Friday, September 23, 2011

What if the Tea Party Occupied Wall Street?

It makes me wonder what else the media is not informing us about, besides tent cities.

Published on Friday, September 23, 2011 by FAIR

In an action called Occupy Wall Street, thousands of activists took to the streets of Lower Manhattan on September 17.

The protests are continuing, with demonstrators camped out on the Financial District's Liberty Street in support of U.S. democratization and against corporate domination of politics (Adbusters, 9/19/11).


The media preference for Tea Party gatherings over progressive activism is well-documented. A September 2009 Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., garnered far more coverage than a similar gay rights rally the following month (Extra!, 12/09). Thousands of activists at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in June 2010 did not merit anywhere near the coverage accorded to 600 attendees at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville (Extra!, 9/10). The One Nation Working Together rally (10/2/10) brought thousands to Washington-- but little media attention (FAIR Media Advisory, 10/6/10).


The answer to the problem of non-coverage would seem to be simple: If the people occupying Wall Street want more media attention, they should just call themselves Tea Party activists.

By DJ Pangburn Friday, September 23, 2011

Death and Taxes has been down to the Occupy Wall Street protest and assemblies a number of times since its inception on September 17th. In that time, most of the reporting has been done by independent media—they can be seen everywhere at the encampment. And when corporate media does decide to get involved, it conveniently reports around the time of an arrest.

Keith Olbermann, for his part, took the mainstream media to task last night on his show for their laughable coverage, calling it “media hypocrisy” and sending his own crew to cover the occupation. Michael Moore echoed his sentiments on Olbermann’s Countdown last night. Tim O’Reilly (founder of O’Reilly Media), a free and open source advocate, watched as a Fox News reporter baited protesters, then stepped in to state he owned a $100 million company and thought that Wall Street got away with a crime.

Is it not telling that Olbermann, pushed out of a job by a media corporation in MSNBC, is essentially the only one in the mainstream reporting on the occupation?

And, what is it about the occupation that isn’t garnering the attention of the mainstream media?

Well, it could be that it’s simply not sexy or crazy enough—it doesn’t have the violent stakes of a Libya or Egypt. Also, the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t have the crazy quotient of the Tea Party’s most extreme members, and neither does it have the humor, danger and theatricality of the ’60s protests led by the Diggers, the Yippies and the Weather Underground.

Could Occupy Wall Street use some of that theatricality and danger? Perhaps. However, having been down to the occupation and spoken with some of the participants, it’s very clear that they are attempting to build the movement through the general assembly and by getting their message out on the internet. And they are working hard for it to be taken seriously because they know that many millions of Americans are on their side. Except, they aren’t being taken seriously.



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