If the Occupiers Have Lost the Washington Post...

Jerry Shenk

Since the protesters began to gather, the Washington Post has published dozens of stories favorable to Occupy Wall Street and its various regional spinoffs.

On September 26, about ten days after the first stirrings of protest, Washington Post opinion writer James Downie informed us that "...this [OWS] movement is different...," calling it "fundamentally justifiable."

On September 30, Downie posted an item entitled "'Occupy Wall Street' only growing stronger"

On October 3, in "Guest Voices," the WaPo published an article by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in which the occupiers were compared to Ghandi. Thistlewaite attributed to the occupiers the "'truth force' that non-violent activists from India to the southern tip of Manhattan know." She opines:  "The truth that is now coming into focus for Wall Street and for Main Street, through these protests, is the "systemic violence" of the American economy today."

Sure, Sue, we get it: the economy is violent; the rabble at OWS are young Ghandis.

A day later, the WaPo's Ezra Klein declared himself convinced that ""Occupy Wall Street" was worth covering seriously." Klein writes:

"The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It's not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It's not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It's that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy -- work hard, play by the rules, get ahead -- has been broken, and they want to see it restored."

The fundamental disconnect in such declarations always comes down to a discussion of who gets to write the rules and who is empowered to decide what is fair and what is not. There is never a doubt among reliable liberals like Klein of their own moral superiority and rectitude. The condescending sanctimony of the left will always be with us, even when the messages and messengers of the "moral imperatives" they champion are discredited or simply fizzle out.

Fast forward to November 16, 2011.

Today, two seemingly irreconcilable sources, one the Washington Post, published articles on the Occupy phenomenon which use different narratives but reach essentially the same conclusion: the Occupiers have become a liability for the American left. Washington-based Brit Nile Gardiner, writing for the U.K.'s Telegraph, describes the Occupier demonstrations as a liberal Hail Mary pass. Gardiner considers the occupiers "emblematic of the dramatic decline of the Left in the United States." Gardiner's appraisal is not a friendly one.

Perhaps more significantly, the Washington Post contained an article by Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch entitled "The Occupy movement: More trouble than change?" In it the writers cite many instances of lawlessness in Occupy camps all over America, the squalor of the camps and the civic disruptions they cause. They raise an excellent question: "Is this an occupation or an infestation?"

This WaPo article is clearly unsympathetic to the occupiers, but it hedges its conclusion by reporting occupier defiance of the efforts of their lately-unwilling civic "hosts" to disband them.

Put a fork in the Occupy crowd. If they've lost the elected officials in the liberal enclaves where they tend to assemble, and, especially, if they've lost the Washington Post, the occupiers have lost. Period.

 

Since the protesters began to gather, the Washington Post has published dozens of stories favorable to Occupy Wall Street and its various regional spinoffs.

On September 26, about ten days after the first stirrings of protest, Washington Post opinion writer James Downie informed us that "...this [OWS] movement is different...," calling it "fundamentally justifiable."

On September 30, Downie posted an item entitled "'Occupy Wall Street' only growing stronger"

On October 3, in "Guest Voices," the WaPo published an article by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in which the occupiers were compared to Ghandi. Thistlewaite attributed to the occupiers the "'truth force' that non-violent activists from India to the southern tip of Manhattan know." She opines:  "The truth that is now coming into focus for Wall Street and for Main Street, through these protests, is the "systemic violence" of the American economy today."

Sure, Sue, we get it: the economy is violent; the rabble at OWS are young Ghandis.

A day later, the WaPo's Ezra Klein declared himself convinced that ""Occupy Wall Street" was worth covering seriously." Klein writes:

"The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It's not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It's not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It's that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy -- work hard, play by the rules, get ahead -- has been broken, and they want to see it restored."

The fundamental disconnect in such declarations always comes down to a discussion of who gets to write the rules and who is empowered to decide what is fair and what is not. There is never a doubt among reliable liberals like Klein of their own moral superiority and rectitude. The condescending sanctimony of the left will always be with us, even when the messages and messengers of the "moral imperatives" they champion are discredited or simply fizzle out.

Fast forward to November 16, 2011.

Today, two seemingly irreconcilable sources, one the Washington Post, published articles on the Occupy phenomenon which use different narratives but reach essentially the same conclusion: the Occupiers have become a liability for the American left. Washington-based Brit Nile Gardiner, writing for the U.K.'s Telegraph, describes the Occupier demonstrations as a liberal Hail Mary pass. Gardiner considers the occupiers "emblematic of the dramatic decline of the Left in the United States." Gardiner's appraisal is not a friendly one.

Perhaps more significantly, the Washington Post contained an article by Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch entitled "The Occupy movement: More trouble than change?" In it the writers cite many instances of lawlessness in Occupy camps all over America, the squalor of the camps and the civic disruptions they cause. They raise an excellent question: "Is this an occupation or an infestation?"

This WaPo article is clearly unsympathetic to the occupiers, but it hedges its conclusion by reporting occupier defiance of the efforts of their lately-unwilling civic "hosts" to disband them.

Put a fork in the Occupy crowd. If they've lost the elected officials in the liberal enclaves where they tend to assemble, and, especially, if they've lost the Washington Post, the occupiers have lost. Period.