More Misreporting On the West Village Explosives Arrests

Categories: New York Post

Mug Shot
Aaron Greene, weapons enthusiast and subject of much bad reporting.
We wrote yesterday about the chain reaction of bad reporting the New York Post set off this week when its reporters quoted anonymous sources alleging that Aaron Greene -- one half of the couple arrested on Saturday after police found a weapons cache and explosives in their West Village apartment -- had ties to Occupy Wall Street.

In the aftermath, both the Associated Press and Reuters repeated the Post's claim, and it spread far and wide before the NYPD officially told reporters on the record that they don't think Greene was involved in any political movements.

What we missed yesterday was that on January 2, a full two days after the Occupy link had already been debunked, CBS This Morning ran a segment doubling down on the false claim.

Reporter Seth Doane went so far as to bring on Mitchell Silber of K2 Intelligence, a corporate investigation firm, to make this stark (and wholly unsupported) pronouncement:

"The assumption was that the vast majority of people there were peaceful protestors but there was a more radical fringe element to the group and there was a concern that at some point they might turn to violence if they weren't accomplishing their political aims."

It's unclear why CBS doesn't bother to identify him as such, but well into 2012, Silber was the Director of the Analytic and Cyber Units in the NYPD's controversial Intelligence Division, where he was associated with the division's program of widespread surveillance of Muslim Americans.

Here's the video:

So now we have a well-connected former bigwig in the NYPD's Intelligence Division going on TV to talk about Greene in the context of the terrorist threat within Occupy Wall Street, two days after the NYPD has already officially backed off that assertion, which had come to the public's awareness only because of anonymous sources (presumably within the NYPD) quoted in the Post. Huh.

Meanwhile, it turns out today that the Post was also wrong about the other detail it trumpeted in the opening sentence of the offending story on Greene: he didn't go to Harvard either.

Gothamist, going above and beyond the call of journalistic duty, made the superhuman effort to pick up a telephone and painstakingly dial Harvard University to confirm Greene's attendance there. What did the Harvard spokesman say?

"Aaron Greene did not attend Harvard Kennedy School, or Harvard undergrad."

For those keeping track, that's now two (2) factual errors in the Post's first sentence, both falsely associating other people and institutions with criminals, both widely and uncritically repeated in the media and zero (0) corrections.

Keep it up, guys.

Previous Coverage:

[] [@macfathom]

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Misreporting? How about any reporting whatsoever? 

The NYP and an occasional blurb here and elsewhere don't qualify as 'reporting'. In fact, I'd say there was quite a disturbing lack of curiosity on the part of the media in this case, especially considering the fact that had these two not been wealthy ivy-league alumni with left wing sympathies, a story of domestic terrorism like this would have gotten wall-to-wall coverage for several news cycles.

Particularly if they were found to have ever attended a Tea Party rally at some point, as opposed to Occupy Wall Street.  We'd be having a 'national conversation' right this minute, I'm sure. 


I have to say CONGRATULATIONS to OCCUPY.  Apparently the folks in power are getting very nervous-thus the continued attempts to make occupy appear to be something it is not.  Unfortunately the closer we get to actually encouraging more change in the way everything is done...the more the FBI, Homeland Security and the other govt. agencies under the control of big money will come after us.  Keep the peace...and keep trying.  It's working.


"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." ~ John Swinton


They should talk to a spokesperson (there isn't one) for Occupy Wall Street to straighten this out. They could look through the the OWS membership list (there isn't one) provided by officials (they're aren't any) in the movement to prove that these bomb making hop heads had nothing to do with OWS. You see, that anarchistic, we're not keeping records or demanding that anyone use their real name stuff cuts both ways. If someone starts digging through video of Zuccotti Park, and they are probably doing that right now, and it turns up either of these knuckleheads, you are going to have to eat your words.


It's time to double down against CBS. The FCC used to take a very dim view of TV stations distorting the news. We need to make sure the FCC knows about CBS's lying.


@JPMcMahon Absurd, you can join one of many Occupy groups, read the consistently updated calendar of events, join freely in the many meetings and freely subscribe to the thousands of email lists for Occupy. It's a leader-full community, not leaderless, and I've never seen this dude hanging around any Occupy actions or meetings. NYP and CBS preemptively reported something that is not fact based just so they could have a hook for their $tory and get pats on the head and treats from their owners. Irresponsible journalism.


@JPMcMahon You are missing the point.  How about if they said JPMcMahon was there in the apartment with all the explosives and drugs?  And you told them 'No, it wasn't me', yet CBS and the NY Post don't report your clarification.  Huh? What then?

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