NYT Slams Wall St. Protest, Calls it “Pantomime Progressivism” — Fair?
10:55 am, September 24th | by Amy Tennery
It’s clear that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement wanted more press. I’m just not sure that an article published today is what they had in mind.
In a blisteringly critical piece entitled “Gunning for Wall Street, with Faulty Aim,” the New York Times gives a brutal assessment of the Wall Street protests over the last week (as though the title of the article wasn’t obvious enough).
The criticisms range from the protest’s purported lack of members…
According to the group, 2,000 marched on the first day; news outlets estimated that the number was closer to several hundred. By Wednesday morning, 100 or so stalwarts were making the daily, peaceful trek through the financial district.
… to the purported lack of knowledge of economic principles among the crowd:
Some said they were fighting the legal doctrine of corporate personhood; others, not fully understanding what that meant, believed it meant corporations paid no taxes whatsoever. Others came to voice concerns about the death penalty, the drug war, the environment. Having discerned the intellectual vacuum, Chris Spiech, an unemployed 26-year-old from New Jersey, arrived on Thursday with the hope of indoctrinating his peers in the lessons of Austrian economics, Milton Friedman and Ron Paul.
Intellectual vacuum. Ouch.
But is this a fair assessment? Occupy Wall Street’s effort has been met with some praise by those disillusioned with the economic status quo — and if there were ever a time to be fed up with said system, this might be it. That being said, the relatively modest size of the protest (coupled with some members’ outsized demands for press) does make one wonder if this was more dud than revolution. And, while we’re on the subject, the protesters’ attempt to ally themselves with the Egyptian uprising (at least in their rhetoric) seems almost entirely tone-deaf and narcissistic.
Even so, the protests have been met with some cruel, cringe-inducing derision, the kind that’s entirely unwarranted and only bolsters their mission. One expletive-laden Facebook post yesterday (from an alleged finance worker) suggested that Wall Streeters were planning to hose down the protesters with champagne, in an apparent effort to highlight what refined, privileged individuals they are. John Hughes’ villains could take a lesson.
So — is Occupy Wall Street a revolution? Or an exercise in futility?