BART spokesman’s propaganda campaign exposed

Published On September 15, 2011 | By Matt Gratz | Anonymous, Police, Propaganda, Protest

The Bay Area Rapid Transit’s spokesperson, Linton Johnson, is again in the spotlight following the reaction of an e-mail he sent to his colleagues laying out his plan to stage a pro-BART rally with about a dozen “concerned riders” ready to regurgitate the spokesman’s hand written script to the media in an attempt to turn the public against the activists who are bringing BART’s murderous police force to social justice.

Just hours before the planned August 11 protest which ended with the decision to shut down cell phone service, BART’s spokesperson, the same person who made the decision to block passenger communication, sent an e-mail to his co-workers offering his propaganda campaign to solve the problem presented by the protesters. On Wednesday Bob Franklin, the head of BART’s board of directors denounced the attempt to fill a news conference with “loyal passengers” who were critical of the protesters and were to claim that their safety was at risk.

The plan was to have two government funded hired SUVs shuttle in 10-15 hand picked riders to a news conference at the Powell Street station in San Francisco. Once the attention was put on these “loyal passengers,” they would read from scripts that were written by the BART spokesman himself. One line of propaganda written to persuade the public to anger towards protesters rather than the cops who get away with murder was, “We riders demand an immediate end to these illegal acts that make us late and put our lives at risk.

Well Linton, Sir, We passengers demand an immediate end to the illegal employment of killer cops that devastate families & communities and put our lives to an end.

Here is a full scripted statement pulled from the e-mail.

“My name is __________. I take BART from _______(eg, Hayward) to downtown San Francisco. I depend on BART to get me to my destination safely and on-time. Whatever your message is, it is completely lost on me because you’re putting my life at risk. Furthermore you’re making me late. That’s preventing me from being able to (explain hardship such as pick up my children from child care, which means I have to pay an extra __________, or miss my doctors appointment, which means I will be sick for xxx time or miss my job interview, xxx). We riders demand an immediate end to these illegal acts that make us late and put our lives at risk!”

The plan backfired when only one of the pre-screened “concerned riders” showed up without the need of a ride, leaving BART with the $872 bill for the two SUVs they never used.

Though BART officials say there will be no more attempts of staging support, they still have not moved one step in the right direction to satisfy the public. They view the protesters as outsiders and not as part of the community, when they are the heart and soul of the community. Sure the commuters need to get home and the protests may delay them momentarily from their lives, but if any one of the people who are angered by the protesters ever ends up being shot by a BART cop during their un-disrupted ride home, I will still protest and write on their behalf.

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About The Author

Matt Gratz
Matt Gratz founded Political Fail Blog in December of 2010. As a human rights activist, Matt has spent years in the bay area fighting for social justice in the streets. Follow PFB to keep up to date with his photos, videos & blogs! Follow me on twitter!

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