Take Occupy Wall Street seriously

Poor media coverage hasn’t stopped a protest in New York.

by Oklahoma Daily writer

Occupy Wall Street, a movement to bring protesters from around the country to occupy New YorkâÄôs financial district to protest the corruption of politics by corporate forces, has lasted for 12 days, grown to more than a thousand people at times and spawned at least 45 solidarity events around the world, according to the Occupy Wall Street website. In addition, reports of police brutality and unfounded arrests have flooded social media since the start of the occupation, but coverage from mainstream media has been spotty and contradictory.

A dismissive New York Times article Friday characterized Occupy Wall Street as âÄúa noble but fractured and airy movementâÄù that âÄúwish[ed] to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably.âÄù But accounts from people involved in the protest and journalists who spent time among the group tell a different story. A Huffington Post reporter said the group was âÄúhighly organized and based on consensusâÄù and that it was a diverse group that operates on established schedules.

Videos, pictures, accounts from hundreds of witnesses, hours of livestreaming and other details about the protest have been disseminated through social media, somewhat filling the hole in coverage that the mainstream media has left gaping. When the media does report on the protests, they usually cover the conflict between protesters and the police âÄî the peripheral distractions around the protest rather than the substance and content of the protest itself.

The content spread on social media can usually be trusted to create a reliable impression of the situation on the ground âÄî and the greater the number of individuals involved makes that picture less likely to be swayed by the agenda of a few. But those with real journalism skills could be providing a better picture of the protests to the broader public. Occupy Wall Street is a real and legitimate movement, and it deserves to be taken seriously by the media and the public.