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#OccupyWallStreet vs. The Tea Party

I am a big supporter of the #OccupyWallStreet protests that most of the media isn’t talking about. Recently, I read an article in the New York Times by Ginia Bellafante in which she criticizes the movement and attempts to justify the lack of media coverage with a lack of credibility on the part of the #OccupyWallStreet movement.

Her criticisms are that the protests aren’t really that large,  individual protesters have individual issues, and that there isn’t a focused goal. This is allegedly why most of the major media hasn’t covered the more than a week long on going protest.

According to the article, the protest actually only had several hundred people, not the 2000 that was being promoted by the group. Well, considering that over one hundred people were actually arrested and the protests still had plenty of people left, it seems that several hundred just might mean 20 hundred or for the math people out there, 2000. But let’s take her number for the sake of argument and say “several hundred.” The fact that a handful of Tea Party protesters were able to get massive news coverage shows just how odd it is that a protest that has been going on for over a week with “several hundred” people gets very little to no media coverage. Could you imagine the news coverage if several hundred Teabaggers were protesting somewhere?

It seems to me that the protests center around that fact that Wall Street has destroyed our economy by buying politicians to make rules that allow them to risk tax payer money with no down side risk to themselves. Now there are a number of elements involved. You have Wall Street greed, the buying of politicians, government corruption, poor regulations, out of control gambling on the part of Wall Street speculators, the wealth gap between rich and poor, the high unemployment rate, etc. But all of these things are interconnected. Sure there are going to be a few wackos complaining about the New World Order or the Federal Reserve, but even these wacky people are discussing related issues.

How focused was the Tea Party in comparison? People who showed up to those rallies were protesting government spending, Wall Street bailouts, government “take over” of health insurance, social security, illegal immigrants, taking prayer out of schools, abortion, Hollywood, gays, Obama’s birth certificate, Obama being black, and even the New World Order and the Federal Reserve. They didn’t seem all that focused either and were in fact much less focused than the Occupy Wall Street protests. The media covered it as general frustration.

What are their demands? Occupy Wall Street could be better with this admittedly. I think they should come out with a list of viable and credible demands. Such a list might include forcing Wall Street to pay back the bailout (like the auto industry had to do), stronger regulations on the financial district, stronger campaign finance laws, an amendment reversing the Citizens United decision, criminal prosecutions for particular CEOs who broke the law, etc.  But what were the demands of the Tea Party? Hang Obama from a tree? Seriously, did they have any demands?

Ten years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of a media blackout ordered from corporate interests, but after Cenk quite MSNBC because of the conversation they had with him to tone down the criticisms on Washington and Wall Street, I have realized that there really is something to this type of top-down media control. Sure we all know Fox News does this kind of thing, but MSNBC? Plus, CNN partnered with the Tea Party to host a debate. Don’t get me wrong though, I think ratings are still important to these news stations, but every once in awhile there does seem to be some decisions made by corporate which are questionable.

How many Tea Party protests went on for longer than a few hours? This is a protest that has gone on for over a week and was largely peaceful despite unprovoked police brutality. Politicians had to find obscure laws that haven’t been used in over 150 years to justify some of the early arrests. Few if any of the #OccupyWallStreet protest signs have misspellings. No one is saying anything racists and few if anyone are saying anything even remotely controversial. These are generally well educated people. I guess the media only covers stupid clowns running around yelling racial slurs.

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