Yes, they have a message. They have a point. The trouble the mainstream media struggles with is that it’s a complex message with more than one point. Unlike the one-note Tea Party message of Obama-hate, the OWS protesters have a wide variety of opinions and points to make about how our nation and our economy is dysfunctional for the majority of Americans, the 99%. And it’s all genuine.
From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
I don’t purport to speak for anyone but myself here, although I spent time this weekend at Occupy Wall Street and my husband spent much of last week adding his voice to the protesters there. I saw an incredible array of people that defy any simple demographic characterization and a broad range of signs that made—imagine!—more than a single point. But if I may hazard an opinion, it would be this: One of the most fatuous themes of mainstream OWS coverage is the endless loop of media bafflement at this movement that doesn’t have a message. Here’s CNN’s Erin Burnett in a classic put-down of the OWS’ refusal to tailor its message to her. It takes a walloping amount of willful cluelessness to look at a mass of people holding up signs and claim that they have no message.
The ADD of the mainstream media, our dumbed down press corps, is shocking. What the OWS folks don’t have is a marketing team from Americans for Prosperity tailoring a slick message for our lazy-ass press corps. When real people tackle real issues, it’s bound to be messier than you might be used to. But to then claim there is “no message,” is the height of idiocy.
Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message. It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another.
This makes it a much, much, much smarter movement than we’ve seen in many years. The media has had it easy for a number of years now. They were not challenge by (and did not challenge) the status quo. But this movement is an upheaval in the status quo unlike the Tea Party which was a reactionary response to change and to the election of an African-American President. The Tea Party wanted to land back in the 1950s. With OWS, where things will land is still anyone’s guess. The journalist who figures this out and can build and articulate the complex and intricate narrative stream of OWS will no doubt stand tall before the Pulitzer committee in 2012. I don’t know who that might be, but I guarantee they won’t be from Fox News!