16 November 2011

MSNBC sees conspiracies in a mayors' teleconference

MSNBC reports breathlessly that a dozen-odd American mayors participated in a conference call last week, but that the mayors "deny colluding on 'Occupy' crackdowns." The call was part of near-weekly verbal communications that members of the United States Conference of Mayors regularly hold, and the conversation apparently naturally turned to the various Occupy actions happening in everyone's cities. And coincidentally, there were clear-outs and crackdowns in multiple cities between the teleconference and MSNBC's investigation for this report.

But investigation into what? Collusion about what? MSNBC begs a huge question here: that's it's improper or illegal for the mayors to talk about a challenge common to all of them and discuss solutions. And so what if they coordinated clearing out the encampments? So what if they "colluded"? What does colluded even mean here? Is there an accusation that mayors from different cities shared funds or police forces or matériel?

Perhaps the conversation went in the direction of, "I'll clear out my city's Occupy if you clear out yours," or "We'll use our pepper spray and riot police if you do, so nobody looks worse than anybody else." But even if it did, how is this "collusion"? And even if it is "collusion," how is this a problem? What laws would have been broken (outside of opening themselves up to §1983 liability for various police excess issues -- does MSNBC mean conspiracy to deprive Occupiers of their civil rights under §1983? Something tells me the article's premise is not that deep)?

And here I thought it was only radically politicized people and the insane who saw conspiracies everywhere.

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