Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Local TV Covers the Occupy LA Eviction
Most of the local TV stations -- with the notable exception of KABC/Channel 7 -- went with live coverage late into the evening Tuesday (and into Wednesday) as the LAPD began removing the Occupy LA protesters from the lawn outside City Hall.
The operation itself appeared to go smoothly, as protesters stuck to civil disobedience and the LAPD, under chief Charlie Beck, went about their business slowly and methodically. It could have gone much differently, but clearly Beck wanted to avoid past LAPD missteps -- of which there have been plenty over the years. (As a result, your average post-Lakers victory riot was more eventful and dangerous than what happened at City Hall on Tuesday night.)
Sadly, the local TV coverage was more predictable. L.A. TV media is notorious for parachuting into situations with general assignment reporters lacking much depth or background on a complicated subject, and that was painfully apparent on Tuesday night, as most of the local TV coverage didn't have much to offer beyond eyewitness accounts of what was going on at the moment (coupled with the occasional inane interview with an Occupy LA protester -- many of whom, granted, were hostile to the media anyway).
"Fox 11" and "KTLA" were trending nationwide by the middle of the night, although many (most?) of the Tweets weren't exactly favorable. Nonetheless, it was still notable that both of those stations went with wall-to-wall coverage, not even breaking for commercials, until 2 a.m. Those stations' competitors closed up shop earlier; and again, it was strange to see market leader KABC relegate its coverage to its website, even as things heated up a bit after midnight.
Some criticized the news media for agreeing to a news coverage pool; Fox 11's Gigi Graciette tweeted that the three pool reporters agreed not to Tweet "as to not have advantage over other stations."
Meanwhile, according to the GM of LA's recreation and parks department, the City Hall park will now be closed indefinitely for "repairs." He's no "Parks and Recreation" Ron Swanson, but is at least sporting a Swanson-style 'stache: