The owners of Zuccotti Park in New York City, where the Occupy Wall Street mob has been camping, had been planning to clean up the filth deposited by the squatters today. This would have involved evicting Occupy Wall Street from the park, something the protesters denounced as “merely a pretext to evict them from where they’ve been camped for a month in protest over wealth distribution,” as reported by Fox News.
That’s a rather mild summary of the protesters’ position. Reuters quotes from the actual statement released by the protesters:
“Seems likely that this is their attempt to shut down #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) for good,” protesters said in a statement on Thursday. “We know where the real dirt is: on Wall Street … We won’t allow Bloomberg and the NYPD to foreclose our occupation. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.”
“I’m worried there is going to be a riot,” said Lauren DiGioia, 26, who has spent the past week at Zuccotti Park and is a member of Occupy Wall Street’s sanitation committee. “It is most definitely a ploy to get us out.”
(Emphasis mine.) Police and protesters were massing for a potentially violent showdown, but last night the protesters “scrubbed, mopped and picked up garbage at the corporate-owned park they have been occupying in an attempt to stave off the scheduled cleanup.” This morning, the deputy mayor of New York, Cas Holloway, announced that the owners of the park were sufficiently pleased with the results to postpone the eviction and cleansing operation:
Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park – Brookfield Properties – that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation.
Our position has been consistent throughout: the City’s role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers. Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation.
Assuming you’re willing to take the city’s statement at face value, rather than a craven attempt to avoid a confrontation with the protesters, then what you’ve got is a case of hard work to achieve a desired goal. The protesters were going to get kicked out, because they’ve turned the park into a bio-hazard zone; they worked all night to clean it up; as a result, the fumigation operation is postponed. Think the protesters will learn a valuable life lesson from this “teachable moment,” or will they go back to railing about all the free stuff they think they’re “entitled” to?
The mind reels at how the media would have reported this scenario if a Tea Party group was just getting around to cleaning up its garbage, in a frantic attempt to stave off eviction (or give the city a pretext for postponing an ugly confrontation) after squatting in a park for weeks. There would be headlines screaming CITY BACKS OFF PROPOSED EVICTION OF TEA PARTY MILITIA, FEARING VIOLENCE. Of course, Tea Party demonstrations were universally orderly, clean, and short, since the demonstrators were normal middle-class people with jobs they had to get back to.
You also have to marvel at how under-reported the ominous “this is an occupation, not a permitted picnic” declaration was. Rest assured that you would be hearing nothing else about the protests if the Tea Party had said something like that. In fact, after listening to the media shiver and moan about all that impending “Tea Party violence” that never actually happened, and all of the purportedly aggressive and militaristic conservative rhetoric that created a deadly “climate of heat,” it’s grimly amusing to note that the very name of this unruly, sporadically violent mob refers to military occupation… and the media can’t stop gushing about them.
Newsbusters produced a startling comparison of media coverage for the Tea Party and OWS:
“Most astoundingly,” notes Geoffrey Dickens of Newsbusters, “the networks’ Occupy Wall Street (OWS) stories were overwhelmingly sympathetic: Protesters and supporters of the movement dominated the soundbites, with 109 (87%) to just 8 critics (6%), with another 8 soundbites from neutral sources. Five of the eight soundbites unsympathetic to the protesters were brief clips of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain blasting the occupiers. In addition to the 109 pro-OWS soundbites, seven times guests on the Big Three network morning shows expressed sympathy for the protestors. No guests opposed the protests.”
He also observes that “While network reporters weren’t hesitant to describe the Tea Party as conservative, only once did a reporter attach even the ‘liberal’ label to the overtly leftist Wall Street protestors,” and mentions a Media Research Center study
Despite that heavily slanted saturation coverage, the Pew Research Center found that “just 7% [of Americans] city the Occupy Wall Street Protests as their top story,” and only 17% said they were following news about it closely. This is much lower than the 27% who said they followed the Tea Party movement closely during its early days… when coverage of the Tea Party amounted to only 7% of the news.
And yet, as liberals have been breathlessly telling each other, the OWS freak show gets higher popularity ratings than the Tea Party. According to a Time Magazine poll, “Fifty-four percent of respondents harbor a positive view of the burgeoning protest movement, well above the 23% with a negative opinion. By contrast, just 27% of those surveyed have favorable views of the Tea Party, while 65% say its impact on U.S. politics since its inception in 2009 has been negative or negligible.”
That is how media bias works: saturation slanted coverage designed to batter a largely disinterested public into shrugging and saying they think the sanitized media version of a tiny liberal protest might be making a few good points. The results can then be compared to polling numbers created by sporadic coverage of a vastly larger movement… coverage largely dedicated to dark speculation that the Tea Party could, at any moment, become what Occupy Wall Street is.
Update: CBS News reports that the “jubilant” Occupy Wall Street protesters promptly marched away from their freshly-scrubbed camp and got into a violent confrontation with police.