Media Should Be More Diligent in 'Occupy' Coverage

Occupy Wall Street has not suffered the same media scrutiny that the Tea Party experienced


"Where's the outrage?" the Republican National Committee asked this week regarding the support of President Barack Obama, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel for the Occupy Wall Street protests despite well-documented anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments and signs.

It's a fair question; one that should not have to be asked by the RNC, but instead members of the media interviewing Democrats.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street]

Let's go back to the last election cycle. While much of the media scoffed, insulted, or dismissed Tea Party activists, they also held Republicans' feet to the fire, gleefully grilling Republican elected officials, candidates, and strategists any time some jerk at a Tea Party rally had a sign questioning either the president's birth certificate or Christianity.

Having been on the receiving end of some this, I recall well how the conversation would play out. After showing b-roll of a misguided individual holding up such a sign, or airing a similarly wrong comment, the interviewer would ask, "Isn't this representative of something larger within the Republican Party…why aren't Republicans condemning this more forcefully?" while the Republican interviewee would condemn both the comments and the attitude behind it.

Democrats praising the Occupy Wall Street protests have thus far been spared similarly uncomfortable questions. Indeed, media coverage of the protests has been long on publicity, but short on scrutiny. Scrutiny of those participating in the protests and those cheering them on has been practically nonexistent.

[See photos of the Occupy Wall Street protests]

This is not to suggest the protests are anti-Semitic in nature. Tea Party rallies, after all, were about seeking to curb federal spending and stop Obamacare, not birth certificates. But as the Occupy Wall Street protests grow and their message continues to, er, evolve—are these the World Trade Organization protests redux, fighting "The Man" as in 1970s action films, or something more that remains to be seen—top Democrats, desperate to find any foothold with voters, are clinging to the protests.

So desperate, in fact, they have thus far been willing to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitic elements within the protests.

Perhaps it's naïve to think Democrats would condemn such behavior on their own without prompting, but it is entirely reasonable to expect the media to do its job with the same diligence (zeal, even) we saw over the Tea Party not so long ago.

  • See a collection of political cartoons on the Tea Party.
  • Read the U.S. News Debate: Is Occupy Wall Street the Next Tea Party Movement?
  • Galupo: Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Nothing to Worry About