On Thursday, two months into the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters turned out en masse in New York, Los Angeles and other flash points around the country to continue their call for financial reform and to make a show of solidarity after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his counterparts in Oakland, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City (for starters) cracked down on local encampments in recent days.
Depending on the MSM outlet in question, the crowd marching on the New York Stock Exchange numbered in the “thousands” (The Wall Street Journal), “at least 1,000” (Bloomberg Businessweek), or “a few hundred” (AP). The AP reported 50 to 60 arrests in New York by noontime.
Now, let’s talk about media framing strategies, shall we? The Wall Street Journal’s headline for its OWS coverage Thursday morning was “Protesters Disrupt Business Around Wall Street.” while Bloomberg Businessweek’s read “Wall Street Protesters Blocked in Attempt to Disrupt NYSE,” with a lead suggesting a certain editorial strategy: “Police rebuffed attempts by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange. … ” The article then gestures at the helicopters overhead and characterizes the attempt to hinder business as usual on Wall Street as unsuccessful, with the subheading “Opened on Time” and helpful quotes from financial industry insiders:
“It’s a huge waste of taxpayer money to pay all these police overtime for two months,” Ken Polcari, a floor trader and managing director at ICAP Corporates, said by telephone from the NYSE, where he’s worked for 28 years. “The Big Board isn’t going to succumb to a bunch of kids with no message.”
Thank you, Bloomberg-sponsored news team. (For more on Bloomberg’s media mouthpiece, read Robert Scheer’s latest column.)
The AP took a more neutral-sounding stance in its own choice of headline: “Occupy protesters coordinate in marches nationwide,” and The New York Times elected to use a handy verb to describe a confrontation without picking sides: “Protesters and Officers Clash Near Wall Street and in Zuccotti Park.” [Emphasis added.]
Meanwhile, The Street would like to advance the following hypothesis: “Occupy Wall Street Doesn’t Care Who’s President.” Oh.
Honorable mention must also go to CBS MoneyWatch’s Jill Schlessinger, who blared the headline “Occupy Wall Street ‘Day of Action’ hurts the 99 percent”—at 7:44 a.m. Thursday morning. Yes, she was declaring the day’s initiative harmful in advance. Here’s more prognostication:
In reviewing today’s schedule, I’m not sure that the group will accomplish their goals. They plan to gather in Liberty Square on Wall Street at 7am, with whispers of “We’re going to shut down the New York Stock Exchange!” Good luck with that goal—the NYSE security is tight and my guess is that OWS folks won’t get close to the Big Board.
Finally, the Los Angeles Times reported on riot cops busting about two dozen protesters, including an 82-year-old woman.
We’ll be following developments throughout the day. To watch events unfold in real time, go to Adbusters’ OWS page, the Occupy Wall Street movement’s online hub, or The Other 99.
AP / Mary Altaffer
Demonstrators affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement march through the streets of the financial district on Thursday in New York.