Why Aren't Media Outlets Taking #OccupyWallStreet Seriously?

Glenn Greenwald hypothesizes about why left-leaning outlets like NPR and The New York Times have been less than supportive in their coverage of #OccupyWallStreet: 

Some of this anti-protest posturing is just the all-too-familiar New-Republic-ish eagerness to prove one's own Seriousness by castigating anyone to the left of, say, Dianne Feinstein or John Kerry; for such individuals, multi-term, pro-Iraq-War Democratic Senator-plutocrats define the outermost left-wing limit of respectability.  Also at play is the jingoistic notion that street protests are valid in Those Bad Contries but not in free, democratic America. 

A siginificant aspect of this progressive disdain is grounded in the belief that the only valid form of political activism is support for Democratic Party candidates, and a corresponding desire to undermine anything that distracts from that goal.  

Meanwhile: Mother Jones describes the protests as disorganized and incoherent; the New York Observer photographs and interviews 50 special protesters. 

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  • ||

    I think it might have something to do with the fact that they are small in numbers and completely incoherent. If the media wanted to cover it, how would they do it? How do you cover protesters who are too stupid to even be able to articulate a consistent set of demands?

  • FlyoverCountry||

    But, but, but - they've got STEVE SMITH on their side. Wall Street will be bleeding for days

    http://www.observer.com/2011/0.....w/#slide41

  • ||

    Oh my God a man raping Sasquatch is lose in Manhattan. It is a real life horror movie. I wonder if Tarintino plans to buy the rights.

  • cynical||

    You find the dumbest or most threatening and aggressive ones and run clips of them over and over again to tar the entire group.

    Well, that's what they would do if it was a right-wing protest, anyway.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Not only small in numbers, but radically exaggerating the crowd-numbers that they do have coming out to protest.

  • wait||

    Exactly. And having spent a few years in NYC myself, I gotta say: A bunch of twenty-something middle class white people playing "let's be homeless!", is not exactly news in that city.

    Greenwald's other thesis - that the "mainstream" has been more and more downplaying popular, leftist, protest - is way selection-biased. Anyone remember Madison and Indiana earlier this year?

  • ||

    Or the Jon Stewart march whatever the hell that was.

  • JD the elder||

    Regarding the incoherent message, I posted this at another forum yesterday.

    The "US Day of Rage" website posted a list of requests for donations, which included:

    * 10 Rubbermaid containers to store sleeping bags
    * 20 Small Rubbermaid Show box size containers
    * 1 large Packet/Jar Advil 250 doses
    * 5 Energizer "On the Go" Chargers
    * 10 Used or New Apple Mac Book Laptop Chargers

    Which prompted me to look up this...

    Newell Rubbermaid institutional ownership: 84.5%
    Pfizer institutional ownership: 70.71%
    Energizer Holdings institutional ownership: 83.92%
    Apple, Inc. institutional ownership: 68.72%

    So apparently the plan is to smash Wall Street with one hand while giving it money with the other? If they were more clever, I'd say maybe the protesters were pulling a "the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we shall hang them" thing, but I really don't think they are. (n.b. not that that really worked out for Lenin either.)

    If you want to see the incoherence in pictures, try
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?.....eet&m=tags

  • ||

    More like--

    'the capitalists are selling us the rope with which we shall hang ourselves--thereby raising awareness. The stupid bastards'

    That sounds about par for the 'thought' process on display.

  • ||

    This...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....pcd0woY2KY

    It is against everyone's best interest to tell the public they are getting fucked with a giant red, white, and blue dildo.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Why doesn't Carlin just say "it's the Federal Reserve that's behind all this bullshit"?

  • Old Mexican||

    Also at play is the jingoistic notion that street protests are valid in Those Bad Contries but not in free, democratic America.


    They're also annoying. Nobody likes a nag.

  • ||

    Because they are bunch of retarded, incoherent hippies who don't make a sense in the fucking hell ?

    There was a funny video at Glenn Beck website of ''Anarchists'' pleading the Commies to play along with them.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    Correct. When should dirty hippies ever be taken seriously. Not that I have anything against dirty hippies, but policy wise they make no sense.

  • GILMORE||

    Ding ding ding.

    Give the man a cupie doll.

  • ||

    Meanwhile: Mother Jones describes the protests as disorganized and incoherent;

    Perhaps, because these protests don't fit into any of the Accepted Narratives, the press is reduced to straight reporting?

  • ||

    When you are a leftist and Mother Jones calls you "disorganized and incoherent", you are probably disorganized and incoherent.

  • ||

    Hell, when you're a leftist and Mother Jones says you're "disorganized and incoherent", it's a good bet that you could be involuntarily committed, if you were worth the bother to the overburdened court system.

  • ||

    Last I checked, the New York Times is a big (although rapidly shrinking) corporation. Why would they side with people who hate them?

    Why would anyone take spoiled children sporting IPones protesting big corporations seriously?

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    But they are one of the, good, well meaning, corporation that are not interested in profits (clearly), they only have the most altruistic intentions and are only interested in doing the public good.

  • ||

    And they have a federally chartered media license that gives them magical super press powers not available to others.

  • ||

    I blame Lupe Fiasco for fucking retweeting every single tweet with the #occupywallstreet hashtag.

  • Apple||

    "the New York Observer photographs and interviews 50 special protesters."

    And I finally got to see what Steve Smith looks like.

  • Sparky||

    I looked at those and decided I want to quit my job and become a Light Worker.

  • Playa Manhattan||

    Really? Because from those photos, I decided that I want to have sex with a Light Worker...

  • ||

    Me too.

  • Rev. Blue Moon||

    You are both breaking Man Law #1 - Never Stick It In the Crazy. Never.

  • ||

    wake me when the protesters number in the tens of thousands and march on washington. Until then, those wannabe anarchists can fuck off.

  • ||

    The portraits of the protesters are full of LUTZ. But then there is the rather fetching Erica Restrepo, 23, who is described as a "Light worker" (Spreads light and love, see #30) and says

    "What brings you here? “Feeling out the vibe...we want to bring in a lot of love.” Do you have a message? “All you need is love.”

    If you see Erica, perhaps all you do need is love.

  • ||

    A tube of lube and a box of condoms too...

  • ||

    And a full battery of vaccinations. A back-up of full spectrum antibiotics might be wise as well.

  • Playa Manhattan||

    Totally worth it, though...

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    I only made it half way through those pictures, I am trying to eat and these vacuous platitude spouting idiots were messing up my turkey on a baguette sandwich. Those captions could have been generated from one of those post modern paper generators.

    That, and most of the men that in those pictures definitely had very punchable faces.

  • ||

    It is typical. All of the men are punchable doofuses. And a good number of the women are quite cute. It is just a shame.

  • ||

    It seems that most the females in those slides came in two varieties:

    1. Cuties with nose rings and/or colored hair. (Which I am choosing to believe means that they are freaks in the sack.)

    2. Crusty hippie hold overs with a serious case of the Peter Pans.

  • ||

    You say that like that makes them unfuckable.

  • ||

    Meh. Might be a half hour before last call hook-up.

  • Michael||

    If by "freak" you mean "loves to get it rough due to major daddy issues and bawls uncontrollably afterward", then yes.

  • ||

    Yes I know one of the Iron Laws is: Don't put it in the crazy.

  • JD the elder||

    Two thoughts:

    #1. There is something called the "pretty girl theory of politics", or something similar; basically, the side with the pretty girls wins. (Example here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t.....790209.ece) On that basis, the protesters are doing pretty well, which scares me politically.

    #2. An older professor of my acquaintance was a student at Berkeley in the 1960s. She explained that she took part in one of the largest demonstrations. Why? Because she was passing by, saw a large group of people, and thought, "I bet there are cute boys there." The mentality of 90% of the protesters seems about that deep, although if the girls are looking for cute boys, they may be out of luck.

  • ||

    I saw an interview one time with John Mellencamp. He is a typical music industry nitwit leftist. But even he admitted that he and everyone else who went to the anti-war rallies back in the early 70s went there because it was a big party and they thought they might get laid.

  • ||

    Jesus, some of you guys really need to get out more; those girls ranged strictly from nasty all the way up maybe two that are above average. My goddamn physics lectures had more cute girls than that.

  • GILMORE||

    Some of this anti-protest posturing is just the all-too-familiar New-Republic-ish eagerness to prove one's own Seriousness by castigating anyone to the left of, say, Dianne Feinstein or John Kerry; for such individuals, multi-term, pro-Iraq-War Democratic Senator-plutocrats define the outermost left-wing limit of respectability

    How about an alternative thesis, Glen?

    =

    THE KIDS ARE FUCKING IDIOTS

    Mr Greenwald seems to want to use the coverage of this thing as an excuse to poo-poo the NYT and other media outlets as being too conventionally 'mainstream', failing to recognize the vibrancy of political debate on the further-left...?

    Fuck that noise. Its a stupid goddamn protest, the kids are a bunch of incoherent, feckless retards who don't even understand the basics of the quasi-socialist political ideas they spout.... they're not fit to hold abbie hoffman's jockstrap, and they are a case study in how many college kids have such weak critical thinking skills or basic understanding of economics / political science / history, etc. that often they end up Howard Zinn-spouting, Zapatista-supporting, suburban 'revolutionaries' whose ideas don't survive in the sunlight 10-seconds amongst even *slightly* better-informed, more-mature people.

    I mean, they're about as useful or threatening as the LaRouche-tards. Let them take to the streets and play pretend, who fucking cares.

    I think the fact that even Mother Jones finds them uninspiring is a sign that maybe, just maybe, they have more sense than I'd previously given them credit for.

  • Fluffy||

    Yeah, Greenwald is completely right when he says that the so-called "liberal media" refuses to regard as Serious anyone who opposes American interventions overseas, along with anyone who takes civil liberties more seriously than Jay Rockefeller or Leon Panetta - AND I would even concede that they tend to brand as unSerious people who hold economic views that would not have been regarded as particularly extreme in the 60's or early 70's.

    These protestors are just a really bad example of that bias. Because they ACTUALLY ARE doofuses.

  • wait||

    Yup, and as I said above - the "mainstream media" was quite sympathetic to the public sector collective bargaining protests earlier this year in certain states.

    Could it be that perhaps these protests - which had clear, well-defined goals - were doing something that these "occupy wall street protests" are not?

    And you know, it's funny - these types protesting in Manhattan right now, are experts at shouting post-modernist academic mumbo-jumbo about hyper-reality, simulacra, mass media consumption etc etc... But the whole basis of their protest is "Look! Those people we see on TV in Egypt are doing this! I wanna be like the people on TV!"

  • Federal Dog||

    "whose ideas don't survive in the sunlight 10-seconds amongst even *slightly* better-informed, more-mature people."

    That's why the only people who get anywhere near them are faculty as uneducated, greedy, and thoughtless as they are.

  • Obama Administration||

    a bunch of incoherent, feckless retards who don't even understand the basics of the quasi-socialist political ideas they spout....

    "PRESENT!!!"

  • Tman||

    When your entire point of the protest is to "occupy" Wall Street, and the end result is a bunch of hippies in sleeping bags birtying up the sidewalk, people might not take you seriously.

    But when Mother Freakin Jones doesn't take you seriously, it's time to pack up the NorthFace and get home to Mom and some hot chocolate for that runny nose.

  • GILMORE||

    I think the H&R consensus on this one is pretty freaking solid. We're all making the very same points.

    Maybe because its bloody obvious. Greenwald is a boob.

  • Tman||

    Yeah, I started typing mine and when I posted I see that it's been said about thirty times already.

  • ||

    It is a bit of a target rich environment. Even double asshole and Tony haven't shown up to defend these clowns.

  • ||

    It's socially acceptable from all fronts to denigrate that subspecies known as "the hypocritical hippie."

  • NoVAHockey||

    I worked campus security as an undergrad. one night I had to babysit about 10 people who were protesting homelessness by sleeping outside in the middle of campus to "experience" it. except they had loads of high end camping equipment. I told them they should ditch the designer ski jackets and sleeping bags in exchange for some newspapers and cardboard boxes. the leader whips out his cell phone (before they were ubiquitous) and demanded that I be replaced.

  • ||

    This is fucking funny.

  • ||

    Hey, that street has done some terrible things.

  • Fluffy||

    I think that it's appropriate to regard street protestors in Those Bad Countries as more significant than protestors in the United States.

    Protestors in Those Bad Countries are often risking really harm. (Standard libertarian disclaimer: getting arrested unfairly and getting pepper-sprayed for no reason is, in fact, "real harm" also - but it ain't "dead".) When you start a street protest in Syria, you are saying, "I am so pissed off that I don't care if I die, I'm going to protest." No American protestor is in that position.

    Starting a street protest in the US, by comparison, just means you have nothing better to be doing with your time.

    Although I would steadfastly defend the right of Americans to engage in street protest, I'm not too terribly impressed when they do.

    It also doesn't really reveal anything compelling about the political situation the way it would in Those Bad Countries. 10,000 Syrians in the streets is big news, because I have to conclude that this 10,000 is a subset of a much larger group that is disaffected but too afraid to protest. 10,000 Americans in the street tells me nothing. Let's say those 10,000 Americans are protesting the war in Afghanistan; since I already knew that there were millions of Americans opposed to the war in Afghanistan, finding out about this particular 10,000 conveys no new information to me. In fact, when a lot of attention is paid to protestors in the US, I'm usually annoyed for that very reason: they just aren't numerically or statistically significant, compared to the millions of people we can know hold position X or Y based on public polling.

  • ||

    That is a great point. In America I can get 10,000 people to show up at an American Idol audition. The protesters are risking nothing but maybe a misdemeanor arrest and their time. The fact that I can find a few hundred people with nothing better to do than sleep on the sidewalk on Wall Street means nothing in the larger scheme of things.

  • ||

    Well, that, plus, in Those Bad Countries there aren't any other real outlets for political speech, and no real prospect for political change.

    In an environment like that, a street protest is a much more consequential (and, as noted, dangerous) event than it is here.

  • j r||

    I don't know. How long do you think any of those kids would last in the Manhattan House of Detention or at Riker's Island?

  • Rev. Blue Moon||

    Geez, NYC n00b, it's called The Tombs.

  • jtuf||

    In New York City, we get a crowd of a million people to watch a ball drop at Times Square on New Years.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,319305,00.html

  • bill||

  • ||

    According the Drudge Herman Cain is within five points. It looks like Pro Liberate's prediction that any including a well spoken duck will be able to beat Obama in 2012 is coming true.

  • Fluffy||

    How the hell does Zogby have Herman Cain beating Romney and Perry?

    Do people really hate Romney that much? Don't get me wrong, that would be good to see, but it's just hard to accept as a data point.

  • ||

    People love Cain. I know some of his policies are a bit loopy. But here is the thing with Cain, he says things like "I don't claim to know everything" and "I don't pander". He seems like a person doesn't suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Politicians have gotten so weird and so out of touch with anything approaching normal in this country, people are desperate for someone who at least appears to be a normal well adjusted human being. I think Cain is a force.

  • ||

    Do people really hate Romney that much?

    Hate? No. Distrust? Yes, I believe so.

  • ||

    Hey! It was a good flick! It even had Jeffrey Jones! Blame that no talent floozy Lea Thompson for the flop! She can't act her way out of a paper bag!

  • bill||

    yet Cain has a huge picture headline and Paul is an afterthought. If I am not mistaken this is the first poll with a challenger getting over 50% against Obama.

  • ||

    Paul has the same thing going for him that Cain does, he is not like every other politician.

  • bill||

    But he is very much like every other pol by kinda sorta maybe gonna take a look a the FED. But thinks questions on that subject are "stupid"
    http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/27/cain-annoyed-by-‘stupid’-questions-from-ron-paul-supporters/

  • Concerned Citizen||

    And Herman Cain is addicted to the drug war.

  • ||

    To clarify, I said "well-educated bicycle."

  • ||

    All these poor useful idiots who think that the problem is with corporate influence on the all-powerful government instead of the all-powerful government having power to sell influence to corporations.

    Will they ever wakeup?

    Don't like wall street controlling the country? Emasculate the government. Simple.

  • AZ||

    This. Money leaves politics when it becomes a low or negative ROI proposition.

  • JD||

    A common thread among the protesters seemed to be that they want the government to take stuff from "Wall Street" to give to them so that they can continue being shiftless hipster douchebags and don't have to actually find a fucking job. A smaller government would be less able to steal and give them money for their iPhone bill.

  • ||

    Like stop signs and fire hydrants?

  • jtuf||

    Representatives of the Occupy Wall Street protesters went to the anti-Achmadinejad protests and the Arab Spring rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza last week to voice their solidarity and recruit support for the Wall Street occupation.

  • jtuf||

    Tell you what, guys. If five commenters want it, I'll swing by Wall Street next week with my camera to report on the occupation for y'all.

  • B.P.||

    One.

  • Esteban||

    Two

  • ||

    Three. Be sure to count how many Apple laptops/iphones/ipods you see, we can have a betting pool on it for lulz.

  • JD the elder||

    You know, I'd thought of the bit about Macbooks/ipods/iphones too, and it occurred to me: in the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s, people made real sacrifices. During the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, thousands of people paid over four times as much to ride taxis, or organized carpools, or just walked miles to work, all of this in the face of stiff, sometimes violent opposition. These dorks can't even be bothered to give up their shiny toys; they just want somebody else to do the boycotting and the fixing.

  • jtuf||

    OK. I guess there isn't that much interest in a report from me. The Daily News is providing updates anyway.

  • hmm ||

    Why Aren't Media Outlets Taking #OccupyWallStreet Seriously?

    Because it's hard to take a bunch of spoiled 20 something hipsters tweeting, FBing, and blogging their Wall Street protest on Apples and Sony Vaios while texting on their iPhones and other smart phones. The traders and denizens of Wall Street are laughing their asses off at these morons.

  • Ska||

    Well you have to do something before heading to Fraunces Tavern.

  • ||

    Do they realize that when the news reports on "Wall Street" it's a metaphor for the financial community - not things the actual street did?

  • l0b0t||

    I've recently been doing a great deal of reading about the freikorps of the inter-war years. The Occupy Wall Street kids wouldn't have stood a chance in the early 20th century.

  • Abdul||

    Clearly, the problem is that the protestors have insufficient amount of papier maiche puppets.

  • T||

    I have to admit, the picture of the "Wonkette writer" looks exactly like what I would imagine. Nice to see some real-life confirmation bias.

  • ||

    Wow you are not kidding. Does that guy realize he is a walking talking stereotype?

  • T||

    He's like a real-life caricature, isn't he?

  • ||

    Just because some people protest something, it doesn't make their cause automatically valid. The left sometimes gets excited about people power without evaluating what the whole point of the event is. It's form over substance in many cases. Often, it seems all they worry about is the threshold question of whether the people are unmututally protesting for a right-wing or libertarian cause.

    Here, the protests are pretty lame and unfocused, so it really would hurt the populist message to suggest that so few really think anything is important enough to protest in public.

  • ||

    Yeah there was a complete lack of any real agenda, even a loony one. What exactly is it they want?

  • ||

    Attention? Warm fuzzies?

  • Restoras||

    Spoiled hipsterz and a Yankees fan? Pass.

  • Liberty||

    ... what I love about all the comments here are how they read exactly, and I mean exactly, like every liberal blog when the tea party was starting.
    :)

  • JD the elder||

    Ouch! But on the plus side, nobody here has accused the Occupy Wall Street crowd of being secretly funded by nefarious industrialists.

  • GILMORE||

    ppppt. Call back in a few months when these people have gotten a dozen congresspeople elected. There may be some similarity to the laughability of their appearances, but at least the Tea Party types had/have a fucking point.

  • waffles||

    I'm sympathetic and disdainful. The snapshots is just full-on confirmation bias. I'm scared to end up like those people. Just confirmed that I need to get a fucking job.

  • Xenocles||

    On the radio yesterday they interviewed a guy who quit his job to join the protest. I guess you could have his if you don't mind moving to Oakland.

  • ||

    From the Observer slideshow..
    "Riley Waggaman, Wonkette Writer: 'The New York Times can suck a dick.'" As he clutches his MacBook.

  • Michael||

    Anonymous

    What brings you here? “To get the message out 99 percent of the population has one percent of the pie. I don’t belong to any one group here; I am self-conscious to the situation.” Do you have a message?: “The message is spontaneous. There is corruption in the market and a need for social change.”

    I'm sorry. There's no more pie. We had a pie eating contest and ate it all.

    So, uhhh...pie's all gone, dude.


    You can go home.

    Because it's all gone. There's no more pie.

  • romulus augustus||

    No coverage? The Today show, yesterday, led with Matt Lauer solemnly making like this was important and then cutting to a reporter on the scene who respectfully interviewed several folks. Mrs. Augustus had to click it off when o.j. started coming out my nose during my rant about how they'd total ignore 5,000 libertarians protesting outside the Federal Reserve Court or something.

  • Michael||

    Here's a fun game to play while clicking through that slideshow: find the attendees that obviously lied about their ages.

  • Dave T||

    My favorite caption.

    http://www.observer.com/2011/0.....ow/#slide9

    What brings you here? “Student loans are crazy.” Do you have a message? “Not that I want to say openly.”

    Man I want to go start a protest with blank signs and when people ask what we are protesting my answer will be: not that I want to say openly. Rah rah fucking rah! What do we want?! We don't want to say! When do we want it?! Who knows!

  • l0b0t||

    Indeed, student loans are crazy. Perhaps the young lady in the photograph would have a better chance at employment that would enable her to pay back her loans if she didn't have a giant anarchy symbol tattooed upon her neck.

  • Cowboy||

    I just see a bunch of libarts kids pissed because they spent shittons of money on a worthless degree.

    Ya know, the problem isn't lack of career preplanning, or bad decisions, its the system maaaaan. I mean what kind of system let's all this art and beauty fall by the way side, while the so called "job makers" and "producers" turn into rich corporate fat cats?

    At least that's the way they see it.

    Fucking hippies.

  • Sailor||

    There might be hope. From the 50 portraits link:

    Do you have a message?: “The New York Times can suck a dick."

  • ||

    But, but, Susan Sarandon was there...

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