Coverage Of Wall Street Protests Protested
TV and press coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest was being criticized by commentators on both the right and left Tuesday. On the CNSNews website, a unit of Brent Bozell's conservative Media Research Center, Bozell said today (Wednesday) that "Journalists who desperately want Obama's reelection are grasping at the narrative of a growing liberal protest movement to mobilize the left into action against the Republicans." Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, said, "The leftist media seemingly cheers for a group of lawbreaking miscreants." On the conservative blog NewsBusters.com, Julia A. Seymour maintained that the "liberal national news media" have failed to disclose "the radical leftist underpinnings of the movement" and cited a study by the Business & Media Institute that found that of 25 network broadcast reports on the protests, not one "used any of the following words to describe the protests or protesters liberal, left-wing, radical, extreme, communist, socialist, anarchist, revolutionary or progressive." (Seymour is listed on the BMI's website as its "assistant editor/analyst.") On the other hand, liberal Columbia University journalism professor Todd Gitlin was quoted by the Poynter journalism school website as saying that TV coverage has "focused on the outcasts, framed the movement as a crime story and deferred to authorities while doubting the legitimacy of the protesters." Gitlin charged that the media is doing nothing to refute the characterization of the protesters as socialists, hippies, and crackpots and members of mobs. "Of course there are other people who want to abolish the Fed and abolish capitalism. But that's a tiny proportion of people in this movement.," Gitlin said. And Los Angeles Times media columnist James Rainey observed that the "media have a history of getting mass social movements wrong." The problem, he said, is "How do you adequately take the temperature of a crowd of hundreds or even thousands?" Perhaps, he suggested, "the most courageous story is the one that says I haven't seen this before. I'm not sure what it means. I don't have a clue where it is going."