America’s Media War on OWS

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November 19, 2011
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November 20, 2011

America’s Media War on OWS – Stephen Lendman
Early reporting was scant, dismissive, and offensive. Much still belittles, denigrates and marginalizes a significant movement.
Fox News claims protesters don’t pay taxes or know what they want, are supported by Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and Hugo Chavez, and represent the lunatic left wing.
Bill O’Reilly quipped, “Do we have all kinds of crackheads down there.” He added that Zuccotti Park is “dirty and filthy. There’s rats running all over. There’s dope all over the place. They’re having sex outside at night and all of this stuff.”
Fox News reporter Charles Gasparino accused protesters of embracing “communism and there is no doubt about it.”
New York Times former executive editor Bill Keller ignored global activism in a column about “good news,” asking, “Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street?”
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer called protesters “indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and English degrees (wanting to) “eat the rich.”
Despite occasional better reporting, much resembles Telegraph writer Nile Gardiner’s article about “the decline and fall of Occupy Wall Street,” saying:
It’s “been an act of desperation by the liberal Left, which now represents a small minority of Americans in terms of ideology. (It’s) descended into anarchy. (It’s) an anachronism, a wannabe 1960s-style protest movement in an America that has moved on.”
“And it is above all a symbol of a Left in decline amidst an increasingly conservative nation that has had enough of the kind of big government, anti-free market policies the liberal protesters crave.”
Gardiner’s right about one thing. Protesters want big government for the rich ended. They rage against privatizing profits, socializing losses, and trashing their rights for Wall Street and other corporate favorites. Other than that, he pathetically inverted truth. So do many others like him.
On November 15, Washington Post writers Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch headlined, “The Occupy movement: More trouble than change?” saying:
“The movement began as a protest of major economic and political issues, but lately the most divisive issue has become the protests themselves.” Nationwide “encampments….have become rife with problems of their own. There are sanitation hazards and drug overdoses, even occasional deaths and sexual assaults.”
Fact check
In hundreds of cities nationwide, OWS protesters represent direct democracy social activism. Except for occasional incidents common anywhere, they’re peaceful, unified, dignified, harmless, and resolute. As a result, baseless accusations vilify them.
In New York, OWS reported factually about one sexual assault incident. The perpetrator was arrested. “From the moment the incident was discovered to the present time, the survivor has been surrounded by a network of allies and trained advocates offering resources to provide emotional, medical, and legal support.”
OWS activists support her. They’re “saddened and angered (about) some members of the media and public,” blaming them and the survivor for the assault. Getting it right isn’t what major media do. Their specialties include distortion, misreporting and ball-faced lying.
“Is this an occupation or an infestation? City officials have long complained about the disruptiveness of Occupy Wall Streets, but in the past week, police officers began raiding encampments in the middle of the night, citing a public safety disaster.”
Fact check
Serving Wall Street, other corporate interests, and political Washington, rogue cops nationwide want OWS protesters intimidated, constrained, and if possible, silenced.
At issue isn’t public safety or other concerns. It’s serving wealth and power interests at the expense of beneficial social change. Heroically, OWS activists pursue it.
“Recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter,” including a shooting, a suicide, two drug overdoses, a molotov cocktail, a sexual assault, sanitation, a rat infestation, violating a noise ordinance, and more. “Democracy has rarely looked so messy.”
Fact check
Hyperbole, exaggeration, and fabrication substitute for accuracy and full disclosure. Whatever challenges entrenched power gets vilified, pilloried, and discredited.
OWS represents direct democracy. It’s entirely absent at federal, state and local levels. Protesters want it restored. After being evicted from New York’s Zuccotti Park, one activist walked through it with a sign reading, “Grand Reopening Under New Management.” There’s no turning back now.
Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin symbolizes America’s media depravity by promoting violence, mass murder, and vicious racial hatred of Palestinian Arabs. Nonetheless, disciplining and/or firing her’s not considered.
Her “Right Turn” columns appear regularly along with other extremist Post writers. On November 15, her latest article headlined, “Occupy movement deteriorates,” saying:
“The left-wing punditocracy’s fascination with the Occupy Wall Street and its progeny movements has declined in inverse proportion to the upswing in violence, mayhem and public filth stemming from those about whom the left was cooing only a couple of weeks ago.”
Fact check
Protesters nationwide are peaceful, law-abiding, model citizens. In contrast, goon squad cops assaulted them violently. Doing so violates constitutional and statute law. Verbal “filth” oozed from Rubin’s column. Truth was entirely absent.
“No more are the liberal pundits interesting (sic) in measuring the level of support for what they only weeks ago characterized as a genuine political movement. Ignored are reports of sexual assaults. No mention is made among the OWS cheerleaders of the latest effort to re-establish order in Oakland, Calif, and Burlington, Vt.”
“Funny how the left’s assertion that this was a grand political awakening has now gone down the memory hole….(L)eft-leaning elites tried mightily to ignore the instances of anti-Semitism, violence and fouling of public places. When that became impossible, they simply chose to ignore the whole disgusting mess.”
Fact check
Her comments lack truth and full disclosure. They feature hyperbole, hate, misreporting, and uncalled for pejoratives. Nor does she recognize real social, economic and political grievances. Why else would growing millions want change?
Thousands of nationwide OWS activists represent them. More join them daily. Rubin and others like her represent the malignancy that’s destroying America.
Shamefully, Washington Post editors put up with her. Its journalism fell from grace after Woodward and Bernstein’s heyday.
The New York Times also strayed from far June 13, 1971 when publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said Pentagon Paper secrets “had to be revealed….people had the right to know.”
Belatedly in 1996, The Times said “Johnson Administration (officials) systematically lied, not only to the public, but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendental national interest and significance.”
Today, basics substitute for muckraking exposes. Distortion, exaggeration, misreporting, and ball-faced lies replaced truth and full disclosure.
Journalists like HL Mencken, Charles Edward Russell, Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, IF Stone, and Helen Thomas aren’t welcome.
Rubin/Judith Miller types replaced them. Gutter journalism trash is featured. Everything wrong about America is highlighted. Managed news and commentary insures readers and television viewers know nothing.
Major media journalism always fell short. It’s hard imagining how much lower it can sink. Why else are growing numbers turning elsewhere for real news and information. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time until they all do.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.