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OWS receives unearned praise from media

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Levine is a sophomore politics major  and can be contacted at benjamin.levine@drake.edu

He straps on his Nike shoes, puts on his hipster Levi skinny jeans, grabs his iPod and is ready to go. For what, you ask? Isn’t it obvious.

To protest corporate America.

Why?

Well, because despite his life being exponentially easier and more enjoyable due to the people who took a risk and created those companies (while making a ton of money), capitalism is just too darn unfair. The only problem is that I have never heard Occupy Wall Street framed this way in the media. Rather, it has been praised as the greatest recent grassroots movement in America full of citizens who are “standing up to the system.” While this is true, if you stand up to “the system” with a toolbox that is empty or full of broken tools, then I don’t find that to be impressive. I find it to be rather annoying and destructive. OWS has such a toolbox.

Still, as I’ve mentioned, it has been at the forefront of the news for roughly the last year or so. Time Magazine named “The Protestor” as Person of the Year, although that was mostly due to the Arab Spring, but OWS was also recognized. What I find humorous is the absolutely negligent and bias reporting that the media practices in regard to OWS — this bias is even more compelling and obvious when compared to how the media treated the tea party in 2009 and 2010 when it really picked up momentum.

I won’t go too far into how the media treated the tea party, but let it suffice to say that it was completely different than how the OWS movement is being treated (with the exclusion of Fox News, which has its own obvious bias, as well). While the tea party consists of many intellectual, limited-government conservatives, most coverage by CNN, NBC and other news organizations highlighted those extremely rare moments of hatred and racism that are bound to emerge from a movement as big as the tea party. One would be hard-pressed to find a single organization or movement in America that doesn’t have a racist in it.

Yet OWS, which assuredly deserves greater negative coverage than the tea party and has its fair share of racists, has been put on a pedestal by the media. It seemed like the media took a sigh of relief, and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow practically broke out in song over at MSNBC. But it still remains that the OWS movement offers nothing of substance to praise.

Take the crime at Occupy locations, which occurs at a rate high enough to force protestors out of the movement in fear of their safety. At Zuccotti Park in New York City, a “women only” tent had to be set up due to the threat of sexual assault amongst OWS. Incidents such as the rape of a 14-year-old runaway girl in Dallas are not uncommon. I don’t remember that happening during the tea party protests.

In addition, the whole movement has become a parody of itself.

“(Zuccotti) Park has divided into neighborhoods of sorts, with the western edge along Church Street considered the wrong side of the tracks,” The New York Times reported. What happened to all that equality and togetherness? This, in itself, is enough to discredit the movement as a fraud.

But the complete ignorance of many in the movement makes my point even clearer. Although there are admittedly some intelligent people in the movement (mostly the libertarians), the calls for a $20 minimum wage and free college tuition are ludicrous. One occupier held a sign that read, “Throw me a bone, pay my tuition!”

Ah, that’s the American spirit: begging for things. When asked why he wants free tuition, his answer was, “Because it’s what I want.”

And the tea party is full of idiots?

Possibly even more embarrassing was the recent showing of “Occupiers” at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. When Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller talked to one of the demonstrators, the man claimed he was being paid $60 by a union to protest and had no idea what the event even was.

“They just told me, ‘You want to make 60 bucks? So, come on.’”

That’s the “grassroots” effort that the media is praising constantly? Sounds like a sorry response to a real movement: the tea party.

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6 Comments

  1. Peter Broderson February 26, 2012

    I do not believe anyone involved with OWS is complaining about the goods or services in America or the world but the tremendous inequity of pay for work. No corporation or wealthy person has gotten rich without government help and most of them have not paid back that help in taxes or public good. OWS by individual actions has put a world spot light on the growing monopoly of billionaires controlling world trade through a few hundred corporation. The Tea Party on the other extreme seems to be defending the Empire against the welfare of its citizens and are funded by the billionaires!

  2. Marconi February 26, 2012

    Dude! Before you can gain credibility, you need to come armed with FACTS, not just stale ideological chestnuts. For example, your gratuitous shots at Rachel and Keith — who are actually in touch with members of Occupy, have them on as guests, etc., so they know what the movement’s about. You, on the other hand, think Countdown is still on MSNBC (it moved to Current-TV, middle of last year, before OWS started); so you’re obviously just guessing what KO thinks about it, since you don’t even know which channel the show is on! You’re a student, Ben, way too young to be so incurious. Get out there and find out stuff for yourself, like real journalists do. Strap on your Nikes, put on your Levi skinny jeans, grab your iPod and go get the FACTS, Ben. They matter.

    1. Ben Levine February 29, 2012

      Dude! I understand Olbermann left MSNBC and, you’re right, he is over at Current-TV with the Young Turks (who I find much more tolerable). Nevertheless, I would guess most associate Olbermann with his former employer, MSNBC, and their far left “Lean Forward” reporting, which he so wonderfully contributed to; I hope the discrepancy of when he left didn’t distract you from my problem with OWS (even though you focus only on Olbermann in your response). As far as me “guessing” what Olbermann thinks of OWS, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him come out in favor of the group: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8o3peQq79Q

      Secondly, I have actually seen an OWS protest (admittedly, it was only a DSM protest). I’ve watched the reports on YouTube from not only media sources but protesters themselves, and I know what they want. They want more equality in society through “fairer” taxation, less power for corporations, and an economy that allows more social mobility. The most official Occupy website says that they discuss issues “ranging from ending the death penalty, to dismantling the military-industrial complex, to affordable healthcare, to more welcoming immigration policies.” I’ve seen your average people at OWS discuss with Peter Schiff (in an articulate manner) their want to repealing the Bush tax cuts and helping students with their tuition. Marconi, believe me when I tell you I understand that OWS is a complex movement.

      However, my assertion that the OWS is a joke still stands even when taking in the complexities. I knew all these things when I wrote the article; OWS is, in my opinion, a fraud movement and while it has directed our nation’s discussion toward equity in society I believe it has not brought forth any solid ideas. My view is that our government has too much power in the private sector and in the markets; it is this power that creates loopholes and benefits certain corporations. Giving government more power — which many Occupiers want, you cannot deny that — will only make things worse.

      Sorry I couldn’t write an entire explanation of my problem with OWS in the 700 word opinion article above. I’m sure you’ll understand it is an opinion article, not an academic essay.

  3. D February 26, 2012

    Are people going to protest for the wrong reasons? Yes. People do things for the wrong reasons all the time. But there are the people that are doing it for the right reasons.
    I think the people you point out are the people doing it for the wrong reasons, and you are choosing to focus on the wrong things.

    OWS and other Occupy movements aren’t just a rail against corporations deal. They’re tired of the people with money being able to buy election results and legislation when the normal person, elected officials are supposed to represent, can’t get anything done for them. Things like the Citizens United ruling certainly don’t help with the issue at all. When it comes to the individual wanting his college paid for: I can sympathize. I’m tired of seeing college tuition given to illegal immigrants and as “rewards” on shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and other shows of that sort (because ultimately nothing is free and giving it away for one person raises the prices for everyone else). The normal person isn’t asking for a hand out, they want a hand up, and they’re tired of working and working and working and getting nothing except for rising costs.

    1. Ben Levine February 29, 2012

      See, this is why OWS makes me so angry. You are so close to the answer but your solutions are so wrong. You’ve realized that there are rising costs! Why are there rising costs? Maybe it has to do with the government, the Federal Reserve, and our monetary policy? Maybe the government should stay out of the business — yes, the business — of manipulating our economy and markets as well as our monetary supply. Rising costs is due to inflation and inflation stems from printing money we don’t have, which is a result from our government having too much power and doing too much in general.

      Similarly, if you don’t want people to buy elections then try this: limit government power in the economy. Think about this question: Why do corporations and rich people give so much money to election campaigns? Well, it is because they get so much out of it. In other words, people donate to campaigns because they think they’ll benefit from it. Similarly, the corporations donate because they figure they’ll benefit from their candidate winning and then that candidate using their power in government to help the corporations that donated to them. Take away the power of our government to intervene in the economy and you take away the incentive for corporations to donate to campaigns.

  4. D February 28, 2012

    You obviously don’t understand OWS or any of the Occupy movements. Do some protest for the wrong reasons? Sure, but there are people that do things for the right reasons and the wrong reasons no matter what it is. Instead of focusing on the people who want hand outs, maybe you should be looking for the people that are looking for a hand up. And the ones that are protesting because of corporation/political greed. The average person doesn’t have millions to throw at politicians or to fight(support) legislation. Elected officials are supposed to represent everyone and not just the individuals that have money.

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