Since we talked yesterday about the dearth of main stream media coverage on the Wall Street occupation, a few things have happened. Most interestingly for me, The Nation called out the New York Times for its dismissive tone and lack of journalistic integrity. Here’s a clip:
…I’m reminded of Matthew Prowless, a 40-year-old father of two, who attended the Occupy Wall Street protest, and who is as unassuming of a man as I’ve ever seen—not someone who would have caught Bellafante’s gaze. He wore a baseball cap and stood with his friend by a group of black bloc protesters, whom Matthew was eyeing curiously like they were exotic fish in an aquarium.
When I spoke with him, Matthew called the louder aspects of the protest (the black bloc, the “protest yoga,” etc.) distractions from the far more serious cause.
“My home has been seized, I’m unemployed, there’s no job prospects on the horizon. I have two children and I don’t see a future for them. This is the only way I see to effect change. This isn’t a progressive issue. This is an American issue. We’re here to take our country back from the corporations,” he said, adding he fears for the future of the United States where corporations can now spend unlimited, anonymous dollars to elect the candidates of their choices. After the protest ended for the day, Matthew couldn’t occupy the park because he had to go care for his two children.
I also spoke with a young man named Kevin Stanley, a nurse who made the trek to the protest filled with optimism and left feeling simultaneously elated and disappointed. He was alarmed that the protesters (he calls them “kids”) are held up in Zuccotti Park without the presence of medical professionals. During his time there, he treated three cases of hypothermia and a person going through withdrawal as well as infected wounds from not being able to care for open blisters.
It’s a shame Bellafante didn’t run into Kevin, because they actually agree on the poor organization aspects of the event.
“Many times the communal nature of things will get the actual task done quickly, but all the competing views with no defined hierarchy just reminds me of Lord of The Flies,” he said.
For every batshit-crazy quote Bellafante presents, I can match it with a calm, articulate response from another attendee. I guarantee that. However, that’s not the point. I’m not a believer in the “perfect objectivity” goal for journalists because it’s impossible to ever obtain. Human beings inherently possess prejudices and biases that blind them to aspects of reality. Bellafante is less likely to see the Matthews. I’m less likely to see the black bloc…
And, our friends at NPR defended their decision not to cover the so-called occupation, stating that the protests “did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective.” In other words, they did not have the organization and discipline of the Tea Party, which had the benefit of Koch Brother money and such luminaries as Victoria Jackson and Angelina Jolie’s dad. Fortunately, however, it looks as though things may have tipped in favor of the protesters today, as a few “prominent people” showed up to pledge their support. So, I expect we’ll be hearing more about the protests soon on our local NPR affiliates. In the meantime, though, we’ll just have to make due with MSNBC, which has been doing a great job today outlining the instances of police brutality on the ground.
And I’m not naive enough to think that MSNBC is covering this just because they want to get the word out about the growing protest movement. I realize that violence sells, and that Lawrence O’Donnell’s ratings haven’t been particularly strong. For whatever the reason, though, I think it’s a good thing that the word is slowly getting out. As I mentioned earlier, I have my own concerns about the core group of protesters on the street in New York right now. I don’t think, however, that’s the story. I think the story is that today’s protest is at least 100 times larger than the “occupation” that was attempted on Wall Street in the spring. The story is that a revolution is brewing, and the next protest will likely be a hell of a lot larger.