Apr
03
2012

No Protests From the Left–According to Progressive TV Guest

Here's something you don't see very often–a progressive person of color on a Sunday morning chat show. There was Van Jones on ABC's This Week on April 1. Also there? Right-wing firebrand Ann Coulter. Huh. But it was something that Jones said that caught my attention. Well, you know, I think that probably the majority of people who are in the Democratic Party, progressive independents or what I would call post-hope Democrats–we're Democrats, we did the vote and hope. And when we–what happened was, we sat back and we let the Tea Party crowd dominate the protests world in the […]

Dec
15
2011

Time Paints Paul Ryan as Deficit-Slashing Superhero

The fact that Time magazine named "The Protester" its Person of the Year was maybe a little surprising. Totally unsurprising, though, was the choice of a runners-up: Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, a hero to many in the corporate media for his bold calls to slash government spending on the poor. It's hard to know where to start with reporter David Von Drehle's tribute. But let's try here: Through a combination of hard work, good timing and possibly suicidal guts, the Wisconsin Republican managed to harness his party to a dramatic plan for dealing with America's rapidly rising public debt. Dealing […]

Dec
14
2011

Driving Out Politics From Privately Owned Public Space

Battery Park City's Winter Garden (photo: Jim Naureckas)

The Winter Garden is one of New York City's largest and most beautiful indoor public spaces. Graced by giant palm trees that would look impressive on Sunset Boulevard and a vast skylight that provides year-round balmy sunlight, this crossroads of Manhattan's Battery Park City became a symbol of Downtown's rebirth when it was reconstructed after being devastated in the September 11 attacks. Yet this crucial community gathering space–which provides a much-needed public square that's hospitable throughout the year–is actually privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties, a multinational real-estate developer that owns the World Financial Center that the Winter Garden is […]

Dec
07
2011

Covering OWS, With Expert Commentary by Andrew Breitbart

USA Today's Rick Hampson has a piece today (12/7/11) on Occupy Wall Street's Occupy Our Homes actions, which include efforts to move families into vacant housing. This coverage is a good sign if you think there is still something happening with this movement after the evictions in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. But why does the article include commentary from right-wing scam artist Andrew Breitbart? The paper reports: Conservative online publisher and commentator Andrew Breitbart said the movement's new focus demonstrates that Occupy Wall Street is not "an authentic grassroots movement" but a political maneuver backed by organized labor […]

Nov
21
2011

It's True: Cops Beat Protesters Even Before OWS

New York Times media reporter David Carr has written some interest pieces on Occupy Wall Street. His piece today tries to work out where things go from here, but one comment in the piece about how Occupy Wall Street compares with protests of the past caught my attention: There were citizens screaming invective about the rich while being confronted by the police in riot gear, the kind of spontaneous uprising we have not seen in almost half a century. Huh. This is used to explain why the mainstream media found OWS so newsworthy. But I remember things like this happening, […]

Nov
16
2011

Crackdown on Journalists at Occupy Wall Street

One more thing about free speech hero Michael Bloomberg's shutdown of Occupy Wall Street. During the early morning raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp journalists were blocked from covering much of what was happening. Josh Stearns from Free Press has a rundown–as he points out, "By dawn, 10 journalists, including reporters from NPR, the Associated Press and the New York Daily News, had been arrested." There was a good local TV news segment about the media clampdown, courtesy of the New York NBC affiliate. It's rare to see an image like this on your TV screen (click the image […]

Nov
16
2011

WaPo and Occupy 'Infestation'

All right, which newspaper posed this question about the Occupy protests today: Is this an occupation or an infestation? Has to be the New York Post, right? Nope–they wouldn't include a question mark. That's the Washington Post, which went on to report that "recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter." And that Post's Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch explain that they're not the only ones who feel this way: In the wake of so much controversy, the Occupy movement–which began as a populist uprising to represent all but the wealthiest 1 percent–has begun to lose some […]

Nov
16
2011

Michael Bloomberg, Free Speech Hero?

The New York Times, writing about Bloomberg's crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, said this: For the mayor, a champion of the First Amendment…. I am not sure what is required to deserve the title of "champion," but was it a different Michael Bloomberg who was mayor during the 2004 Republican convention, which saw mass arrests, preventive detention and surveillance/infiltration of protest groups? What's next–Bloomberg the Fourth Amendment champion?

Nov
09
2011

Tom Friedman: Wall Street Will Save Us From Wall Street

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (11/9/11) went to India in order to appreciate how the grassroots movement to stamp out political corruption there is superior to Occupy Wall Street. Still, he sees a common thread: The world's two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grassroots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal–a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal–a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the […]

Nov
08
2011

Pipeline Protesters Are Noise to the Washington Post

Opponents of the Keystone tar sands pipeline project–10,000 of them, by some reports–surrounded the White House on Sunday to call on Barack Obama to reject the deal. That generated a short Metro section story in the Washington Post on Monday. More revealing than that was the Post's preview story in Sunday's paper, which presented the issue as one where protesters are "noise" and proponents talk about facts. Here's how Juliet Eilperin's story begins: Canadian ambassador Gary Doer has a straightforward analysis of whether TransCanada will win the Obama administration's approval to build and operate an enormous pipeline to transport oil […]

Nov
04
2011

NY Post to Mayor: Reclaim New York's 'Dignity'

Yesterday the New York Post–Rupert Murdoch's down-market tabloid, for those who are blessed to live beyond its circulation area–ran this front-page editorial demanding that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg shut down the Occupy Wall Street encampment to reclaim the city's "dignity": Uhh…. that message would be coming from the paper that ran this dignified cover, waaay back in August: And don't forget the Post's Iraq War weasels covers: And why not this, while we're at it? And let's not forget the paper's stellar work during the Anthony Weiner scandal: "Weiner Exposed," " Hide the Weiner," "Weiner: I'll Stick It Out" […]

Oct
31
2011

Up Is Down, Down Is Up: Bill O'Reilly Explains OWS

On his Friday night show, Bill O'Reilly took his viewers to a magical place–one where the right-wing Koch brothers have no connection to the Tea Party movement, while Occupy Wall Street is a secret project directed and financed by the likes of Moveon.org, SEIU and George Soros. At the top of his broadcast, O'Reilly wondered if we are now in "phase two of the campaign to undermine America"–this would apparently be the phase where activists protest against police brutality, with an assist from "the radical MoveOn organization, which is funding some of the occupiers." As he explained his conspiracy theory: […]

Oct
28
2011

Occupy Charlie Rose!

With the bad news we've been talking about on the public broadcasting front, it's worth pointing out a bright spot: On Monday (10/24/11), Charlie Rose featured a discussion of Occupy Wall Street with Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman. Goodman made an important point about media coverage of the protests: CHARLIE ROSE: Does it have anything in common with the Tea Party? AMY GOODMAN: Well, it's interesting you ask that. When the people gathered on September 16 and 17–what, 2000 people–hardly any coverage they got. If it was 2000 Tea Party activists who gathered on Wall Street, I would dare said […]