November 20, 2012

AP Story on Bridge Bomb Plotters’ Sentencing Fails to Note Their Occupy Cleveland Ties, OWS Support

Continuing his wire service’s sadly predictable kid-glove treatment of the Occupy movement which sometimes verges on open romance, Chuck Murr’s Tuesday evening story at the Associated Press on the sentencing of three of the five participants in the foiled plot to bomb a major bridge in a Cleveland suburb utterly failed to note the active involvement of the convicted domestic terrorists (the sentencing judge’s characterization) with Occupy Cleveland. It also failed to note a supportive tweet sent by Occupy Wall Street (HT claiming “entrapment” and linking to a legal defense fund web site.

By contrast, in its coverage of the sentencing today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s James F. McCarty reminded readers, complete with a link back to the paper’s May 2 story describing their involvement, that all five were “members of Occupy Cleveland movement.”

Murr also gave the “entrapment” argument undue prominence (bolds are mine):

Three men were sentenced Tuesday to years in prison (How many? — Ed.) after admitting to taking part in an unsuccessful plot to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio with what turned out to be a dud device provided by a government informant.

The father of one of the defendants, 21-year-old Connor Stevens, complained to the judge that his son had been entrapped.

“My son is guilty,” James Stevens said, “and so is the government.”

Prosecutors had described the suspects as self-proclaimed anarchists who acted out of anger against corporate America and the government.

All three defendants – Stevens, 27-year-old Douglas Wright and 21-year-old Brandon Baxter – apologized in court.

… The men were arrested by the FBI and had targeted a bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron. The FBI has said that the public was never in danger and that the device was a dud provided by an informant.

The defense called the case entrapment, with the informant guiding the way, and said the plot was more an act of vandalism than anti-government terrorism. They asked for sentences in the range of five years.

The convicted domestic terrorists’ sentences, ranging from 8-11 years, were far less than what the government wanted. The Plain Dealer’s McCarty reported that 83 year-old Judge David Dowd Jr. couldn’t justify the 19-30 years the government requested because it was more than the 18 years to which he sentenced a man who killed two people in the 1960s.

In yet another item which the AP’s Murr failed to note, the post also claims that current Occupy Cleveland members were in the courtroom today to lend moral support.

Just over a week ago, the AP’s Meghan Barr singled out a relative few Occupy Wall Street members who were assisting in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup and relief as some unique and new kind of heroes, even allowing a dimwitted professor to describe them a “young people making history.” Meanwhile, as I noted in a post that day, the AP continues to conveniently ignore ”the murders and other crimes committed at Occupy sites, their horridly dangerous lack of hygiene, and their clearly net negative impact on communities in the immediate area.”

And in this case, five Occupy members’ involvement in a plot which, if successful, would have killed many innocent people.

Cross-posted at


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