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Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now”

Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now“.

To: Arthur S. Brisbane
Public Editor of the New York Times

I find it amazing that these pundits, looking at a crowd of people carrying signs, come away scratching their heads asking, “what specifically do OWS demonstrators want?”

The conspiratorial questions about “who is the leader, who is really behind it” also show how far out of touch, and indeed, clueless, these members of the chattering classes truly are.

Let me tackle the first part of Tim Kelly’s list:

Who are the protesters?

A few groups are here.

1. Old New Leftists, now part of the establishment, going once more unto the breach.
2. First-time protesters, most idealistic young people.
3. Ideological extremists (a small, but visible minority).
4. War veterans, now home and un- or under-employed.

Who are the leaders?

The internet is the leader. There is no person who can be described as leading the movement. Intellectually, the movement is led by Noam Chomsky, probably more than any one other living figure.

Who’s really behind all this?

Adbusters started it. I think it amazed them and has long since left their control.

Who’s going to pay for the cleanup?

Presumably this will fall primarily to municipalities.

What do they hope to accomplish?

Reducing wealth and income inequality.
Enhancing civil rights.
Holding the richest and most powerful to account.

What can citizens do to take part in the protests, or avoid them?

Really? A former newspaper editor has no idea how to Google about “occupy wall street” plus (name of town) and either go there or not go there?

What is happening inside the camps?

I have been to the Boston settlement twice and I have found it peaceful, clean and orderly, with many thought-provoking discussions, books, tracts, and signs.

This degree of confusion and inability to observe the plainly obvious makes me think that, as in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, that these wealthy pundits and apologists for the plutocratic class quoted above, see only that which they wish to see and nothing more.

Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy

See also: To: His Lordship, the Right Honorable Richard John Carew Chartres, Bishop of London Re: Occupy London

David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement

Regarding the Wall Street protests

7 November, 2011 Posted by | capitalism, civil rights, coverage, demonstration, economics, freedom, journalism, media, news, Occupy Wall Street, politics, press, protest, reporter, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement

David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement

Mr. Brooks, in “The Milquetoast Radicals” errs in describing the “core theme” of the Occupy Wall Street protests as “If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent.”

As proof, he offers a link to a pdf file allegedly from a 2004 issue of a Canadian left-wing magazine.

This is a straw man argument. It is so shallow because only Mr. Brooks is making this argument, falsely attributing it to Occupy Wall Street by guilt by association in order to make a facile refutation.

Then Mr. Brooks goes on to make a very deceptive and misleading analysis of proposals to tax the rich by considering only those individuals making one to ten million dollars per year and downplaying the supposed impact of increasing taxes on these individuals by ignoring all individuals making more than ten million dollars per year and by comparing the revenue gained not to the balancing effect on the yearly budget but rather to the total, historic, US debt. Mr. Brooks also ignores any discussion of the desirability and effectiveness of increasing corporate taxes and closing corporate loopholes.

Then while castigating the protestors as too extreme, he also attacks them as a “milquetoast” group whose “members’ ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average Rotary Club”

Mr. Brooks apparently has an axe to grind with the protesters; well and good. His dissent is welcome. But he should not engage in guilt by association or what appear to be outright falsehoods in making his case.

Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy

12 October, 2011 Posted by | David Brooks, demonstration, media, news, non-violence, Occupy Wall Street, protest, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Regarding the Wall Street protests

Dear Ms. Bellafante,

I read your article in the Sunday New York Times website with great interest:

Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim

It is a remarkable piece of right-wing propaganda masquerading as a news story.

You pretend to have had difficulty discerning what the message of the groups involved is.

Please allow me to summarize for you.

The message is that the USA is becoming more and more a plutocracy.

They decry that this growing economic inequality is accompanied by growing political inequality, the destruction of the middle class, and social and economic disenfranchisement of the poor.

They criticize, as you pointed out in a backhanded way, the doctrine of corporate citizenship, wherein corporations are given “rights” covalent with, and contrary to, the rights of citizens.

They point out the injustice of a legal system which mandates the judicial killing of a poor black man in the name of justice even though the evidence against him is largely now discredited.

If you were having trouble taking seriously the criticism of corporatism as antithetical to popular democracy, I suggest you read Prof. Joel Bakan’s “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power“.

As Robert Reich pointed out in his piece, “The Limping Middle Class” in the New York Times on September 3, 2011, the 5 percent of Americans with the highest incomes now account for 37 percent of all consumer purchases, according to research from Moody’s Analytics. As Reich noted,

“When so much income goes to the top, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy going without sinking ever more deeply into debt — which, as we’ve seen, ends badly… The economy won’t really bounce back until America’s surge toward inequality is reversed.”

Your article was not objective coverage. You made your lede not the “5 w’s and h” of a real news story. Instead you chose to focus on the most freakish and unbalanced participant, from the perspective of normative values, that you could find. Your entire piece was belittling and apparently intended to “otherize” and isolate the participants.

You seem to have the opposite idea of the duty of the news media from that articulated by former CBS News President and Edward R. Murrow producer Fred Friendly, “Our job is not to make up anyone’s mind, but to open minds — to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.”

Your article seems to have been deliberately constructed to belittle, to obscure the message, and to give people reasons not to think, and not to question authoritarianism and greed as organizing principles of society.

You made no mention of the shocking and illegal police-state tactics being used against these brave and principled, nonviolent protestors.

Shame on you, Ginia Bellafante. Shame, shame, shame.


Henry Edward Hardy
Somerville, MA, USA

PS This letter and your entire unedited response may be posted on my social media platforms and on my blog,

Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy

25 September, 2011 Posted by | media, news, politics, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments