The Media: Still Not Getting #OWS

The problem is a persistant one. There is a grand symmetry to all of our politics. Any action falls onto one side, and given enough time and interest, there will be a mirror equivalent on the other side. These last few weeks, the main stream media has been trying very hard to wedge the Occupy Wall Street movement into this false narrative. There has to be a "right wing" equivalent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, right?! The obvious candidate is the Fox News/Koch Brothers/Glenn Beck creation called the Tea Party. This small, angry, well-funded kernel of misplaced anger has been held up by countless news outlets as the obvious point of comparison to the much less wealthy, but hugely popular, #OWS movement. Now they look very similar on the news, but that has more to do with how they're covered than what the actual participants have to say about their own politics.

Dave Wiegel's venn diagram on Slate.com innocently asks the question "can they just get along?" It seems rather likely, based on the overlapping area, that the two movements could get along. My experiences with #OWS and what I have read and seen about the Tea Party confirms these overlapping interests. I've seen a few Ron Paul supporters, they certainly are no fan of the bail outs or Ben Bernanke and they use social networking.

But beyond this very shallow image of both groups, you see very radically different political actions. While the Tea Party is largely funded by 501(c)4 organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the Occupy Movements have tried to keep an arm's distance from MoveOn and similar "left wing" action committees. A brief search of the OccupyWallSt.org forums will confirm this.

I don't understand the comparison of Naomi Klein to Ayn Rand. Let me know when The Klein institute is giving away annual scholarships to high school essay writers, or when the there is a movie trilogy based on the Shock Doctrine. Also, let me know when objectivism describes anything close to reality.

Don't you dare compare Howard Zinn to Amity Shales. That's all I'm going to say about that.

But more seriously, look at how the movements are organized, look at how they get their points across, look at what they are actually saying.The Tea Party would organize a three hour rally of 50 people in front of a town hall, sit in lawn chiars, and then go home. There are hundreds of people sleeping in a park for over a month, facing the brutal beatings of a bought and sold police force for the cause of justice. Notice the Tea Party always demanded their America back, while the 99ers have constantly reiterated that they are fighting on behalf of the working poor who cannot get arrested or even dedicate an afternoon to marching, for fear of loosing the meager employment they could find. It is a disservice to the veterans that have been beaten, the young students that are arbitrarily pepper sprayed, and the thousands of people who have been arrested in the name of justice and equality; to compare them to the masses of intentionally misinformed senior citizens that show up to Glenn Beck shows, worried that the government will take over their medicare. 

Wiegel and other reporters seem to be covering their own coverage, and then sitting back and admiring how well everything fits together. In reality, they have shoe-horned two radically different groups into a single narrative, just for the sake of perpetuating the media's strange additction to symmetrical story telling. The Tea Party is a hyjacked astroturf campaign based on manipulating an intentionally misinformed public. The Occupy Wall Street movement is... well, a long time coming.