First of all, I should and will stipulate that any legitimate aid and comfort to victims of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy those affiliated with the Occupy Movement are providing is noble.
That said, Meghan Barr’s report at the Associated Press on their efforts is so absurdly fawning that it insults the thousands of others volunteering with private charities who are providing assistance on a meaningful and likely much more effective scale.
When last seen here in September (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). Ms. Barr was fondly reminiscing about the wonders of what Occupy Wall Street and similar enterprises in other cities had allegedly accomplished since their formation a year earlier, while conveniently ignoring the murders and other crimes committed at Occupy sites, their horridly dangerous lack of hygiene, and their clearly net negative impact on communities in the immediate area.
Today, Ms. Barr took the efforts of a very few (she wouldn’t tell us how many) and turned it into some kind of unique, unprecedented effort, while of course presenting a romantic history of the deeply flawed movement:
OCCUPY SANDY: ONETIME PROTESTERS FIND NEW CAUSE
The social media savvy that helped Occupy Wall Street protesters create a grass-roots global movement last year is proving to be a strength in the wake of Superstorm Sandy as members and organizers of the group fan out across New York to deliver aid including hot meals, medicine and blankets.
… Occupy Wall Street was born in late 2011 in a lower Manhattan plaza called Zuccotti Park, with a handful of protesters pitching tents and vowing to stay put until world leaders offered a fair share to the “99 percent” who don’t control the globe’s wealth.
The world heard the cry as that camp grew and inspired other ones around the globe. Ultimately, though, the movement collapsed under its leaderless format, and Occupy became largely forgotten. But core members, and a spirit, have persisted and found a new cause in Occupy Sandy.
It started at St. Jacobi Church in Brooklyn the day after the storm, where Occupiers set up a base of operations and used social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.
There is a sense of camaraderie reminiscent of Zuccotti, as young people with scruffy beards and walkie-talkies plan the day’s activities. Donations come in by the truckload and are sorted in the basement, which looks like a clearinghouse for every household product imaginable, from canned soup and dog food to duvet covers.
“This is young people making history,” said Mark Naison, a professor at Fordham University who has been studying Occupy Wall Street. “Young people who are refusing to let people suffer without putting themselves on the line to do something about it.”
Now the group has dozens of relief centers across the city and a stream of volunteers who are shuttled out to the most desperate areas. It is partnering with local community and volunteer organizations.
Mr. Naison cannot be serious — or if he is, he’ll hopefully change his mind about the group “making history” when he reads the following paragraph I found at Catholic News Agency in about three minutes of searching:
Catholic Charities of Camden has opened two disaster aid distribution points on the grounds of Catholic parishes, which have provided over 1,100 people with food, water, water filters and cleaning supplies.
That’s just one agency in one relatively small place, surely with a number of “young people” involved, operating on a scale which surely dwarfs what Occupy is doing.
It doesn’t seem possible, but Barr’s report gets worse:
Is this Occupy Wall Street’s finest hour? In the church basement, Carrie Morris paused from folding blankets into garbage bags and smiled at the idea.
“We always had mutual aid going on,” she said. “It’s a big part of what we do. That’s the idea, to help each other. And we want to serve as a model for the larger society that, you know, everybody should be doing this.”
Seriously, it’s as if the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and so many other organizations in “the larger society” don’t even exist. What an insult it is that she devoted hundreds of words to Occupy while virtually ignoring and not naming them.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.