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TACOMA: Media need to Occupy Reality

Letter by Patrick Smyth, Puyallup on Oct. 13, 2011 at 11:18 am with 41 Comments »
October 13, 2011 1:56 pm

Journalists across the country have seemed to enjoy depicting the “Occupy” protesters on Wall Street and elsewhere as anti-capitalist college kids with no responsibilities or understanding of the “real world.”

As an employed, middle-class 31-year-old, I take great issue with the idea that only college kids or the unemployed can see the gross abuse of corporate power in our political system and daily lives and take action to make their feelings known. I am a proud member of Occupy Tacoma, whose members, by and large, are older than college kids.

The media, in their rush to establish a narrative, are further marginalizing a wide and diverse group of people who are protesting what they consider their systematic marginalization in the first place. How is that for a “narrative”?

Even without specific demands, leaders, or dogmatic adherence to any particular ideology, the Occupy Wall Street protests and their sister movements have inspired a tremendous number of Americans to make their voices heard. While we may not speak with one voice, we do stand together.

Hopefully the media coverage of these events will catch up with reality sooner than later.

Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. fbergford says:

    You kow what Occupy and the Tea Party have in common….they don’t like government bailouts!

  2. Right on! Yoou are so spot on! Many of those demonstrating do nt have a clue or even know what they are “Occupying” about!!!!

  3. SoCalPunk62 says:

    The politicians who bad-mouth these protestors do so at their own peril. It as though they have forgotten that these folks get to vote next year.

  4. You know what Occupy and the TEA Party don’t have in common?

    Freedom Works busses

  5. I have heard the mainstream media and some in a certain political party refer to the Occupy protesters as a mob. I say no, they are not a mob. I have heard their protesting referred to as class warfare. I say no, they are protesting the buying of our representatives by the one percenters. I say the class warfare has been waged by the one percenters against the rest of the 99% of the citizens increasingly for the last 13 years. If the representitives do not start representing the average people in this country soon, the representatives and the one percenters will be hoping to see more protesters instead of the MOB which will inevitably soon form to take back the government and the country.

  6. From an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released Wednesday:

    •37% of the country tends to support the movement; 18% oppose; 25% have no opinion. That’s more than those who say they support the Tea Party — just 26% say they support it, while 64% say they do not.

    The TEA Party leaders are on the media today trying to gleen something off the Occupy press. 64% of Americans don’t support the TEA Party.

  7. fbergford says:

    Who gives a sh*t about your polls! Instead of dividing people why don’t you take a look at what they have in common and go from there! Hmmm

  8. fberg…….truth gets to you….doesn’t it?

    I love Conservatives. They deny polls when polls don’t suit them.

    I guess Obama need not worry about that rating in the low 40s….huh?

  9. 23% don’t care what comes out of my mouth? I’ll live with that.


  10. LarryFine says:

    I, too, hope media coverage of these events will catch up with reality sooner than later. Seems so far they’ve been bending over backward to attempt to assign legitimacy to them … without much investigative journalism.
    heck, even Diane Sawyer’s fawning became apparent when she exclaimed…
    “Speaking of Wall Street, we thought we’d bring you up to date on those protesters, the Occupy Wall Street movement. As of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries — every continent but Ant…art…ica.


  11. The TEA Party isn’t getting enough attention, are they? Probably time for Armey and the Kochs to crank up the buses….

  12. concernedtacoma7 says:

    A couple hundred college kids too lazy to get a job or so full of piercings and blue/pink hair that they get laughed at by a potential employer. This is not a serious movement and the press is going overboard. They have celeb support showing up in limos and with gold/diamond teeeth. What a joke.

    They hate the rich, got it. Instead of whining, go make some money. Sitting in that park gets these kids what, exactly?

  13. olympicmtn says:

    Pat so you willl support the taxpayers who wish to protest the outrageous pay practices fraud and abuse of pierce county? I assume you support those that think getting $20,000 a year pay increases working 7 hour days while having no credntials and giving kick backs to firends and nonprofits is waste fraud and abuse too! Glad you support our agenda. And when your sole service provider for your iphone goes out and no other corporation networks data for your region you will be satisfied too, right? That is what communism supports one service operated without competition. My family has lived overseas and been in eastern germany and russia and knows how stagnet anti-capitalism destroys a society. All these anti wallstreet protesters have no clue what work and building a company takes. Instead they take the cowardly approach and blame others for their fate.

  14. LuckyCharm says:

    “A couple hundred college kids too lazy to get a job or so full of piercings and blue/pink hair that they get laughed at by a potential employer.”

    This is funny. No one would call me a “kid” anymore — hell, I never even get carded in a bar. :-( No blue or pink hair, or tattoos, although my earlobes are pierced. Would be working at my dream job if I hadn’t been disabled by the war. I am the 99%.

  15. Pacman33 says:

    “No one would call me a “kid” anymore — hell, I never even get carded in a bar. No blue or pink hair, or tattoos, although my earlobes are pierced.”

    Who cares?? I mean seriously. Don’t you have anything better to do than bore us to death? How about the urban camp out with the rest of the useless clutter of dirty strays?

    That is, unless, you’ve realized how foolish you appear protesting the banks and bailouts. The same bank bailouts you adamantly defended while calling the TEA party racists and teabaggers for protesting them. You could organize a few more astroturf volunteers @ $12-$16 per hour to reelect that corporate floozy Obama while participating Mindless Contradiction cCircus.

  16. A couple hundred college kids

    Counting is hard when it is much higher than your fingers……

    There are a couple hundred cities where the protests are happening.

  17. DC had @55 show up… it does count as a city though

  18. monmornQB says:

    To expect the media to occupy reality is hopeless. There is a unified message in these protest. Get money out of politics the way the founding fathers of our nation set it up to be. The media is part of the corporate machine that controls our political parties.
    When politicians are allowed to take bribes or as they like to call them campaing donations they no longer work for we the people, they work for their corporate puppet masters. Corporatism has eroded our free markets and the democratic process. It’s up to us as citizens to use our constituional rights to demand accountability. If we don’t hold the traitors in our own government accountable because our loyalties are to partisan lies we end up with what has been happening to our nation the last 50+ years. Both parties along with the corporations they work for are responsible for our economic woes and so is everyone that has chosen to look the other way instead of voting out the traitors in thier own parties.

  19. LarryFine says:

    “Counting is hard when it is much higher than your fingers……”

    So true…

    “…the Occupy Wall Street movement. As of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries — every continent but Ant___arc___tica.” Diane Sawyer
    “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii…” Barack Obama

  20. scooter6139 says:

    It’s OK beerboy, Larry and concerned don’t want to admit they don’t have a clue to what is going on in the Occupy movement. They don’t want to admit that there are tens of thousands of protesters every day around the good old USA. On the march days the numbers can get over 100k.

    But is is so much easier to belittle and denounce than read and comprehend what the Occupy movement is about. And lying is so much easier too. Keeps those pesky facts out of the way!

  21. Pacman33 says:

    “You know what Occupy and the Tea Party have in common….they don’t like government bailouts!”

    You know what’s different between the TEA party and Occupy Wall Street?:

    1) The TEA party was first, not some Johnny-come-latelies who crudely ridiculed the fist guys for protesting the same bank bailouts.
    2) Instead of OWS’s lambasting of nameless, faceless “bankers”, that work for a living, just for the sector they’re employed in. The TP had beef with the people who work for us that caused the need for, handed out and monitored the bailouts.
    3) OWS is a disorganized unruly mob of shiftless protesters that has been reinforced by union thugs and have almost no coherent ideas. The TP for two years now have stood firmly on principle and helped shape the political debate across this country.
    4) OWS has cost NYC taxpayers $1.9 million dollars. As an unintentional symbol for their appetite for other’s property, the blathering carcasses have seized a privately owned park/plaza. It was rendered an unsanitary squalor in a matter of a couple weeks. The TP went home at the end of the day and showered …. with soap …. and went to work the next day in order to pay the way those who are fortunate enough to have nothing else to do except draining public funds, hijacking and polluting private property and blathering principles of Communism.

  22. I’m wondering how many times LF is going to post Diane Sawyer’s quote before he comprehends what she said.

  23. Hey everyone, I’m glad to see a dialogue here, even if it’s completely opposed to everything I said. I understand the anger the Tea Party folks feel at how they were covered in the press because it was completely unfair. The same is true of the Occupy protests. Those of you who are opposed to the movement have your reasons, but I’d really encourage you to attend an Occupy Tacoma march or General Assembly meeting before you cement your views too deeply. The constant division and criticism of liberal/conservative viewpoints is what has kept things so unbalanced for so long. It’s a distraction and it seems we fall into it so easily. I hope to see each and every one of you some time in the very near future. We need to discuss our differences so we can begin to get past them. Good luck to you all!

  24. The TEA party was first. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA as if they invented protesting. I knew someone would say this sooner or later….LOL

    give a fool enough rope….

  25. The funniest part about the TEA Party is that they always find something wrong with others protesting and….oh…I’m being redundant

  26. Take the rhetoric from the Wisconsin labor protests and you have the Occupy rhetoric.

  27. olympicmtn you responded to me directly so I just want to answer you back. I’m not sure why you believe I’m preaching a communist message. To be clear, I’m not. I’m a believer in capitalism and in America. I feel our current attempts at public collaboration have been disasterous. I think the Occupy Wall Street and sister movements, if they are carfefully studied rather than dismissed out of hand, are very well intended and could find common cause with just about anyone who’s willing. How that relates to communism/socialism/lack of competitive balance is up to you decide but I don’t think it does.

  28. The TP for two years now have stood firmly on principle and helped shape the political debate across this country.


    Now, of course the TEA Party denied responsibility.

  29. http://www.citizenside.com/en/photos/politics/2011-09-24/43309/occupy-wall-street-march-turns-violent-in-new-york-city.html

    If you listen carefully the sound of “denied responsibility” is heard…

    Got what they wanted and still this…


    On a serious note… psmyth, these images are not helping the cause.

    But on a positive note, the Tea Party is still being accused of an incident that no proof exists despite the literally hundreds of cameras and microphones at the location. And for those entrepreneurially inclined, a “reward” of $100,000.00 was offered for said proof… no takers. The accuser even did a great Michael Jackson reverse moonwalk when he could not provide any proof of said incident.

    I’m sorry, I digress… not to worry psmyth, the media is providing all kind of excuses for the misbehavior and one went so far as to “hope for” a Kent State type incident to really burn this movement into the American consciousness… go figure… Al Sharton is hijacking your cause to “redistribute the wealth”… is that what you are for?

    I am trying to hear for your message but it’s not clear what you propose nor what you would like your outcome to be…

    You have the floor mr. psmyth, please articulate….

  30. Pacman33 says:

    “as if they invented protesting”

    Give a leftist two words and they will twist them both in order avoid the deep flaws behind their position. Some are pathetic enough to have a preloaded cartridge of contortion in the chamber. “Hey, What that over there?” –poof— only a trail of dust and the backside of a scrambling leftist remains.

    I’m sure that it is clear to all who possess an ounce of rational perception, that the “1st” was in reference to the order of the only two groups of protesters mentioned in my comment and also the referenced comment. The significance applies to the hypocrisy of the occupier’s actions.

    The carnival of human debris staggering around blurting nonsense about unicorn farts and the magnificence of Communism is a ridiculous scene in itself. When accompanied with their stance 1 1/2 years ago, bellowing insults and supporting the bank bailouts they now protest, is worthy of a standard issue riot baton massage,IMO.

    Enter Rich 1%’er celebrities that prove corporations Can be a person, the greedy corporate machine of the unions, who can bed a politician almost as well as Obama’s historic hookup with corporate contributors. Obama, the corporate floozy, received almost all of votes of the street urchins in 2008 and amazingly will again in 2012.

    Texting and Tweeting(c) the horrors of corporations on i-phones(c) and HP(c) PC’s bought with their CitiBank(c) CC and driving their Chevy(c)Volt to Starbucks(c) discussing the great advances the late Steve Jobs(1%) and Apple(c) made in the tech field. Denouncing “Voodoo Economics” and immediately follow with the purest ever description of “Trickle Down”, only the $ trickles down from the Government and it’s sad track record of spending wisdom. On and on with contradiction after hypocritical contradiction. It’s as if a Special Education field trip collided “nervous hospital” breakout.

  31. LarryFine says:

    Thanks for the direct response P. Smyth. I find that it perfectly illustrates what many people and pundits have pointed out… that “OWS movement” is really a disjointed conglomerate with no common theme.

  32. concernedtacoma7 says:

    NYC has millions of people. Given the unemployment rate in NY, you would imagine if they even got 10% of the unemployed to join their ‘movement’ there would be thousands. Instead you have a couple hundred college kids and professional protesters. Other cities have managed to muster a couple dozen people (and hit elevator buttons!!).

  33. xx98411, large groups of people will always produce bad apples. Anyone who’s been involved in a large movement would tell you that, including the Tea Party, the anti-war demonstrators of the 60’s, etc. I am not going to speak for anyone but myself. It seems contradictory to say that these images speak for Occupy Wall Street when you are making the point that media unfairly characterized the Tea Party. I agree the Tea Party was mischaracterized. Why wouldn’t they mischaracterize another group of disenfranchised Americans? I support capitalism. I don’t support unchecked capitalism. If your biases preclude you from being able to accept that there is a difference then we will agree to disagree.

    LarryFine, as you look back you will see that many movements started in very general terms without broad policy proposals. If these movements preserve, which remains to be seen in this case, people rise to the front, messages are articulated, demands are made. This is a protest against corporate excess. It’s a protest against government corruption. That is all it needs to be right now. Something I can tell you with absolute honesty is that Occupy movement is a truly democratic movement. Decisions are generally made by consensus….which takes a long time, as you might imagine. There is a lot more to come from the OWS protests. Again, if your mind is made up about these protests and protesters without ever engaging them head-on, then I won’t try to change your mind. I do feel you would be missing out on a tremendous opportunity to directly affect the role of government and corporations in our lives.

  34. psmyth – I should have seprated my message to you from the resident troll… my bad…

    This is a protest against corporate excess. It’s a protest against government corruption. That is all it needs to be right now.

    You have articulated in two sentences what you are against… can you please articulate what you are for.

    How do you propose to stop, limit, curtail, etc. corporate excess?

    How do you porpose to stop, limit, curtail, etc. government corruption?

    Why do you believe “that is all it needs to be right now”? Are you not concerned about others hijacking your message… Al Sharton, Donnie Douche, the Simmons dude, as well as others.. (unless they do articulate your message)


  35. xx98411, the point of a protest is to highlight what you are opposed to. Policy proposals take time and, as I said before, we are making these decisions largely by consensus. This is a social movement that is intended to move the public discourse in a different direction, which I think is happening. Please see these protests for yourself, talk to some of the members, learn their stories and I think you will find that you can relate to many of them. It’s very empowering to see so many people gathering to share their feelings, their hardship, and the collective triumph of a public that won’t be silenced.

  36. xx98411, the last thing I would say to address the “that is all it needs to be right now”? part of your question…why would a movement that is still growing, in fact rapidly growing, make demands when it has yet to identify the true needs of it’s constituency? Because new people are showing up literally by the hour, the list of grievances continues to grow, the needs of the group continue to multiply. Small movements can make small demands. Gigantic movements (hunderds of marches tomorrow worldwide) can make gigantic demands. I speak only for myself, not the movement, it just seems to be a good strategy.

    Thanks again for your curiosity, I hope I see you out there someday.

  37. psmyth – ok, then it is clear to me… you and you fellow protestors are protesting both “government corruption”(I did not ask if this was federal only or can I safely assume state and local as well) and “corporate excess”.

    The corporate excess appears to be clear…. Occupy wall street. I believe it is NY that a march on Chase will occur. Ok, got that message loud and clear… so when do you march on DC? Will you be marching on the White House? (Obama disapproval ratings hit a now high…. Or is it low… is that you guys? Got a beef with the Big O, how about Giethner, he was the NY Fed Chief when the bailout was issued?)

    Or will you be marching on the Capitol Building (now they have some crappy approval ratings, marching on them would be a duh!)

    Or for great effect both..? When you actually march on Washington DC, that will be a message to me that you are true to “your” word and consistent in “your” protest. Next thing I would be looking for is what does the 99% movement stand for and how do they plan to get there?

    …why would a movement that is still growing, in fact rapidly growing, make demands when it has yet to identify the true needs of it’s constituency?

    So that people like Al “lets redistribute the wealth” Sharpton, Donnie “’Kent State” type moment” Deutsch, the videos I posted above, the guy crapping on a police cruiser, etc… don’t become the initial focus nor images of your message of government and corporate corruption and excess.

    Your movement does itself no favors by having the behavior of a radical few capture the spotlight and define the movement. Some sort of cohesive message of unity, of principle, a mission, a value statement, something needs to fill that vacuum.

    Thanks for the info, I look forward to a cohesive, well-articulated message.

  38. “OWS movement” is really a disjointed conglomerate with no common theme.

    I think that is pretty accurate. There is a meta-theme: disgust with the Bank/Wall St. profits without jobs and the government collusion in this.

    Just as was true with the Tea Party (and to some extent, still true with the Tea Party) – there is an overarching idea that is fueling this but not a precisely defined one.

    The Occupy movement – without any identified leaders – is at an interesting place right now. There are more than a few Dems, Union, Michael Moore, etc, who would love to place themselves at the head of this leaderless phenomena. Without support it will be difficult for Occupy to continue and actually make an impact but, accepting support most often leads to co-optation.

  39. Without support it will be difficult for Occupy to continue and actually make an impact but, accepting support most often leads to co-optation.

    Without support…???
    Someone is buying them food…
    Someone is paying for the internet connections…
    Someone is organizing the internet campaign…
    Someone is administering the social media sites…
    Someone is setting up the “General Assembly meetings…
    Someone is providing formal training on organizing and process meetings…
    Someone is providing for the management of the crowd…
    Someone is organizing the response to city officials…
    Someone is providing the signs…
    Someone is coordinating, negotiating with local officials…
    Someone is coordinating with local groups
    Someone is coordinating with national groups
    Someone is coordinating with international groups
    “Someone” is supporting these groups…

    Ahh, no they have “support” the question is whether their message is sustainable as well as how they articulate that message…

    Too late, the group – adbusters.org started the campaign OccupyWallStreet on or about 13 July of this year by stating “A shift in revolutionary tactics”. In that “Tactical Briefing” they stated…

    The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

    On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

    What has happened and what you see happening has been planned for a while. And with that planning comes a group of people, that group of people form some type of organization, that organization requires administration, management, logistics, hierarchy (someone is in charge to be effective over a period of time whether by a singular person or a rotating role… “someone” is in charge)

    Co-opted – too late… it happened… is happening and will completely happen in the near future…

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