Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bomb threat closes down work on Joe's new HQ, reveals local news buffoonery

AzCentral and 12 News reports today that workers showing up early this morning to their gig building Joe's new gulag hq were stunned to find a bomb threat spray painted on one of the buildings.  The message seemed obvious enough, which photos taken overhead from an entirely necessary news chopper that wasn't intended at all to give a sense of false urgency to a slow-moving story, revealed to be scrawled in large (mostly) capital letters, reading, "Bomb inside…No Work Today...Happy May Day…Stop building prisons for other workers.”  And that's apparently exactly what happened: workers were sent home or to other job sites and construction stopped for the day.

And, indeed, given that Sheriff Joe intends to use it fill his jails up with migrant workers and that other workers were the ones building it, the point seems both apt and easy enough to understand.  That is, if you're not a local news reporter.  But, never keen to waste an opportunity to be confused by a story, the local media dove right in, displaying their complete inability to grasp just what it was the vandal might be getting at.  Just what could it all mean?

Let's start with the facts, shall we?  The Channel 12 anchor started off by reporting only a fragment of the message, making the "May Day" part seem like a distress signal (which, when combined with the ellipses in the AzCentral article, made it seem like it was written while falling off a cliff).  She also warned us about a suspicious lunch box (more about that later!).

Meanwhile, Channel 10's Diane Ryan demonstrated her journalistic prowess by managing to quote the message correctly, but got stuck instead on the significance of the first of May, reporting that "May Day is anarchist day".  It's true that May Day historically honors the Haymarket martyrs, anarchist labor organizers who were hanged in Chicago during the struggle for the 8 hour day, but one hardly suspects Diane Ryan has this level of understanding.  Nope.  Anarchist Day.  That'll do!

Anyhow, closing out the story with a dose of patriarchal male authority, long time and beloved local news anchor Ron Hoon reminded us that law enforcement takes this sort of thing seriously, and then took to openly advocating for the capture of the scofflaw defacer. "Hopefully we can announce an arrest soon," he opined.  No need to interview the police, their man behind the desk, secret super cop Ron Hoon, will advocate their position for them, apparently.  Will he make the arrest himself?  Think of the savings!  The time, the money.  But seriously, what journalism school did the Hooner go to where they taught him that his job was to take the side of law and order when it comes to political protest?

Of course, in this day and age, the Hooner is right -- the cops do take this kind of thing ridiculously seriously.  Recently bomb threats have shut down schools during AIMS week, and today the PPD proved to any doubters than any suspicious lunch box that falls of a work truck from now on will be dutifully and spectacularly blown up by a fucking bomb-blowing-up robot.  Yes, you'll be late to work.  Yes, it's just some guy's tools.  Too bad.  Because despite the budget cuts plaguing our schools and transit system, there's always money for the bomb squad.  Because it keeps you scared.

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