The romantic treatment of the leftist sit-in at Wall Street by Michael Kimmelman in his Sunday Review 'news analysis' 'The Power of Place in Protest " was bad enough, with talk of Aristotle and 'the size of an ideal polis' and how 'Zuccotti Park has in fact become a miniature polis, a little city in the making.' But the real offense came in the New York Times' choice of comparison photos.
The think-piece by the paper's architectural critic was accompanied by archive photos of other massive legendary protests; Kent State in 1970; the Central Park protest against the Vietnam War in 1967; the famous man in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989; the fall of the Berlin Wall that same year. Of more recent vintage was the Tahrir Square protest in Cairo and Occupy Wall Street.
That's pretty flattering company – as if standing up to Chinese Communist tanks was comparable to eating donated food in Lower Manhattan for a month. It's also quite different from the kind of historical image the Times used in its Tea Party coverage.
A March 28, 2010 Times story by Benedict Carey carried an ominous title cribbed from the famous scene in the movie "Network," 'RAGE's DNA: Mad As Hell. And... ' The online headline was even blunter: 'When Does Political Anger Turn to Violence?'
The story was accompanied by a photo illustration of an open book of matches, one of them lit.
There was also a really strange pair of photos on the jump page: an archive photo, courtesy of Getty Images, of the late-1960s left-wing domestic terrorist group The Weathermen, directly above a similar picture of marching Tea Party protesters. The caption suggested the two movements share some DNA: "VARYING DEGREES OF RAGE The Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, second from right, during the Days of Rage in 1969, and anti-health reform protesters in Washington on Sunday."