Bloomberg OKs Occupy Wall Street As Media Condescends
As the anti-Wall Street protests spreading across the nation continue into their fourth week, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he'll allow protesters to occupy their home base, a park in lower Manhattan, indefinitely as long as they obey the law, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg's statement is the latest example of city officials voicing support for the growing movement, which has gained nation-wide momentum with a message against policies that heap unfair benefits on the big corporations and the most wealthy Americans. Last week Los Angeles' city council came out in support of the right of Occupy L.A. protesters to camp out on the City Hall lawn.
The movement has drawn mainstream media criticism for its perceived lack of a coherent agenda. Some commentators who support the group in principle have made comparisons to the Tea Party, saying it needs a centralized leadership to become a bona fide political force. Many reports have focused on the hippie-ish elements of the demonstrations. John Avalon of the Daily Beast writes that, as with the Tea Party, the fringe elements of the movement distract from a fact-based debate of the important issues at hand.
Such characterization face a blacklash from supporters and media critics in left-leaning organizations. Salon rips on CNN business anchor Erin Burnett and Avalon for apologizing for the American financial system, which caused 2008 crisis and continues to see record profits, despite reforms in the Dodd-Frank act, which has come under intense criticism for not having the strength to prevent another "too-big-to-fail" situation.
On her new CNN show on Monday night, host Erin Burnett was joined by Rudy Giuliani’s former speechwriter John Avlon and together they heaped condescending scorn on the Wall Street protests while defending the banking industry, offering — as FAIR documented — several misleading statements along the way. Burnett “reported” that while she “saw dancing, bongo drums, even a clown” at the protest, the participants “did not know what they want,” except that “it seems like people want a messiah leader, just like they did when they anointed Barack Obama.” She featured a video clip of herself explaining to one of the protesters that the U.S. Government made money from TARP, and then demanded to know if that changed his negative views of Wall Street.
Meanwhile, as the movement gains traction, it continues to puzzle reporters from mainstream outlets. The New York Times refered to a "default ambassador" of the group as "a half-naked woman who called herself Zuni Tikka."
Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola comes to the protesters' defense, saying those heaping condescension on the movement "fear people power or acts of rebellion because they choose to be managers of democracy rather than citizens."
And, actually, media and the elites aren’t the only ones who think like this. Numerous politically engaged Americans operate like managers of democracy in America because they believe “purism” on issues will create gridlock and prevent anything from being done. They despise making urgent demands of power because they believe Washington is only and has only ever been capable of incremental reform. To them, making demands and refusing to budge places an unacceptable burden on President Obama and legislators.
Reach Ryan Faughnder here.