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Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Predict a Riot!

Did Kaiser Chiefs' 2004 Indie Track Foresee week of Hollywood's Hyper-tweeting DJ Debacle, Washington's Budget Battle?
Probably not.  But sometimes the corny headline gene won't rest until it's satisfied...

So much can happen in a week:  Since our last post, the Hollywood district of Los Angeles has had a "riot," while the nation's credit rating, which has stayed unblemished with "AAA" as our score ever since credit ratings have existed, even throughout the Great Depression, has come perilously close to being sacrificed voluntarily by congressional Republicans who, it appears, would be willing to see it downgraded--thereby causing what economists almost unanimously agree will be catastrophic consequences, if not a sparking a Great Depression II--in order to appease the always-angry Tea Party cult.   

I mention the Hollywood & Highland "riot" in quotes, because, in the final analysis, MUCH was overhyped in news reports.  Yes:  somewhere between five and 8 youths jumped onto a police car.  But whereas when the "melee" (if you can call hundreds of people talking loudly and yelling, but mostly texting and tweeting, a melee) first began, radio reports said police patrol cars had been lit ablaze.  Even though it appears that didn't happen (RoLA is seeking clarification regarding the reports from some Internet and braodcast reports that, patrol cars were set on fire), the impression that Crown Victorias up and down Hollywood Blvd. were burning set the stage for a lot of innacurate portrayals of the event.  Certainly, something was terribly wrong with the way things went in terms of one DJs apparently wreckless social-networking misuse, plus poor crowd control planning by event organizers, and, to some degree, the police response.  However, I do give LAPD some props for their overall handling of the un-riot.  

You can read some of the details here and/or  here.  But it's hard to argue that this was a riot when you realize that a) no one was injured; and b) three arrests were made out of a total of five people who were momentarily detained, according to the L.A. Times; c) there are countless images and many videos of people standing; people walking; people running away from police anti-riot personnel--as well as ample footage of people jumping onto police cars; yet you won't find any of police cars burning from that afternoon, as has been widely reported.   At least we haven't been able to find any such video.  

What's most interesting to me is the police-car-set-on-fire aspect of this story.  It appears that nearly all headlines and copy written about the alleged arson since the day the near-riot (as the occurence was dubbed by the L.A. Times and other well established media outlets) is cited as "according to multiple news reports."  That's what RoLA found on websites ranging from pop-politics destination, Firedoglake ( to  In fact, our Web search found no attribution of the burning squad car report that could be immediately confirmed as an original, credible source; nor could we locate any imagery.  

That doesn't mean vandal-arsonists didn't burn LAPD vehicles on Hollywood Blvd. last Thursday (28 July, 2011) didn't happen. It does mean that there is confusion about important details of the "riot."   Check back next week, after RoLA has an answer (or non-answer) from the LAPD, and/or the District Attorney's office.  Meantime, not the L.A. Times piece does not mention a police car set ablaze by "near-rioters."  


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