Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
It’s good to know this history. Everyone should take a course in media studies at some point in their life to see just how easily we are manipulated. Just look at how the threat of the evil rioting bombing protesters has been played up and heralded in the media in just the last couple of weeks. Exhibits A-E: Marcus Gee: Why the G20 protesters won’t condemn violence | Police arrest ‘middle-aged white guy’ in G20 security raid | US issues G20 travel alert for Toronto | Ont. police track suspicious fertilizer purchase | America would send troops to G8/G20 if required
Related: Police push ahead with firebombing investigation | Three held in bank firebombing may face terrorism charges | Ottawa RBC firebomb case: I’m not linked to the attack, ex-government worker who rented SUV says | Bank firebomb suspects hung out briefly at Ottawa cafe | Toronto banks review G20 security after Ottawa RBC fire | RBC firebombed as protest, group claims
Jesse Freeston, Toronto Media Coop
June 23, 2010
In August 23rd, 1927, Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Massachusetts. The two were convicted of a double-murder committed during an armed robbery. The trial and media coverage focused on the political ideology of the two men, treating as secondary the material evidence related to the crime itself. The two men were members of the Galleanist Anarchist movement, and the trial was a watershed moment in the campaign to delegitimize the global anarchist movement as a whole.
The politicization of the trial extended to Judge Webster Thayer, who allegedly referred to the defendants as “anarchist bastards.” This is one example of the many ways that the pair’s political activities and beliefs were invoked in a way that prohibited a fair trial from proceeding. Some of the most renowned thinkers of the day spoke out against the prejudice surrounding the trial, such as Upton Sinclair and Walter Lippmann. Fifty years later, a Massachusetts government commission confirmed the trial had been unfair and Governor Michael Dukakis declared a “Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial Day.”
Sacco and Vanzetti come to Ottawa
On Saturday, Ottawa police announced the charging of three well-known Ottawa activists in connection with the May 18th arson of a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. What follows is not a comment on the event in question, nor the guilt or innocence of the accused, but a condemnation of the treatment of the accused by the media and Ottawa police.