Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The 'NYT' Occupy Wall Street Front Pager Was an Inside Job

Kay Merryweather, 34, an artist on the Lower East Side, volunteers at Trinity Church, giving out food. She said that during the financial crisis, when banks were receiving bailouts and financial executives were receiving multimillion-dollar bonuses, the church often ran out before the long lines of working poor were fed. “The bankers were getting all of these millions,” Ms. Merryweather said. “And we didn’t have enough food.”

But not far away, Benny Zable, 66, a longtime activist, was protesting while wearing a gas mask and a suit that read “Work Consume Be Silent Die.” He said his outrage came from the heedlessness of economic growth. “It’s the greed factor,” Mr. Zable said.

"But"? "But"??? That actually isn't at all a "but" transition, you know! Or you don't. Picture the conference call between the desk in New York, the lead writer and the stringers: "This movement seems fractured and confused!" says the editor. "Did you find any people who seem fractured and confused?" The stringers mumble. "Fine, I've got one! I'll write this anecdotal opening thing in myself," says the lead writer, Times' Phoenix bureau chief Marc Lacey. "See, I've got a great 9/11 'truther' wingnut with all kinds of stickers on his guitar case!" (Hmm, pretty well-aged stickers though, right? Pretty sure that guy was already "there" long before the Occupy movement came into being last month.) "Oh and! I've got some chick from Code Pink!" Everyone on the conference call goes oooh. "Jackpot," says the desk in New York, a few blocks from where thousands of people have just completely filled Times Square the other day. With a liberal media like this, who needs Fox News?

32 Comments / Post A Comment

TheRtHonPM (#10,481)

The occupiers showed up in my city last weekend. And I'm on record as liking this movement in general, but it seems a lot more impressive at a distance.

sunnyciegos (#551)

@TheRtHonPM Yeah, daylight is not that kind to them. I talked to one guy in DC who was mad that Citibank had ruined the Mets. Like, really mad.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Two years ago I attended a tea party rally in North Dakota and photographed a guy who had sandwich-boarded his dog with a bungee cord and some bullshit political message. On this site I called that man "a human piece of shit." My opinion of people who do this to their dogs has not changed with time or political affiliation.

@Abe Sauer We're just lucky that the Occupy Wall Street people leave all their cats at home.

@Abe Sauer I need to buy you a beer (or preferably a bourbon) one of these days. This isn't linked to this comment per se, but, you know, everything you've written for this site.

Daniel Could've (#22,066)

@Abe Sauer How do you feel about a St. Bernard with a teeny sign hanging from its collar like it was a little barrel of booze? I saw that on Saturday and it was the best.

shudder (#5,913)

@Daniel Could've well, St. Bernard's were practically invented to carry shit, so it's hard to oppose this.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Abe Sauer What if it's a parrot trained to shout political invective at passers by?

melis (#1,854)

@deepomega What if it's a gerbil wrapped in a flier for my band's next gig?

But not every group that has embraced the name, nor every individual who answers its call, necessarily marches in the same contentious lockstep.

OK, I'll bite. Contentious lockstep? This is what happens when you allow your copyeditors to run their annual Clangingest Oxymoron Contest, right? Seriously, this is the most self-evidently nonsensical phrase I've ever read in the Times (until the next one, etc. etc.).

Abe Sauer (#148)

The irony of course is that people would be upset… if the 99% read the NYT, which they don't.

flossy (#1,402)

Only semi-related, but I'm more tickled that the cover model for New York Magazine, with the graphic on his chest that says "Sucks To Be Us," is an (admittedly, beautiful) 24 year-old "street performer" whose current, um, plight (?) is the result of four years spent gobbling mushrooms and honing his hippie dipshit contact improv skills at, wait for it, Oberlin College.

Grrr, why did those mean bankers make our beautiful children get useless performance art degrees from outrageously expensive liberal arts colleges! Smash capitalism! Sucks to be us!

jolie (#16)

Not gonna lie, I kind of want a "I AM VERY UPSET" sign of my own. You know, just for everyday use.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@jolie I let my perpetual scowl do the talking.

@jolie : I usually just make my own on the spot when needed. Out of my two middle fingers. There's a performance component that really rounds the whole message out, I think.

LondonLee (#922)

@jolie I'll make you one with better typography.

Hmmm. I might just have found the market niche that will finally allow me to quit my job.

jolie (#16)

@LondonLee It's not so much the typography that needs sprucing up so much as that filthy piece of cardboard she used. Jesus lady, OxiClean that garbage.

Also, how about this gem of Times reportage?

"So, the Tea Party's various activities have been funded by massive ongoing donations from a few wealthy individuals / corporations ever since the movement started. The Occupy people must have the same thing. Get on it!"

"Uh, well, I guess we could look at the various individual donors to the magazine that initially proposed the rough idea of an 'occupy Wall Street' protest. And if we pick the top donor off the pile, that guy must be the … oh my God, he's given the magazine a whole $75,000 over the past 20 years! HE'S THE SHADOWY BACKER OF THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT! TO THE PRESSES!"

Mr. B (#10,093)

Or maybe it was just hasty editing? Occam's razor beats conspiracy theories every time, in my experience, at least.

sigerson (#179)

Never forget that the Times is a fundamentally conservative institution. For all the Style section frippery, they stood at attention and saluted the flag during the Iraq War. They marginalized the protesters and ignored the police abuses during the Republican convention in 2004. The Occupy Wall Street movement represents a THREAT to them and they know it. Hence, the flippant and demeaning coverage.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@sigerson: They didn't just salute, they provided the flag and the flagpole.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

@sigerson Oh god, the style section is supposed to be progressive?

BirdNerd (#4,196)

In its young existance I've read theawl 20x more than I've ever read the NYT. In other words..fuck em.

Inventory of all "Occupy"-types in the NYT article:

* out-of-work stagehand
* belongs to the antiwar group Code Pink
* who participated in Occupy Los Angeles
* an artist on the Lower East Side
* a longtime activist
* who left her three children with her mother to protest
* who was cited on a charge of criminal trespass over the weekend
* a recent graduate of Gordon College
* a writing instructor
* a bearded man in a Greenpeace jacket
* who works in development for the Commonwealth Secretariat, an intergovernmental organization
* an actor and peace activist
* mothers from Malibu
* an Occupy Tucson participant

Marc Lacey apparently thought he was at Burning Man.

KenWheaton (#401)

Is there 1% of the 1% that is acceptable to interview?

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

Worst "but" transition ever.

Mr. B (#10,093)

My above comment notwithstanding, I still go all aflutter at the sight of a Yeats reference (hysterical as it may be).

jamesbean (#162,172)

@Clarence Rosario – you dismiss all these people including a woman who left her 3 children with her mother for an hour and a half and a mother from Malibu? Is there anyone you do respect? It seems to me you are a lot more likely to dismiss women given how you feel about mothers but men in Greenpeace jackets are also out as far as your concerned.

TimChuma (#9,158)

Also visible in "Occupy Melbourne" is the Chabad tent with palm fronds on the roof, I'm guessing the anti-Max Brenner protesters made themselves scarce after that.

There was the "convoy of no-confidence" a tea-party style movement led by right-wing commentators, but that only had a couple of hundred trucks and fizzled out after the speeches.

Some old farts turned up and yelled abuse at federal parliament when the carbon tax passed.

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