There has been no shortage of media confusion in DC this week regarding the OccupyDC and October2011 Stop The Machine actions. I got into a conversation yesterday with a reporter from a local television station who was interviewing people at OccupyDC, she seemed to genuinely want to understand the difference. I pointed out that it seemed like very few members of the Mainstream Media had bothered to check the websites for the two groups which would clarify quite a lot.
Isn’t this sort of like the opposite of the Tea Party, she wondered. I pointed out that these movements represented people who were out of work, had lost their homes, had no health insurance, and wanted an end to militarism without end and the number of people impacted by those issues is a lot larger than the number of people who identify with the Tea Party.
But the most idiotic media confusion in DC this week has been who was where. It wasn’t so complicated–OccupyDC at McPherson Square, Stop The Machine at Freedom Plaza. Yet in Sunday morning’s Washington Post, with OccupyDC at McPherson for over a week and Stop The Machine in place since Thursday, the caption writer for this photo still got it wrong.
And the headline–hello? It isn’t the same as the one used online, but, “The common man”? Really? Which century is this? They also apparently didn’t look at the photo which rather clearly shows the common woman.
With this kind of media, no wonder many people are confused about what is happening in the streets.
The best way to understand the movement that is taking root everywhere is to go find out for yourself. Yes, there is an Occupy near you.
Several people have said to me, oh it is just a bunch of kids. No, it is not. And it’s not just a bunch of hippie peaceniks either. It ranges from toddlers who are there with their parents (there was a little area with toys and crayons at OccupyDC yesterday) to elders with plenty of folks in between. I talked for a bit with a young man in an army uniform. It was very courageous for him to be there. He had been to Iraq once and was due to ship out again soon, but he said he wasn’t planning to re-deploy, what he had experienced on his first tour had made him realize that militarism was deeply flawed. He looked sad and wise beyond his years.
And do not underestimate the numbers, it isn’t just a hundred here and a thousand there, it is far, far larger than that.
This isn’t about one issue, it is about the American people connecting all the issues and finally saying enough. There are those who have criticized what is going on for not having a clear statement of purpose or intent. What they miss is that people everywhere have decided to take back the commons, and that is intention enough.
There is more to say, much more, the time I have spent on the street this last week has been transformative. I have re-connected with old friends, made new ones and for the first time in a long time felt genuine hope. Don’t be afraid, come out and join us.
Addenda: The amount of inaccurate reporting involving Occupy DC and Stop the Machine is becoming epic. Today the Washington Post reports that OccupyDC may stay in Freedom Plaza past the time time they have a permit. Sorry, wrong group. Yahoo News is now calling the pepper-spraying of protesters at the Air and Space Museum on Saturday a riot and ABCNews7 tweeted this morning that at least one person planned to stay past the permit time in Freedom Plaza although the article they linked to actually says a number of people plan to stay. And that is just today. The amount of media stupid when it comes to reporting what has transpired over the last week plus in DC is to the point where it is hard to see it as anything but deliberate.