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In an episode that was simultaneously poignant, noble, and hilariously out of touch, old New York Times reporter David Dunlap—who is always on the lookout for "illegal marketing campaigns"— says he "sensed a story on the evening of the 14th, when I came across two or three young men stapling posters for a new hip-hop album to lampposts." He started taking pictures of them, and they asked him what he was doing. He replied that what they were doing was illegal; then a guy attacked him and smashed his camera [City Room via FishbowlNY]! Dunlap got pushed down and roughed up, but is unharmed. And he refuses to press charges, because he's so grateful that they didn't stomp him out or rob him at the same time!

I'm not inclined to press charges. While my assailant's actions were frightening, they resulted in part from what he interpreted as provocation: that is, my taking pictures after he had explicitly warned me not to. He did not take my wallet, cash or briefcase; something he could easily have done while I was on the ground. Nor do I recall him using much more force than was needed to wrest the camera from me. He didn't kick me gratuitously when I was down. He did what he threatened to do, but no more.

In the greater scheme of things, my quarrel isn't with him, anyway. It's with the suits who made the decision in the first place to undertake an illegal marketing campaign.

Dunlap's conviction that he had stumbled on a grand story by discovering the Street Marketing industry is comical; but his reporting instincts are admirable. Overall he sounds like an incredibly nice man. You must read his entire account of the situation, which is just priceless. David Dunlap, we got your back!

[pic via City Room]