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Open letter to WGN on Real World inaccuracies

Corrections to the inaccurate reporting of what happened during Saturday's Real World Protest.
Open letter to WGN and reporter Jackie Bange:

I am writing to you because I feel that your report last night mis-represented what actually happened Saturday evening out in front of MTV’s Real World house.

It was stated that protesters came out because they didn’t like how the Real World was portraying the Bucktown neighborhood. This piece of information was incorrect. The protesters were not concerned with how the Real World is portraying Bucktown. Most of them can no longer afford to live there. The protesters were not unified on any one point. This is a very important point that was left out of the account. Persons from many different organizations, unaffiliated individuals, and passersby got sucked up in the series of events. However, there were those out there that were clearly protesting against the gentrification of the neighborhood (and the ones surrounding it), the lack of affordable housing, the alderman’s indifference to the needs of low income persons, the increased monopolization of media outlets that Viacom is a major part of and many more issues - none of which were stated in your report. These are critical points that should have been made during the segment.

The police grossly misrepresented the series of events that took place on that night. When the arrests began, all of the protesters were on the sidewalk. No one was blocking traffic and the situation was peaceful. It was a Sgt. Crawford who started the surreal series of events by arresting someone that was writing with chalk on the sidewalk. It was Sgt. Crawford that was responsible for the gross abuse of individuals rights. It was Sgt. Crawford’s call for backup that blocked traffic. The arriving officers parked their cars blocking several lanes of traffic both on North Ave. and Winchester. What followed was a series of unjustified arrests and a brutal display of force on the part of the officers. You mentioned in the report that “protesters claimed someone was injured.” A person was injured and I can provide you with the contact information. This should have been followed up on.

People standing on the sidewalk watching were arrested. There was general outrage from people living in the neighborhood, and those walking by, at the unnecessary of use of force. This was all caused by the actions of one out of control officer.

Furthermore, a police officer spoke off the record to one of the protesters apologizing for the arrests. He said normally the police would just contain things and make sure they didn’t get out of hand. He said that the reason they were arresting people was because a call had come from an unnamed politician who was being pressured by Viacom to bring things to a fast resolution - meaning end all protests. This same protester was told that someone with MTV placed a call to the police and said that armed gang bangers were outside of the house.

Your coverage of the story is appreciated. Thank you. However, I strongly believe that a follow up segment needs to clarify some of the points listed above. This is not just a story about “protesters” and a tv show. This situation is about local people who want affordable housing. It is about people from the area that want police to be accountable for their actions and for media monopolies to not use local law enforcement to secure profits. Most of all, this is about the freedom to have a dissenting opinion in this country, to assemble peacefully and to be heard.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to your reply.


Brett Bloom



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