While the reason for the Fox News network and other right wing-leaning media not giving any attention to the left-leaning protest is obvious, why the centrist news outlets, such as the New York Times and Boston Globe, opted out from the coverage is puzzling.
Even National Public Radio had no coverage of the protest until not covering the protest became news in itself. NPR senior political analyst Cokie Roberts and New York Times pundit Ginia Belfante didn’t believe the protest would be sustained, as it supposedly lacked a clear direction and sizable number.
Is that so? Then why did the tea party protest, also started with a handful of people and vague anger against the government over a year ago, get covered as if it were a velvet revolution?
The Fox network not only made the tea party its centerpiece news month after month, it also promoted the protest rally.
Although it’s hard to tell why the NY Times and NPR opted out from the coverage, maybe they were trying to avoid blame for overplaying the news.
After the Sept. 11 attack and President George W. Bush’s “You’re with us or against us” warning to the world, the so-called centrist-liberal media was engaged in a similar self-censorship practice, which gave a blind eye to Bush’s going-to-war mischief. It probably isn’t necessary to remind you what that did to the country and America’s global image.
Democracy is in danger when one group of media opposes something for an ideological
reason and the rest of the media keeps quiet out of fear.
But now that Occupy Wall Street is apparently news, the highly paid cable and network celebrity analysts and pundits are scrambling to come up with their own interpretations of what it is all about.
Let’s stop guessing. When people in more than 20 cities in the country are speaking loudly for over a month, joined by people in 82 countries around the world, you can’t call it anything but a movement. Although whether that translates into changing the country’s direction through the ballot box, where it really matters, is yet to be seen.
No question, if you ask protesters what the protest is all about, you might get a different answer — jobs, the environment, lack of transparency in the government, a culture of corruption, corporate greed and growing economic disparity.
But I don’t see these complaints as incoherent demands — each of the elements within the demand is connected to one narrative: 99 percent.
The government can’t sacrifice 99 percent to keep making 1 percent of the population richer.
It’s important to note that the public anger manifested through these demands is not only the grievances of those protesters — they also represent the silent majority, who have given up on government after being ignored for far too long.
Unlike some, I don’t believe the protest against Wall Street is against capitalism or free market principles. Rather, it is against the oligarchs pretending to be free-marketers — people who have shut out the public from any meaningful influence in the government.
This protest is all about stopping the government from being the government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.
These protesters are true believers in capitalism, people who would like to see the shareholders, the real risk-takers, be rewarded for their enterprise, not the executives who manage companies for a short time and walk away with millions of dollars to join the
“1 percent” rank.
The concentration of wealth in 1 percent’s hand is not because the system rewards those who take risks with their money. If that were true, the real stockholders, the teachers, state employees and the various union workers and municipalities, who are the principal investors in many of the corporations through their pension plans, would be rich today. In reality, those who control the most wealth have accumulated that money on the back of the real shareholders they pretend to speak for.
They have been able to do so by employing ex-government officials as lobbyists, buying off politicians and recruiting their own in policymaking bodies of the government. That’s what these protesters want to change.
• Roger Adhikari is a finance professional who works in Dublin.