After a police officer shot Carlo Giuliani in the head, Time magazine published a requiem of sorts--explaining that the twenty-three-year-old Italian protester at the July 2001 G8 economic summit in Genoa, Italy, pretty much got what he deserved. The article concluded:
One man died in Genoa; a man, we must presume, who was swayed by the false promise that violence--not peaceful protest, not participation in the democratic process--is the best way to advance a political cause. It is not too much to hope that the next time his friends stoop to pick up a cobblestone, they will remember a lesson learned when plows first broke the Mesopotamian earth: You reap what you sow. The sanctimonious tone, etched with gratification, was not unique to the largest newsmagazine in the United States. Quite a few commentators seemed to accept--or even applaud--the killing of Giuliani as rough justice. "Excuse me if I don't mourn for the young man who was shot dead by police during the economic summit," wrote Houston Chronicle columnist Cragg Hines. "It was tragic, but he was asking for it, and he got it."
In Genoa, assaults by Italian police were systematic and widespread, causing hundreds of serious injuries. But U.S. news accounts tended to be cryptic. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 23:
Italian police raided a school building housing activists and arrested all 92 people inside. Afterward, the building was covered with pools of blood and littered with smashed computers. Several reporters at the school were hurt; one had his arm broken. Police said 61 of the detainees had been wounded in riots that preceded the raid, but neighbors described hours of beatings and screaming coming from the school during the raid. On July 25, when I called the Committee to Protect Journalists, the New York-based group had not yet issued a statement. But program director Richard M. Murphy told me: "CPJ is extremely concerned by reports that working journalists were attacked by both police and protesters while covering street demonstrations at the Genoa summit." The comment was evenhanded to a fault. The vast majority of the reported attacks on journalists were by police.
Unlike colleagues assaulted while displaying press credentials, reporter John Elliott was on an undercover assignment among protesters. Watching a water cannon move through tear gas, "I felt a massive blow to the back of my head," he wrote in the Sunday Times of London. "For a second my vision whited...