|All we have to fear is fear itself (none here).|
[Sep 28, updated through Oct 2.] Let's begin with a paragraph from the front page of today's New York Times: "As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge around the Globe":
- MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.
|It's gone global. New York Times front page .|
But. Wonder of wonders. Even as the Times covers the Arab Spring in its global aspect, it belittles the occurrence of this phenomenon in its own back yard. Times coverage to date has consisted of dismissive stories like this and this, "Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim" (9/23), by Gina Bellafonte, whose interviews with a few occupiers convince her that the "cause [of the occupation] . . . in specific terms, was virtually impossible to decipher."
|Photo accompanying the 9/27 Times OWS story|
Hosni Mubarak didn't want riots either. But he got them, as Peter Coy's story makes clear, because Egypt's ruling classes had created a nation where young people had no future. Mayor Bloomberg's riot-averse assertion is clearly informed by Coy's BloombergBusinessWeek story of last February, and Bloomberg, as founder of the Bloomberg financial news juggernaut that owns the magazine for which Coy writes, had certainly read it. Yet Bloomberg's assertion is problematic because it prohibits public protest while acknowledging the underlying fact of youth joblessness. Bloomberg concedes that young people have cause to be demonstrating. And he sees that OWS is part of a global phenomenon. The man is both defiant and afraid. Just so, the New York Times. Example: this 9/29 Times OWS story is told not from the perspective of occupiers, but from that of police. See the (bored) cop in the photo above. This Times bias can verified in the paper itself. Visit the Times' City Room section and, as of 10/1, you'll see far more OWS coverage in its Crime and Public Safety category than its Government and Politics category.
The paper, like the Mayor, is afraid.
|9/30: OSJ in the NYT: the hippie image|
That said, the Old Gray Lady is still covering OWS, old-media style, as a local physical demonstration [not an occupation] in Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan. But we live in a new media age. Public space is virtual, not just physical. Designed to use both kinds of space, OWS is getting major media coverage, national news coverage and global news coverage (Google News counts some 200 new stories daily). OWS is also generating hundreds of social networking sites and is triggering support demonstrations in 30 American cities alone. Time is running out on the Times' head-in-the-sand approach. Here's a sample of who's leaving the Time's in the dust:
- 10/2 Time Magazine "Occupy Wall Street: 700 arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge" As of 10:00am, the Times gives only a CityRoom account of this major development. As 10:30am it's the lead story at Drudge, which links to this Reuters account. Brilliant sign held by a demonstrator: "I won't believe a corporation is a person until Texas hangs one." Photo on the right is the photo of the year.
- 10/1 ABC News: "Occupy Wall Street" Protests Spread Across Country". How true is this? Just Google your own city. Every place I Googled comes up with something:
- Occuply Seattle
- Occupy Miami
- Occupy Dallas
- Occupy St. Louis
- Occupy New Haven
- Occupy Madison (WI)
- 9/30 "OccupationWallStreet only growing stronger", James Downie, Washington Post,
- 9/30 NYC Transit Union joins OccupyWallStreet, Matt Sledge, Huff Post NewYork. The Times appears not even to have mentioned this fact as of 10/1.
- 9/26 Thoughtful coverage in Richard Adams's "US Politics Live blog" in the Guardian (England).
- 9/26 Reuters. More thoughtful commentary. This time by Anthony DeRosa: "Don't dismiss the Wall Street Occupation"
- 9/25 long video of interview with Chris Hedges, sees OWS as "where the hope of America lies." Hedges is wordy here (he writes better than he speaks) and I have to roll somewhat with his flat-out rejection of our consumerist society, but he sure makes me think.
- Ongoing coverage in the local New York Indypendent
- Shout out to #occupywallstreet from Inagist (GreenPeace) with useful Twitter Updates
- 9/22. Background story Fiscal Times "Has America Lost the Future? Ask a College Grad"
figures show that employment among young adults is now at a dismal 55.3 percent, down from 67.3 percent in 2000 and the lowest since World War II. Nearly 1 in 5 of these young adults is at risk of living in poverty.
- 9/ 21. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) in the Manchester Guardian on "Why Occupy Wall Street Makes Sense"".
- 9/16. Free Republic "Radical Rage: Marxist Mob Plans to Occupy Wall Street"
- 8/21. Good background story: Joel Bakan, "The Kids are Not Alright
- 3/11. Time Magazine "Twilight of the Elites" Pretty perceptive. How online social networking is forcing society to rebuild itself from the bottom up.
More to come. I think the Times will now start shifting to catch-up mode. With dispatch.