are untrue.
The presence of the journalist, with his crisis-and-emergency-response concept of news and his big audience, greatly affects the newsmakers. Each newsmaker is highly self-conscious, and his actions are carefully tailored to attract the media's attention and to advance his purposes in the public-policy arena. The journalist and the newsmaker both know all this. Yet both pretend not to know it. As a result, the journalist and newsmaker more or less knowingly misrepresent mis·rep·re·sent
tr.v. mis·rep·re·sent·ed, mis·rep·re·sent·ing, mis·rep·re·sents
1. To give an incorrect or misleading representation of.
2. both the event and their roles in the event.
Take the FSM See finite state machine.
1. (mathematics, algorithm, theory) FSM - Finite State Machine.
2. (networking) FSM - FDDI Switching Module.
(3Com implements this device on its LAN switches). . As the story explains, it was dominated by liberal and leftist left·ism also Left·ism
1. The ideology of the political left.
2. Belief in or support of the tenets of the political left.
left activist groups recently energized by the civil rights struggle in the South. Returning to Berkeley after their Mississippi summer, some of the people who were soon to become leaders of the FSM began applying to the university perspectives and tactics they'd learned in the crusade for black equality. As the story reports, they began to confront the university administration over its restrictions on their political activism.
These confrontations were both real and symbolic. They were meant to induce the university to relax or eliminate its prohibitions against on-campus activism. Alternatively, they were meant to elicit official resistance to make the point that, like Northern society as a whole, the U.C. system, contrary to appearances, was an illiberal il·lib·er·al
1. Narrow-minded; bigoted.
2. Archaic Ungenerous, mean, or stingy.
a. Lacking liberal culture.
b. Ill-bred; vulgar. , conservative, and repressive regime. Thus, even if the confrontations didn't force the university to back down on the rules issue, they would, in the catch phrase of the day, raise the consciousness of the community, winning new converts to their cause and shifting the center of gravity of public opinion in their direction. For either of these outcomes to materialize, all the FSM needed to do was stage confrontations and get publicity. From such a combination, they felt sure they would emerge big winners.
So when the FSM staged the sit-in in Sproul Hall or, after the bust, called for a student strike to shut down the university in protest over the arrests, they were engaged in a highly self-conscious strategy of political action and political manipulation. It was a strategy, in effect, of conceiving, staging, and arranging to derive political benefit from news stories. For it to work, all that was really needed was for the media to cover these actions on their own terms and thereby define them as real events. With the validation and outreach such coverage would provide, the FSM's program would move forward.
The FSM's strategies and tactics would fail, however, if they were ignored, or if the news stories covering them decoded and deconstructed the actions as I've done in the paragraphs just above. Stories reporting that the FSM was staging events designed to manipulate others in various ways were likely to harm the FSM's cause. Such stories would invalidate in·val·i·date
tr.v. in·val·i·dat·ed, in·val·i·dat·ing, in·val·i·dates
To make invalid; nullify.
in·val the ploys, draw attention to the manipulative intentions and approaches inspiring them, and discourage people from engaging in the reflexive (theory) reflexive - A relation R is reflexive if, for all x, x R x.
Equivalence relations, pre-orders, partial orders and total orders are all reflexive. responses the FSM was hoping its actions would stimulate them to engage in.
The Times dispatch from Berkeley covered the demonstration and student strike on the FSM's terms. Except for the statements by Mario Savio Mario Savio (December 8, 1942 – November 6, 1996) was an American political activist and a key member in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. He is most famous for his passionate speeches, especially his "place your bodies upon the gears" address. and Arthur Goldberg exulting in the authorities' repressive actions--which, as given, are bewildering be·wil·der
tr.v. be·wil·dered, be·wil·der·ing, be·wil·ders
1. To confuse or befuddle, especially with numerous conflicting situations, objects, or statements. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. and cry out in vain for further explanation along the lines of the analysis above--the story reports events in a way that strongly implies that they were unself-conscious, unmanipulative, authentic. It thereby validates the FSM's made-for-media lie.
And since the reporter clearly knew a lot about this manipulative aspect of the day's events, the Times is involved in a lie of its own, or, more precisely, two such lies. The first lie consisted of all the statements that presented the ostensible Apparent; visible; exhibited.
Ostensible authority is power that a principal, either by design or through the absence of ordinary care, permits others to believe his or her agent possesses. , public version of the FSM's actions without indicating the existence of the other dimension. The second lie was the Times's implied assertion In the law of evidence, an implied assertion is a statement or conduct that infers some fact. There is varying opinion of whether hearsay evidence of implied assertions should be admissible in court to prove the truth of its contents. that it was being neutral and dispassionate dis·pas·sion·ate
Devoid of or unaffected by passion, emotion, or bias. See Synonyms at fair1.
dis·pas in giving an objective report of the day's events, when in fact the reporter was well aware that the FSM was engaging in a made-for-media propaganda action that would achieve its effect by being covered by the news media as an unself-conscious, authentic public event. The same analysis applies to the other major actors at Berkeley. The Times was lying about their actions, too, in precisely the same way.
Pat Brown, the governor who ordered the law-enforcement action to arrest and remove the demonstrators, was also engaging in actions that were meant to define a kind of dramatic propaganda against the activists of the FSM and in favor of centrists and establishmentarians whom the FSM was trying to discredit. A center-leaning liberal, Brown at the time was looking anxiously over his shoulder at a conservative movie star and actors'-union leader named Ronald Reagan, who was then emerging as a right-wing challenger for the governor's office and who naturally took a very hard line against the FSM.
In ordering the police action against the sit-in, then, Brown was not only enforcing the law and seeking to reestablish order at the university, he was also trying to discredit the FSM and to forestall fore·stall
tr.v. fore·stalled, fore·stall·ing, fore·stalls
1. To delay, hinder, or prevent by taking precautionary measures beforehand. See Synonyms at prevent.
2. the potential criticism and challenge of Ronald Reagan. In other words, he was taking actions designed to manipulate public perceptions and actions in his favor merely by virtue of being covered as authentic actions. He was trying to demystify de·mys·ti·fy
tr.v. de·mys·ti·fied, de·mys·ti·fy·ing, de·mys·ti·fies
To make less mysterious; clarify: an autobiography that demystified the career of an eminent physician. the left-wing adversaries of university-life-as-usual who were pushing the FSM to confront and discredit the university as a symbol of the larger society. He was trying to raise conservative consciousness by his actions. By failing to cover this aspect of the governor's action, which of course was well known to the reporter, the Times knowingly misrepresented it, thereby validating the governor's manipulative pseudo-actions as much as it was validating the FSM's actions. The analysis could be carried over to other actors--the university administrators, the faculty, the police departments, and so on. The news story gave each a stage on which to enact a propaganda play designed to manipulate appearances and the public, secure in the knowledge that the story wouldn't decode, deconstruct de·con·struct
tr.v. de·con·struct·ed, de·con·struct·ing, de·con·structs
1. To break down into components; dismantle.
2. , or otherwise undermine the performance. The news story thereby gave each an opportunity to turn public attention to private advantage by activating constitutional government's emergency powers in his own interest. This subtle and complicated mendacity men·dac·i·ty
n. pl. men·dac·i·ties
1. The condition of being mendacious; untruthfulness.
2. A lie; a falsehood. is a product, ultimately, of the ironic voice in which the news story is narrated. I use the word irony here in its classical sense of disguise and inversion, by which the narrator NARRATOR. A pleader who draws narrs serviens narrator, a sergeant at law. Fleta, 1. 2, c. 37. Obsolete. pretends to a point of view on the material under discussion different from the one he actually holds and by which he counts on the reader to make the correction and arrive at the correct understanding of his real meaning. A central purpose of irony is to create emphasis, and through the reader's active involvement in construing meaning, intensify the communion achieved by an act of communication. Irony is what is in play when one turns to a friend who has just come in drenched drench
tr.v. drenched, drench·ing, drench·es
1. To wet through and through; soak.
2. To administer a large oral dose of liquid medicine to (an animal).
3. and miserable from an intolerably stormy day and asks, Nice weather, huh? The understatement and misdirection MISDIRECTION, practice. An error made by a judge in charging the jury in a special case.
2. Such misdirection is either in relation to matters of law or matters of fact.
3.-1. , in the context of the obvious fact that the weather isn't nice, are ways of conveying sympathy for his experience and distaste for the weather without being overblown o·ver·blown
Past participle of overblow.
a. Done to excess; overdone: overblown decorations.
The news story tells its yarn in a voice that pretends not to be telling a yarn, merely reciting a list of facts. In fact, of course, what it tells is a story; the pose of objectivity is just a means of encouraging the reader to attend to and accept the story. The voice intensifies meaning, reinforces the particular story's construction of events, screens out discrepant dis·crep·ant
Marked by discrepancy; disagreeing.
[Middle English discrepaunt, from Latin discrep material that might undercut the story, and invites the reader to get involved with and to believe in the text.
That pose, however, has consequences that go far beyond those intended. In real life, when we speak with others about events we have witnessed or experiences we have been through, we do not confine ourselves to facts or to objectively verifiable statements. We make whatever statements it seems to us are necessary to convey our experience as best we understand it. Some of those statements may be objective and factual in nature. Others may not be. Often the facts are unclear or their significance is ambiguous, and in such cases we switch voices, drop any pretense to objectivity, and start talking about the uncertainties and ambiguities or broader meanings we're aware of. In other words, we take responsibility for our meaning and (if any) our irony. If we come to a situation in which we can't be sure the reader will have the information he needs to decode and construe construe v. to determine the meaning of the words of a written document, statute or legal decision, based upon rules of legal interpretation as well as normal meanings. our ironies, we provide those cues. Stepping out of the ironic pose, we do what it takes to communicate experience and meaning successfully.
The news story can't or won't do this. It stays in its objective voice even when that becomes counterproductive from the point of view of successfully conveying information and understanding to the reader. There are several ways of thinking about why it does so, all of them arguably ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. just different ways of saying the same thing. One could say that the news form is so rigid, and the news organization using and defining it so bureaucratized, that working journalists are denied the expository flexibility they need to ensure that the meaning of the news story doesn't get out of synch with what they observed of and understood about the event. One could say that the working journalist is so desensitized de·sen·si·tize
tr.v. de·sen·si·tized, de·sen·si·tiz·ing, de·sen·si·tiz·es
1. To render insensitive or less sensitive.
2. Immunology To make (an individual) nonreactive or insensitive to an antigen. to his or her intellectual responsibility to the reader, or so sensitized sensitized /sen·si·tized/ (sen´si-tizd) rendered sensitive.
see sensitization (2). to the intellectual demands made by the newsmaker, that he or she willingly tolerates a substantial discrepancy between what the story means and what actually took place as he or she understood it. Newsmakers know that the news story can almost always be counted on to stay in its ironically objective voice, and they aggressively take advantage of this fact. The news genre's refusal to shift voices implies that if a newsmaker pretends to an action and the media cover it, they'll cover the action more or less on the newsmaker's terms. They won't drop their accustomed posture of objectivity, accept responsibility for the meaning their words are conveying, and start telling a story that diverges substantially from the newsmaker's performance. Thus, the genre's objective voice turns news into a stage on which the newsmaker may strut his stuff, secure in the knowledge that backstage realities will stay backstage.
I remember, during my Washington days, an evening I spent with a small party hosted by a senior White House staff member and his wife. We began with drinks at the private bar in the president's box at the Kennedy Center, stayed to watch the play, then finished up with supper at a comfortable French restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue Pennsylvania Avenue is a street in Washington, D.C. joining the White House and the United States Capitol. Called "America's Main Street," it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches and civilian protests. . Around the table, the conversation was dominated by the aide, who was full of amusing talk about this or that aspect of White House operations and the actual roles of various senior people. This was early in the Reagan administration Noun 1. Reagan administration - the executive under President Reagan
executive - persons who administer the law , and Washingtonians were still doping doping, in electronics: see semiconductor.
Altering the electrical conductivity of a semiconductor material, such as silicon, by chemically combining it with foreign elements. out who was who and how the place worked. The aide was a member of the centrist Baker-Deaver axis on the White House staff, and naturally his stories were favorable to the personalities and perspectives of his fellow nonconservatives. Practically every observation he made and every vignette Vignette
A symbol or pictorial representation of the corporation on a stock certificate. Usually a complicated and artistic design, it is meant to make the counterfeiting of stock certificates as difficult as possible. he told, it seemed, moved the White House correspondent of The New York Times, who was among our small number, to remark, in an enthusiastic, confidential tone, "That's a story." He must have said that half a dozen times, and he wasn't just being polite, it turned out. During the ensuing en·sue
intr.v. en·sued, en·su·ing, en·sues
1. To follow as a consequence or result. See Synonyms at follow.
2. To take place subsequently. several weeks, I was fascinated to note that several of the matters the White House staff guy had talked about appeared as stories in the Times under our dinner companion's byline.
None of the stories made even the most veiled reference to the White House aide who had been their true originator. None described the aide's personal and political position in the White House staff at the time. None located themselves in the context of either the White House staff's overall communications goals or of the nonconservative wing's political situation. None took any note of the actual way in which the ideas came to the author.
The point here isn't that there was anything wrong with the way the Times ran these stories. To the contrary, this was a normal, up-to-standard exercise in Washington journalism. The genre's exclusion of reflexive and self-referential information about the origins of a story is a crucial element of the way the news story attracts attention and conveys meaning.
How different the reader's impression would have been had any of the stories I saw pitched over dinner included, at the end, a little note reading as follows: "The subject of this story was suggested by a senior White House aide whom the Times has agreed not to identify as a condition of his assistance. The story idea was tendered during a theater-and-dinner party hosted by the aide and his wife; the aide is a non-Reagan loyalist loyalist
American colonist loyal to Britain in the American Revolution. About one-third of American colonists were loyalists, including officeholders who served the British crown, large landholders, wealthy merchants, Anglican clergy and their parishioners, and Quakers. and moderate who is aligned with the Baker-Deaver wing of the staff and who appeared to have been seeking to attract favorable publicity to allies of his on the president's ideologically divided staff."
No such note is written because it would be inconsistent with the ironically objective voice of the news genre. As long as that narrative style prevails, the news story will be a standing invitation for newsmakers to invent events and fabricate postures. It will be an incitement in·cite
tr.v. in·cit·ed, in·cit·ing, in·cites
To provoke and urge on: troublemakers who incite riots; inciting workers to strike. See Synonyms at provoke. to lie.
796 Students Arrested as Police Break Up Sit-In at U. of California
BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 3--The police arrested 796 University of California students in 12 hours today, dragging many on their backs down flights of stairs to end a sit-in demonstration.
The mass arrests were made in removing demonstrators who took possession of the administration building on the campus last night.
The Free Speech Movement, the protesting student group, retaliated by calling a student strike. Faculty members, at a special meeting, gave evidence of some support for the students. The dispute over students' political and protest activities has shaken the university for almost three months.
The strike was called after Gov. Edmund G. Brown ordered early this morning that sit-in demonstrators be removed by force from the corridors of Sproul Hall, the administration building. Mr. Brown said that the students' action constituted "anarchy."
Charges of police brutality Police brutality is a term used to describe the excessive use of physical force, assault, verbal attacks, and threats by police officers and other law enforcement officers. The term may also be used to apply to such behavior when used by prison officers. were made as a result of the removals and arrests today.
In this 27,500-student university, the effectiveness of the strike was difficult to measure. In the morning pickets wheeled in front of the doors of all the classroom buildings and, although students continued to pass through the lines, there were reports that many classrooms were empty.
Clark Kerr Clark Kerr (May 17, 1911 – December 1, 2003) was the first Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1952–1958) and the 12th President of the University of California (1958–1967). Academic background
Kerr earned an A.B. , president of the university, issued a statement tonight declaring that the Free Speech Movement represented an "understandable concern" last September but that it "has now become an instrument of anarchy and of personal aggrandizement ag·gran·dize
tr.v. ag·gran·dized, ag·gran·diz·ing, ag·gran·diz·es
1. To increase the scope of; extend.
2. To make greater in power, influence, stature, or reputation.
Representatives of about 75 of the 82 academic departments at the university, in a meeting this afternoon, found that about 20 departments were functioning normally in the face of the strike. Prof. Charles Hulten, chairman of the Journalism Department, said that individual faculty members would decide tomorrow whether to hold classes.
A meeting of 500 of the 1,200 members of the faculty voted a resolution this afternoon stating that the university faced a "desperate situation."
The faculty members favor new and liberalized campus rules for political activity and setting up a committee to which students could appeal administration decisions on penalties for violating university rules on political action.
Plan Telegram to Brown
The resolution also asked "that all pending campus action against students for acts occurring before the present date be dropped."
At the meeting, faculty members drafted a telegram to be sent to Governor Brown. It condemned the use of the California Highway Patrol highway patrol
A state law enforcement organization whose police officers patrol the public highways. on the campus and the exclusion of faculty members from Sproul Hall.
Last night about 1,000 sit-in demonstrators filled the corridors of Sproul Hall before the doors were locked at 7:00 P.M. They sat there, sleeping, singing, studying and talking until about 3:10 A.M., when Edward W. Strong, the chancellor for this campus of the multi-campus university, went to Sproul Hall. Mr. Strong Mr. Strong is part of the Mr. Men series of books, by Roger Hargreaves. Story
Mr. Strong, a man cursed by his superhuman strength, finds his life is ruined by everyday objects failing to survive his great prowess. read a statement asking the students to leave. A few did, but most stayed. They had put up barricades at the stairways and were concentrated on the second, third, and fourth floors.
The police took an elevator to the fourth floor and began removing students there.
Capt. Larry Waldt of the Alameda County sheriffs office made the estimate of the number of students arrested.
By midday, the routine was standard, as illustrated by the arrest of Jean Golson.
When she found herself at the head of the line of demonstrators, Sgt. Don Smithson of the Berkeley police force told her, "You are under arrest for trespass and unlawful assembly."
Another Berkeley policeman held a microphone to record her answers and the sergeant's statements. A third made notes in a booking form.
"If you walk out, you will not be charged with resisting arrest resisting arrest n. the crime of using physical force (no matter how slight in the eyes of most law enforcement officers) to prevent arrest, handcuffing and/or taking the accused to jail. , but if we are forced to carry you out, you will be charged with resisting arrest," the sergeant said.
'Female on Way'
Miss Golson said she would not walk out. A number was held to her chest and her photograph was taken. The Berkeley police pulled her by the arms for a few feet and then turned her over to two sheriffs deputies from Alameda County. They dragged her quickly down the corridor on her back, shouting "Female on the way." At a booking desk, she was pulled erect and was finger-printed. Then she was pulled into an office for searching by two matrons from the sheriff's office.
Then she was dragged back into the elevator, where other girls were being held. When the elevator was full, the girls were taken to the basement and were loaded into a van for transportation to the county jail.
The bail schedule was $75 each on the trespass and unlawful assembly charges and $100 for resisting arrest.
Total Bail is $150,000
Booking officers at the Alameda County sheriffs office said that about 25 of the demonstrators posted bail soon after being booked. Meantime, lawyers, parents and others were meeting with a municipal judge attempting to obtain an order freeing the demonstrators on their own recognizance own recognizance (O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person accused of a crime to be free while awaiting trial, without posting bail, on the defendant's own promise to appear and his/her reputation. . The total bail involved will be more than $150,000.
For men, the handling was significantly different once they were turned over to the sheriffs deputies after arrest. Those men who would walk were dragged down four flights of steps to the basement. Those who remained limp were dragged by the arms down the steps, departing to the cries of "Good luck" from their friends.
There were about a score of sheriff's deputies whose job was to drag the men down the steps. As the day passed, their humor became more acid. Some bumped the buttocks buttocks /but·tocks/ (but´oks) the two fleshy prominences formed by the gluteal muscles on the lower part of the back. of their male prisoners as they dragged them down the stairs Adv. 1. down the stairs - on a floor below; "the tenants live downstairs"
downstairs, on a lower floor, below .
"There'll be some sore rumps in jail tonight," one deputy said.
After the corridors of Sproul Hall were closed, a floor at a time, the litter of the sit-ins remained. There were empty fruit cartons, crushed soft-drink cans, a guitar, stacks of textbooks, sleeping bags and blankets and scores of notebooks with lecture notes in them.
Shouts 'This Is Wonderful'
When Mario Savio, a protest leader, was taken away by the police, he shouted, "This is wonderful--wonderful. We'll bring the university to our terms."
Another leader, Arthur Goldberg, said as he was led away, "Good. The kids have learned more about democracy here than they could in 40 years of classes. This is a perfect example of how the State of California plays the game."
Mr. Savio is a New Yorker who is the president of the Berkeley Chapter of Friends of S.N.C.C., the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (or SNCC, pronounced "snick") was one of the principal organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. . He was involved last spring in recruiting demonstrators who slept in at the Sheraton Palace Hotel. He was arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace. He also worked in the S.N.C.C. program in Mississippi last summer.
Another leader of the Free Speech Movement is Betting Aptheker. She is a member of the W. E. B. DuBois Club which has been described by Department of Justice sources as a front among college students for the Communist party Communist party, in China
Communist party, in China, ruling party of the world's most populous nation since 1949 and most important Communist party in the world since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. .
The dispute that led to the arrests began last September when the university administration announced that it would no longer permit the use of a strip of campus property for soliciting political funds and recruiting protest demonstrators.
The students objected, and a series of demonstrations resulted. Eight students were suspended and the demonstrations were stepped up.
Last month, the university regents ordered that the students be permitted to recruit demonstrators and collect political contributions on campus. But the regents said the students must be held accountable for off-campus violations of the law in projects begun on campus.
They also said that discipline must be tightened.
Earlier this week, four students received letters from the administration indicating that they were to be disciplined, and perhaps expelled. Yesterday the newest demonstration began in protest.
Conservatives Quit Group
The Free Speech Movement was organized with an executive committee of about 60 members, each representing some campus organization. Initially, conservative groups belonged, including the Young Republicans, but these recently disassociated themselves.
The leadership is concentrated in an 11-member steering committee steer·ing committee
A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage.
Noun that appears to be dominated by representatives of campus chapters of the Congress for Racial Equality, the Young Socialist League Socialist League may refer to one of several organisations:
Particularly instrumental in promoting the YSA's goals and objectives in North America were chapters located in the San Francisco Bay Area. , Slate (a student political organization) and the W. E. B. DuBois Club.
At a noon rally of about 5,000 students, Steven Weisman, a leader of the Free Speech Movement, called for an investigation of what he termed police brutality. He also demanded the removal of Mr. Kerr as president of the university. In his statement tonight. Mr. Kerr denied that freedom of speech had ever been an issue and said, "The protest has been over organizing political action on campus."
Mr. Kerr accused the Free Speech Movement of violating the law, of intolerance, distortion of the truth, irrationality, indecency INDECENCY. An act against good behaviour and a just delicacy. 2 Serg. & R. 91.
2. The law, in general, will repress indecency as being contrary to good morals, but, when the public good requires it, the mere indecency of disclosures does not suffice to exclude , and ill will.
In Sacramento, Governor Brown said, "We're not going to have anarchy in the state of California while I'm Governor, and that's anarchy. I did plan to go to Berkeley, but I have other things to do."
Opposition to the Free Speech Movement was in evidence here today. Some students standing at the noon rally held signs reading "Throw the Bums Out" and "Law Not Anarchy--The Majority of Students Do Not Support This Demonstration."