Wall Street Protests

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 26, 2011

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-Read the excerpt below from Julia A. Seymour's Report posted on Oct. 20 at BusinessandMedia.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

…Socialists, communists and Marxists roam the Occupy Wall Street rallies, yet zero network news stories since the protests began used any of those three words to label protesters or their goals. Network reporters won’t even explain that protesters are calling for a revolutionary-style change.

Business & Media Institute analyzed 115 news reports, briefs and anchor reads that mentioned the Occupy protests. BMI found that only 6 percent (seven stories out of 115) have even mentioned the word “revolution” in stories about the protests. In one of those instances, the word was actually describing the violent Middle East uprisings that supposedly inspired the occupiers. The other mentions were in passing and none of the stories explained what “revolution” means to the occupiers. …..

According to former Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen 31 percent of the protesters “would support violence to advance their agenda,” he wrote in the Oct. 18 Wall Street Journal.

ABC, CBS and NBC network news stories have ignored this aspect of the protests, focusing instead on non-controversial things like ‘complimentary’ breakfasts and yoga. …

Yoga and libraries are much more innocuous to Americans than video of protesters waving signs that read: “Socialism is the alternative.” …..

In New York City, an Occupy Wall Street protester led the crowd in a screaming chant: “What do we want? Revolution! When do we want it? Now!,” according to video from the anti-American state-sponsored program Russia Today. One sign from that same protest declared: “A Job is a Right. Capitalism Doesn’t Work.”

Extremist Support for Occupy Wall Street [OWS]

The list of extremist groups that support OWS has grown to include the Socialist Party USA and The Nazi Party of America. In its view, the group is willing to partner with “open communists” to defeat who they called “judeo-capitalist banksters.”

Marchers at Occupy Chicago proudly carried red flags to show their support for communism, while one of them wore a CPUSA (Communist Party USA) t-shirt. But in the past month, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs have ignored such connections.

Fox Business senior correspondent Charles Gasparino wrote in The New York Post, “It’s not an overstatement to describe Zuccotti Park as New York’s Marxist epicenter.”

He described the scene at the park: “Flags with the iconic face of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara are everywhere; the only American flag I saw was hanging upside down. The ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade,’ and just about every piece of literature on offer (free or for sale) advocated socialism in the Marxist tradition as a cure-all for the inequalities of the American economic system.” …..

Protesters Don’t Want Jobs, They Want ‘Socialism’

Networks have interviewed some protesters with legitimate economic worries. Many are angry that the banks were bailed out, but they would likely [verbally] attack the banks rather than the government for doing the bailing. News programs have aired footage of protesters demanding to know “where are the jobs?”

But if the Occupy protesters were just upset about the very high unemployment rate, then why have people actually quit their jobs to go protest the banks? It would make sense for the long-term unemployed to protest the bad economy, but they aren’t the only ones in Zuccotti Park and in cities across the country.

[A few employed people who quit their jobs to join the protesters in New York were interviewed for news articles.]  Clearly, in those cases the greedy banks hadn’t stopped them from being employed yet each decided to quit their jobs at a time of prolonged 9.1 percent unemployment.

In fact, what many of the protesters want is not a fair shot at a job. Or even a job. They want to be paid regardless of whether they work or not and they want their “fair” share of the evil bankers’ profits. According to polling of the protesters, 85 percent are already employed.

An unofficial, user submitted list of demands revealed the socialistic utopian fantasy held by some proponents of Occupy Wall Street. Here are just a few of that person’s demands:

  • “…raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.”
  • “Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment”
  • “Free college education.”
  • “Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans!”

While that may sound farfetched such wishes are prevalent among the occupiers. Video interviews with protesters and speakers have called for the end of “money.” One girl who claimed to be one of “the 99” said “knowledge should be free.” In context, she meant that college should be free.

Comments from the Occupy Oakland protesters back this up. One woman said, “We’re here to build a movement for economic justice.” Later she clarified that meant “equitable distribution.” Another woman said she had no “sympathy for people with obscene amounts of money.” In her definition, anything more than $200,000 was obscene. She also called her landlord rich so “I say ‘Eat her.'”

Another anti-capitalist occupier called capitalism “A total bogus system based on slavery and genocide.”

The protesters are very willing to describe the socialist (or communist) system they want. They wear pictures of Marxist revolution Che Guevara on their shirts. But the networks so far, have been unwilling to admit that the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t simply a bunch of angry young people who want to hang out in a park and eat free food and do yoga. They want a radical change to the American political and economic system.

Questions

1.  What type of bias is the excerpt below an example of?

2.  Why do you think the news networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) chose not to inform viewers of the socialist/communist viewpoint of many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters?

3.  Do you think the political views of the protesters is an important part of the overall story?  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  The excerpt is an example of bias by omission, selection of stories, selection of sources, labeling.

2.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.

3.  Opinion question. Answers vary.