The Unbiased Eye

A scientist's commentary on events and culture

The News Media Giveth; the News Media Taketh Away

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protesters relaxing

Protesters in the middle of the park on Liberty Street on Thursday

For better or worse, I am not dogmatic or partisan. I am loathe to join anything. I don’t choose sides or play on teams of any sort.

It just so happens that on current events I agree with the left on maybe 90% or more of all issues. I think that the right, as in John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, and Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, and Sarah Palin, would lead this country, and the entire world, into disaster.

But it’s not my team right or wrong. I’m not a true believer. I don’t like believers and I don’t trust ’em.

So now we have this media event struggling to win the attention of the media, and it’s right here, just a short walk from my home. From what I read at first, the protests Occupy Wall Street didn’t look interesting to me. It seemed to be just another political sideshow.

For the last couple years, the left has been shaken up by the way the Tea Party stole the protest show. I feel the same frustration. I believe the Tea Party is a bogus movement. When they first burst on the scene, I tried to figure out what happened. You can read my conclusion here, but the short version is that the Tea Party was a disparate collection of far-out fringe groups who found a unifying thread in President Obama’s race. Once they started making noise, some smart operatives in the Republican Party with substantial support from wealthy donors, got the message to the press.

Is this the left’s Tea Party moment?

I hope not. I think the Tea Party will be an embarrassment in years to come. I think it’s chimerical as a movement; and underneath its success is nothing but manipulation. I hope that left-leaning thinkers, and politicians, and operatives will find some way to stop this alarming drift to the kind of world imagined by Ayn Rand. The answer is not an equally imaginary movement.

Actually, I don’t think that OWS, as they are often referred to, will get to that stage. There’s no organization in the background to duplicate the the kind of manipulation that shaped the Tea Party. The decimated labor unions have enough trouble and few resources. Michael Moore is far from enough. The professional politicians in the Democratic Party seem to be running to the right to save their seats.

All that’s why I was intrigued by the video of the unused interview by Fox News of a Wall Street protestor named Jesse LaGreca, a poet from New York who has a day job. LaGreca made mincemeat of the Fox reporter in the short interview, and Fox never ran it in any form. (No one has ever called Fox unbiased.) But through the magic of the Web, you can see it from the New York Observer story and have a laugh at Fox’s expense.

It hardly surprises me that the television news people are dumb. They ask their producer’s questions, look deeply into the camera, and send the film in to the video editors who turn the footage into sound bites. But LaGreca was too slick. The only thing they could do was dump it.

I was so intrigued by LaGreca that I went downtown on Friday to see if the protest overall was as articulate. The big news media said no; some left-leaning writers said eloquent.

What I saw in the park on Liberty Street, a few blocks away from Wall Street, and around the corner from the rising World Trade Center, was maybe a thousand people, perhaps evenly divided into office workers on lunch break, tourists and gawkers and the protesters, most of whom were sitting around on the blankets they were sleeping on during this occupation. There were dancers and drummers on the Church Street side, and Harry Braun, a presidential candidate who focuses on the corporate oligarchy. A good number of the protesters were street people, who exist beyond the fringe. For old times sake there were a few people who were around in the magical 60s, sitting and talking, wearing T-shirts covered with slogans.

One of the themes emerging from the signs and the interviews about the protest is that 99% of the people have been disenfranchised by the corporations and the rich.

It’s obvious that this isn’t true. They haven’t been disenfranchised at all. They have the vote, and in most elections they are close to half the vote. All we have is the aggravating paradox of tens of millions of voters who vote against their own interest in order to save millionaires money. Maybe they’ve been fooled, but they haven’t lost their rights.

Capitalism is another target, with a bizarre thread demanding the abolition of the Federal Reserve system. Pure capitalism is every bit as untenable as pure socialism, on the surface for very different reasons, but fundamentally because of human nature. Our own hybrid version works most of the time, and in the long run. But sometimes things go a little crazy.

Like now. The balance of political power has tilted far too much in favor of giant corporations. This has happened before in our history and every time, we tumble headlong into disaster, the last of which was in the 1930s.

Jon Stewart and others have said it. The early Tea Party was as dopey as the Occupy Wall Street crowd. They were equally ignorable, but they weren’t ignored. They delivered a slick message about how the people despise Washington, government and politics.

I just can’t take any more shrill hype.


Written by theunbiasedeye

October 8, 2011 at 6:05 am

One Response

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  1. manonmona reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.


    October 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

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