March 18, 2012

AP Assigns Seven to Occupy Movement’s Six-Month Anniversary, Omits Crime, All Other Negative Items, Obama’s Endorsement

OWSgeneralStrikeSymbol05012012In what may be the most obvious over-employment of journalistic resources since the Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to review Sarah Palin’s book in late 2009, seven journalists with the AP (yep, again) worked up a Friday afternoon item (saved here for future reference, fair use, discussion and embarrassment purposes) entitled “6 months later, what has Occupy protest achieved?”

Primary writer Meghan Barr, along with “Jeff Martin in Atlanta, Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia, Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y., Erika Niedowski and David Klepper in Providence, R.I., and News Researcher Julie Reed in New York,” recited an embarrassing, paper-thin list of accomplishments. They also completely avoided what most of the nation likely sees as the movement’s primary achievement, despite the press’s attempts to minimize and cover it up: showing us what the world might very well look like if the movement’s leaders and primary instigators ever got their way — ugly, dangerous, and filthy. Here is the complete list of key accomplishments the seven AP personnel cited (my comments in italics):

The movement has lost steam in recent months, with media attention and donations dropping off as Occupy encampments across the country were dismantled, some by force. (force usually necessitated when Occupiers wouldn’t obey lawful orders to vacate)

Some achievements that can be connected to the efforts of the Occupy movement, and some plans for the near future:

In Albany, N.Y., Occupy protesters dubbed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo “Gov. 1 Percent” for his refusal since the 2010 campaign to agree to a millionaire tax, and because his major campaign financial support comes from corporate executives.

… In a surprise, Cuomo reversed his position on the millionaire tax in December to avoid further cuts to schools and health care. (As if Cuomo is the first politician to change his mind about raising taxes)

An Atlanta pastor, whose church struggled to pay its bills after its building was struck by a 2008 tornado, credits Occupy Atlanta with helping it to avoid foreclosure. …

… In Rhode Island, Occupy Providence pushed for – and won – a temporary day center to serve the homeless during the winter. Protesters made the center’s opening a condition of their departure from a public park downtown, where they had camped against the city’s wishes for more than three months.

While the city didn’t fund the center, officials pledged to help its operator, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, find money for it.

… Also in Rhode Island, the state’s junior U.S. senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, introduced a bill in November to crack down on high credit card interest rates – the same week he visited the Providence encampment.

… Whitehouse had introduced similar legislation a year earlier. (So Occupy wants to claim credit for a reintroduced bill? Wow, I bow before your movement’s awesome power)

Occupy protesters helped save an Iraq war veteran’s home from foreclosure in Atlanta, the Huffington Post reported. “I strongly believe Occupy Atlanta accelerated the process and helped save my home,” Brigitte Walker, whose home activists began occupying Dec. 6, told the website.

Occupy Minneapolis also worked with community organizers to help a former Marine who faced eviction from his home strike a deal with his bank, the Post reported.

Seriously, that’s all six reporters and a news researcher could find positive about the Occupiers in the entire country during six months: three eviction/foreclosure avoidances, a reintroduced bill, a forced opening through intimidation of a homeless shelter, and a supposedly influenced tax increase by a Democratic Governor who has rarely met a tax he didn’t like.

As to “accomplishments” relating to political involvement, the AP cites one guy running for State Senate in Maine and another running for Congress as … wait for it … a write-in candidate.

I thought I’d seen the worst examples of under-accomplishment when I chronicled how little ACORN did in areas other the creating fraudulent voter registrations back in 2009. I was wrong; yet this is where AP squandered 950 unskeptical words.

But getting back to the movement’s main accomplishment — as noted earlier, it has been to show us what the world might very well look like if the movement’s leaders and primary instigators ever got their way — here is what the Occupiers have wrought, per compilations at the indispensable OWSexposed.com with the assistance of PunditPress:

OccupyMovementCosts020712

For what it’s worth, I believe the final three items relating to cost are vastly understated. The identified costs to taxpayers of Occupy Oakland alone have amounted to $3.7 million. The temporarily successful attempts by Occupiers in that city to shut down the Port of Oakland probably cost $10 million in lost business by itself before even considering the hits to commerce taken by merchants across the country in areas where the Occupy protests took place.

But none of this was of any interest to the AP 7. But what do you expect from an outfit whose trade union, the News Media Guild, along with others in the media, heartily endorsed the Occupy Movement?

Speaking of endorsements, the AP 7 also missed a big one, even beyond the unions, trendy Hollywood types, and opportunistic politicians. President Barack Obama also endorsed the movement (proof hereherehere, and here), and owns it until he formally repudiates it.

Finally, when you think the report can’t sink any further, it does. The AP 7 tell us that the Occupy Movement plans “a global day of ‘economic disruption’ on May 1″ and weekly thereafter, and doesn’t tell us the significance of that date (i.e., that it’s May Day), even though the Occupy Wall Street site does.

If there’s a worse example of journalism this year by a major establishment press outlet, I really don’t want to have to read it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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