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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Wall Street protests: It’s about time

Posted by James McPherson on October 12, 2011

OK, so Fox News, which likes Tea Party Protests as citizen activism so much that it falls all over itself to promote those protests, isn’t nearly as fond of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Considering Fox’s pro-big business, pro-Republican slant, that’s no surprise. (And naturally, being Fox, the story was placed next to one titled, “Feds Arrest Lone Wolf in ScarJo Nude Photo Probe.”) Besides, the protests aren’t getting as much attention as they should from other media, either.

Frankly, though I’ve made fun of Tea Party folks a time or two or three, I’ve also supported their efforts — while pointing out that the “party” is as unfocused as supposedly are the Wall Street protesters. But probably no meaningful protest starts with talking points. In fact, not only liberal media but even a Forbes writer, who might be expected to be pro-Wall Street and anti-protests, has pointed out that the protesters’ ideas are more cohesive than the intellectually lazy (or dishonest) folks at Fox and on conservative blogs would have you believe.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I think public activism is generally a good thing even if it’s sometimes a bit messy. And the fact is, the Tea Party protests and the Wall Street protests are coming from the same place–frustration and anger among a populace that has been too often ignored by the powerful. I would point out that the “powerful” in this case include the media and corporatist Democrats.

No one can predict what, if anything, will happen as a result of the anger. But even if those in politics and the national media have failed to adequately notice, it’s been a long time coming. And as noted by the Los Angeles Times: “The only thing really surprising about the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it didn’t happen sooner. The United States has a long history of friction over policies that enable an elite to thrive at the expense of ordinary people.”

Next-day addition: Despite what the two groups have in common, it seems that Tea Partiers are less popular than the newcomers (though that may change–as one GOP candidate after another keeps proving, to know someone doesn’t necessarily mean to like them more). And the decreasingly relevant Tea Partiers. who should be seeking allies, seem to be saying “get off of my lawn.”

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8 Responses to “Wall Street protests: It’s about time”

  1. reuel said

    I do see similarity in the two TEA & OWS. The differences is clear though. Tea Party blames the Government and OWS blame Wall Street. They are both half right. The another is most in Tea party are leaning right while the OWS lean left. Then the mess you talk of is usually much worse after OWS gatherings. So how do we fix this country from both sides. Replace all 435 members of the house, 1/3 of the Senate and 1 from the White house in 2012. A bloodless revolution to show the world that blood shed is not the answer to all problems. The second thing would to separate Washington from the big money that pay for their elections and last Term limits. You sure do hate Fox News don’t you? I understand I watch some of the left stream media and they are to guilty of the same tactics as Fox. Yes both side report “news” that is slanted in with opinion from both sides.

    Things to watch in 2012; Just a little side bar after addressing the post intent.

    Arab Spring is going to turn in to a Middle East nightmare. The Saudis should be worried. The population of the world has reached pivot point and 7 Billion will start to become obvious to some not all. Incumbents from both side will be voted out.
    Barry will pick a female VP to run with. I now think it will be Congresswoman Wasserman/Schultz from Florida. She will fill the pit-bull requirements for a VP. Hillary will leave administration right after some big Mideast deal is done, but I might add big middle east deals have and never will remain in place. They just love to fight it out over there.

    Have a good day.

  2. James McPherson said

    “Replace all 435 members of the house, 1/3 of the Senate and 1 from the White house in 2012.”

    An intriguing thought, though it won’t come close to happening. The problem is that too many people hate Congress but love their Congressman. Or woman. My own Rep, Cardboard Cutout Cathy, will win in a landslide just because she’s the establishment Republican in a deeply red district. And I don’t see any GOP possibilities for unseating Obama, except maybe Romney–if he can get conservative Christians to come out to vote for him.

    “You sure do hate Fox News don’t you?”

    Yep. And I think we’d be better off without most of what passes for “news” on television.

    As for the presidential politics, I now think we’ll see Biden continue as VP (though I wouldn’t be shocked by a switch, especially if Republicans stop doing their best to ensure another Obama term).

    Thanks; have a good weekend.

  3. Reuel said

    I changed my thoughts on the OWS. They are starting to crank up the lawlessness at these rallies and all the extremes from the left are really getting more involved. I was bored so I traveled to one of these OWS gatherings and observed some very disturbing behavior. I have been to many Tea Party Rallies and I know Tea Party and this OWS is no Tea Party. This group of hippies have destroyed property, raised city cost for enforcement by Millions and some have not bathed in months which really could cause some real health issues for others in the area. Tea Party had to file for a permit and pay money, OWS had no permit and cost cities money. No this is just a distraction that the left is supporting and will lead to large loses again for the left in Washington and around the country in 2012. No they are not the Tea Party, the Tea Party has a few wing-nuts, OWS has a few normal people.

  4. James McPherson said

    Interesting–your experience, and the ones highlighted by conservative talk radio types, have almost nothing in common with my own. I’d be interesting in hearing what “disturbing behavior” you personally witnessed.

    The OWS protests I’ve seen have been generally well-mannered, attended by a wide range of folks (including a few Tea Party supporters smart enough to recognize that Big Government and Big Business are opposite sides of the same coin). In my own city, many of the most active participants are the pastors of mainstream Protestant churches and members of their congregations.

    By the way, getting a “permit to protest” kind of contradicts the whole “anti-government” Tea Party’s pretend vibe, doesn’t it?

    I would agree that both the Tea Party and the OWS types have hangers-on and wingnuts; I don’t see those folks as the majority in either case. And I support what both are doing, as opposed to the typical lazy slobs who sit around and complain, regurgitating talking points from cable TV.

    And speaking of reactionary regurgitation–how are things going on that other site? I’ve been swamped and haven’t bothered to drop in for a few weeks, and find that I haven’t missed it. Thanks for coming by and commenting.

  5. Reuel said

    I flew to Boston 10/21 and took the train down to New York for the Weekend to visit some old friends, Our Regional Office is in Boston and they want me to move there with a promotion, which if I knew I would not of gone. Hate the NE Corridor. So on Monday I got a free lunch in Boston and explained that Boston was not my kind of town and flew back that night. Was a nice trip.

    Let just say I had to wear a mask and I do believe that most that are in New York City are quite possibly insane. Most of the sane ones must have moved on I would say. I agree the Tea Party getting a Permit would be against any anti-government group doing so, but the tea party people I know are not anti-government, they just want smaller government and less waste. Also the different is the age groups of the OWS VS the Tea Party. Most in the tea party that I have meet are mid 40’s to 50’s. Most of what I saw in NYC last weekend were barely legal to 30. with a few old hippies still left over for the Vietnam era.It smelled like many things Pot, funky body order, Human waste, should I go on? I stayed very briefly and took a very hot shower and threw away all the clothes.. I know the area you are is a little more quiet than New York, in fact Seattle is one of my daughter’s and I’s favor cities. I plan to visit Chicago this weekend and I shall give you a report from that experience. It is my usual before the winter train ride to visit the city. I am not expecting the same as NYC, hopefully less SMELL. The signs and people you see on NBC, CBS, ABC are rare, must of been staged or selective reporting as yes Fox News does at times. So as a synopsis, the NYC OWS is AstroTurf and is quite possibly a health hazard. Anyone calling that group regular disgruntle Americans would be spinning a LOT.

    The Site has a changed Web format, still some of the same people, lots of paranoids of course, I go three rant and leave. Some do just copy paste remarks they heard, I prefer to just free lance it. Oh they added a button that they are looking for some writers? Interested. LOL. Have a good day and don’t eat anything Elk from the Hanford site.

  6. Reuel said

    Chicago OWS was less smelly but still had the usual looked like professional protester look to them. Rahm has made them go somewhere at night though they are not allow to sleep where every they want. My guess is he is putting them all up in hotels. Who know. I understand their griefs, but just don’t understand the local official not condemning some of their behavior. Comparing this to Tea Party Rallies are delusional. I am heading out hopefully Thursday night to go to the rally in Washington by Vets of impeachment of Barry. No I don’t want him impeached for citizenship, just that he is guilty of everything he accused President Bush of doing. “Lying”.

    Have a good Turkey day. I shall be going to Florida for a break from work and blog sites. Second grandchild is due any moment now.

  7. James McPherson said

    If simple lying were impeachable, no president would complete his term, right? Did you favor the impeachment of Bush?

    I wouldn’t want to be taken for a birther (will you tell ’em that you’re not a true believer?), and I predict that fewer will show up for the rally than attended the on-campus speech I attended last night, but have a good time. More importantly, I hope all goes well with the grandchild–our second turns 3 in February. I hope yours and ours grow up to be wiser than their grandparents.

  8. Reuel said

    I am just hoping our Grandchildren will get a chance to grow up. President Barry is very close to wagging the dog as Clinton before him. Iran/China and Russia are the ones that navigated that drone down. They have been trying to take control of them for years and I do believe they have had success. So let me guess what they will do with the next one they take control of, It will be something that will be blamed on us is just a guess. See these drones don’t just go down like that. They are suppose to crash and do a massive disc clean-up like you do on your computer but cleaner. Then the only thing they get is a fried bunch of electronic parts.

    I still disagree that President Bush did in fact lie about Iraq, I think the leading intellect at the time all believed it. Then the Democrats ran with it for the 2006 take back congress ploy. It worked. Then they did nothing but investigated his administration for two years because they needed a weak country to bring Hillary to the White House. That one didn’t work they got a loner that is only interest in his own well being that can read like a real actor. Don’t misunderstand that I supported the Iraq freedom thing, I did not and even told him so. But when our troops hit the ground right or wrong, we must not second guess or are foes will use it to their advantage. See Iran, and others I care not to say were feeding the fire while we were there, same as Afghanistan I would not of sent one ground vehicle in to there either. Osama purpose was to bankrupt us. It worked. So see it is a little more difficult for me to just except the “Bush Lied and People Died” mantra from the left. The world is to complex for Barry and he has no idea what he is doing. Hope he stays out of Syria.

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