Sunday, October 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, the police, and the New York Times

Spotted by Bryley on Facebook...

It is a small tweak, but it does shift the emphasis.  It changes the focus from the police to the demonstrators as the actors to whom the other party was responding to.

I really haven't been paying any attention to these demonstrations yet.  I plan on taking a closer look next week. But this did catch my eye and I wanted to share it.

Still, I do not think there was an intentional shift in the bias here.  Another reporter was also added to the by-line and I am assuming that the story was updated with more details here during the 20 minutes between one screen capture and the other.

However, these little sorts of tweaks, when done unintentionally, can have a small effect on the readers' interpretation of events.  When done somewhat intentionally, they can have a larger effect.

I would guess that the change might have come from information the second reporter had from the police that was unavailable to the first reporter, such as... "No, we didn't want to let them on the bridge, but we couldn't stop them in time."

Having not read the article, I do not know for sure.  But I suspect that this change is meant to be more innocent than it looks.  However, I do agree that the effect it has on the reader may be significant.

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