What main street doesn’t know about Occupy Wall street

(pic via the Gothamist)

On September 17th, 2011 thousands of protestors marched on Wall street. Their demands were as diverse as their constituents, including everything from banning the death penalty to ending poverty. What seems to be missing from this rather dedicated action is any serious mainstream media coverage.

Fair asks, “What if Wall street was occupied by the Tea Party?,”

But you wouldn’t know much about any of this from the corporate media–outlets that seem much more interested in protests of the Tea Party variety.

The anti-corporate protests have been lightly covered in the hometown New York Times: One piece (9/18/11) largely about how the police blocked access to Wall Street, and one photo (9/22/11) with the caption “Wall Street Protest Whirls On.”

The protests have been treated with brief mentions on CNN, like this one from host Wolf Blitzer (9/19/11): “Protests here in New York on Wall Street entering a third day. Should New Yorkers be worried at all about what’s going on?”

From the ABC, CBS and NBC network news, we could find nothing at all in the Nexis news database.

But I thought the media was librul!!??

Well, what have we not seen from this lack of coverage? I guess some police are pepper spraying peaceful protesters. And according to Raw Story, some more unfortunate behavior on behalf of the police,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWI3T-ioQzc

If the media is not covering the protests that gives police license to take more liberties. It also delegitimizes some really legitimate grievances.

You can say what you will about protests that are not strategic or focused and those are legitimate critiques–but the fundamental power of protesting when all other avenues have failed us is important to any semblance of democracy we might have, whether it be a strategic single issue protest or a faceless unanimous mass uprising. If protesters aren’t listened to, represented or covered, we have all but lost our voice.

We all know if Wall street was occupied by the Tea Party it would be on every evening news program in the country. And why is that? A reader diary at Firedoglake susses out the hypocrisy,

Dick Cheney’s daughter was allowed to shut down one of the busiest traffic aggregators in lower Manhattan. She was allowed to erect her outdoor theater stage right in front of the main door to the federal courthouse–where she was protesting against holding the KSM trial in federal court. She was given her full measure of symbolism and First Amendment expression

Well, of course she was. She’s Dick Cheney’s daughter.

Contrast that with the Occupy Wall Street protests. There, the NYPD is denying the protestors the right to use blue tarps to cover themselves when it’s pouring rain. Movable orange fencing is being used to corral people. And unarmed and non violent protestors are being maced, punched and dragged.

The NYPD is not allowing the protest to actually happen anywhere near Wall Street itself, denying the protestors their symbolic expression.

Point taken. make sure you let people know what is going down on Wall street and check out these pictures if you don’t believe it is as bad as they are saying it is.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted September 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Also, remember that two NYPD officers were tried and acquitted for raping a woman a few months ago. The P must stand for psychopaths.

  2. Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    A good critique of this protest can be found here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/nyregion/protesters-are-gunning-for-wall-street-with-faulty-aim.html?_r=1

    There’s no way justify police brutality, but these people are not protesting anything. They are postmodern children who are protesting for the sake of protesting. There is no cohesive or coherent message. Without that, what possible gains can be made?

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      See, this attitude is a problem. I can’t get behind calling them “postmodern children” when there are people of all ages out there (just look at the picture on this very post — that was a group of elderly women).

      It’s not “protesting for the sake of protesting.” This is an expression that these people are sick and tired of the way things are. They are protesting the direction the country (especially the economy) is taking, making a stand against how we favor the rich at the expense of the poor and how we’ve destroyed the opportunities that should be available to young adults as they come out of school and look for their first “real” jobs. They don’t have a single goal because there isn’t one single way to make things better. But not every demonstration has to have a concrete demand to be valid. Look at this as a first step. They’re making the rest of the country aware that people are fed up, now it’s time to work to fix it.

      And clearly they aren’t alone in their frustrations, because satellite protests are popping up in other cities around the US. If it was just one group of “children” it wouldn’t be resonating and inspiring so many others this way.

      • Posted September 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        “(just look at the picture on this very post — that was a group of elderly women).”

        Liza – they’re an activist group called Grannies For Peace. I’m not sure when they first started, but they’ve been doing activist work and attending many protests for some time.

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      It doesn’t explain the difference of treatment with the Tea Party either, though… because what exactly IS the Tea Party protesting these days? It’s a bit of a free-for-all as well…

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Related to the police brutality, the office shown in one video macing a woman behind an orange barricade has been identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. It’s also come out locally that he has a pending charge of official misconduct dating back from 2004, during the RNC. This link has more info, plus links to contact Mayor Bloomberg & Police Chief Kelly to demand he be held accountable. Also to file a civilian complaint, if anyone reading witnessed the incident: http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/09/26-1

      As for the critique that the protesters haven’t decided on a clear demand, I think that’s a completely valid misgiving. Though I know people there who are well intentioned, I too have misgivings about the lack of clear agenda, and more specifically, with the idea that their website says the demand will be determined by “consensus”, a process I have painfully learned through experience can be all too easily dominated by the manipulative and bully-ragging. Wall Street doesn’t represent most people’s interests, but given remarks I’ve heard made by some protesters: one acting indignant over people’s questioning, wanting to know the cause–sorry, but “support without question” is not a thing I do. Another woman on a video sanctimoniously shaming police NOT for their brutality, but for doing it “for a paycheck”. And you’re representing the proletariat? Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky have given more articulate insights on Occupy Wall Street. While I think change needs to be made, I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for clarification or look at this with a critical eye, just as much as those caveats need to be applied to Wall St. itself.

  3. Posted September 27, 2011 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    During the London riots earlier this summer and the riots in France a couple years ago, the nice, consensual media was outraged that protestors hadn’t tried to protest peacefully – after all, they said, we’d listen just as much if they did.
    But they don’t. They’re not covering this protest, they haven’t covered the 2-weeks long protest in front of the White House again the Tar Sands pipeline. The mainstream media, on either side of the Atlantic, shows again and again and again that the only way a protest from progressives can interest them is if there is blood and fires that can create self-righteous outrage.

    One day, there will be riots in the US, just like there have been in Europe – and the US media will wonder why people aren’t protesting peacefully.
    I really wished they listened and covered these things and fixed them before things get bad.

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