Thursday, 17 November 2011

THE NEW YORK TIMES' "OCCUPY" LETTERS

Ken Berwitz

At one point, as our Accomplice Media provided a seemingly unending string of positively-spun articles about the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. polling showed that a pretty large number of people were in sympathy with what appeared to be their goals (i.e. cutting Wall Street and banks down to size).   Some media people pointed out that these goals were relatively similar to at least some of those voiced by Tea Partiers.  

That, however, was then.  This is now. 

Now, after two months of seeing what the "Occupy" protesters are really about, polls show support for them dropping like a rock.

But not at the New York Times.  If you believe its Letters to the Editor column, everyone is still enthralled by the "Occupy" movement and or furious at authorities for removing the squatters' camp at Zuccotti Park.  

Do you want evidence to support what I just said?  Ok.  This morning's edition has five letters about the "Occupy Wall Street".  You can read them in their entirety by clicking here.  Meanwhile, let me show you the key passages from each one:

From Letter 1:  The American democracy our system of capitalism and free markets, the electoral system and tax policies has been distorted by moneyed interests. The problem isnt that some people are wealthy but that the playing field has been tilted to favor the wealthy. Our challenge is to revive America as a land of equal opportunity.  The beauty (and the power) of Occupy grew from the movements ability to focus the public consciousness on a compelling issue rather than trying to ram a point of view down anyones throat.

From Letter 2:  Having visited Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park repeatedly over the last five weeks, I am certain that alleging sanitation and crime problems was a pretext for the New York polices unreasonable actions there on Tuesday: the 1 a.m. police raid; the barring and mistreatment of the press; the seizure of thousands of books.

From Letter 3:  Last weekend, on a visit to New York City, we had the pleasure of going to the Occupy Wall Street site. As a 68-year-old veteran of antiwar, civil rights and womens liberation protests of the 1960s and 70s, I have to say Occupy Wall Street was the neatest, most orderly and polite protest I have ever witnessed.

From Letter 4:  Officials should designate an area in a New York City park as a public speaking forum for Occupy Wall Street in the tradition of Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in London.

From Letter 5:  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had an opportunity to do something that would have vaulted him to the status of a great mayor in the eyes of many, including those who do not usually agree with him.  If he had left the protesters in Zuccotti Park alone, he would have shown that he understood why their concerns are important, and why they are shared by millions of nonrich people in this country.  What would it have mattered if the park owners were angry with him?

See my point?  That isn't exactly what you would call a cross-section of opinion, is it?

What does this mean?  It means either that New York Times readers are oblivious to what the rest of the country is seeing, the New York Times cherry-picks the letters that it wants readers to see/be influenced by, or both.

Personally, I'll take door #3. 

In my opinion, people who read the New York Times thinking they get all the news must inherently be oblivious to many things, because the Times appears to have a fascinating, thoroughly partisan, penchant for picking and choosing what finds its way into each edition.  Illustratively, see how many articles have been presented in the past few months about the Green Scandal or Operation Fast and Furious.  How sad that some readers have been gulled into believing the Times' self-serving slogan that it provides "all the news that's fit to print", as opposed to the more realistic "only the news we want you to know". 

As for cherry-picking the Letters to the Editor?  You read those five.  You tell me.


HOW CAN THEY TELL?

Ken Berwitz

When literary icon Dorothy Parker was told that former President Calvin Coolidge had died, she is supposed to have said "How can they tell?"  That was because Coolidge, also known as "Silent Cal", spoke so little that people did not hear him.

It has just been announced that the Joy Behar show will go off the air next month.  If Ms. Parker were alive today, she would be asking the same question, "How can they tell?"   Not because Behar speaks so little that no one hears her, but because she doesn't stop speaking, and no one listens to her.

Behar will have had a prime time show for over two years.  And during that period she went from being solid last in the cable news ratings for her time slot to.....being solid last in the cable news ratings for her time slot.

The latest data (as of Monday), show Behar with all of 326,000 total viewers nationwide.  This compares to 565,000 for Anderson Cooper, 766,000 for Lawrence O'Donnell and 1,669,000 for Greta Van Susteren.  In the key 25-54 demographic, Behar is at 78,000, compared to 173,000 for O'Donnell, 206,000 for Cooper and 409,000 for Van Susteren.

Why has Behar stayed so far down in the ratings?  Maybe it has to do with her predictably unwavering hard-left positions on just about every issue.  But I doubt it, because that could also be said about the far higher-rated Lawrence O'Donnell.  Or maybe it is that she never seems prepared, and usually does not get beyond trite clichs (like him or not, O'Donnell certainly prepares for his shows and has facts at his disposal).

Add in Behar's enormous store of  venomous invective, and that probably gives you the rest of your answer.

Matt Hadro of newsbusters.org has compiled a list of Behar's ugliest comments (and boy oh boy did he ever have a lot of material to choose from).  You can read it by clicking here.  It is a study in mindless hatred and ignorance.

Bye Bye Joy.  I'm sure you will be sorely missed.  By who?  I don't know. 

How can I tell?

free` I wonder if she even beats the late-night infomercials. LOL (11/17/11)

Zeke .... ..... At a dinner function, a woman seated next to Coolidge said, "Mr. President, I bet a friend that I could get more than two words from you tonight". Silent Cal replied, "You lose". (11/17/11)


GOD BLESS OUR HAPPY HAM

Ken Berwitz

This one goes straight to our "you can't make this stuff up" file.

From thesmokinggun.com:

A Tennessee man is facing a domestic assault charge after he allegedly struck his mother with a ham during an argument Tuesday afternoon in their home.

 

Emanuel Cordell Kennedy, 37, was collared after his mother told cops that she was hit in the back with the thrown ham as she was walking down the hall, according to a Union City Police Department report excerpted here.

In an interview with police, Kennedy claimed that he did not intend to hit his mother, 55-year-old Brenda King, with the tossed ham. King apparently was not injured by the pink missile, the size of which was not detailed by investigators.

Kennedy, pictured in the above mug shot, is being held without bond in the Obion County jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on the misdemeanor count.

Fortunately Ms. King was not hit solidly, she was only glazed.

With apologies to the Mills brothers, apparently the ham bone's connected to the domestic assault charge.

Ok, I'm through hamming it up.  I don't want to be a pig about this, so the next bad joke is up to you.  Knuckle down and give us a good one..


THE OCCUPY WALL STREET DAY OF DISRUPTION: LARGELY UNOCCUPIED

Ken Berwitz

There were people on the streets.  Probably a few thousand of them. Maybe as many as 5,000 (at least some, I suspect, being onlookers rather than participants).

That is one urine-poor showing for Manhattan.  I'm guessing you'll find more people in Macy's the day after Thanksgiving (assuming the "Occupy" protesters don't bomb it, that is).

I guess screaming "We are the 99%" isn't working.  Maybe they should try "We are the 99.9%, and a few more might join in.

Not surprisingly, the "Occupy" protesters still decline to go after the rich left wingers who are, or at any rate used to be, openly in support of their cause.  Even if their millions are with exactly the same companies protesters are railing about.

The "are" crowd includes Michael Moore (estimated worth:  $50 million), Kanye West (estimated worth:  $70 million) Russell Simmons (estimated worth: $300 million) and, of course, the epitome of monetary manipulation and greed, george soros, who has more billions than hamburgers served at McDonald's. 

But that's ok, George.  You're home free.  If you support the movement you are forgiven your greed.  Funny how that works. 

And then there is the "were" crowd:  i.e. Democrat politicians who were gung-ho for the "Occupy" movement but now don't seem to know it exists.

The first name that comes to mind, of course, is Nancy Pelosi.  You don't hear her saying "God bless" the protesters anymore, do you? 

Well, at least you can't say she's bugging out on them for personal gain.  If she blessed the "Occupy" protesters now, she'd win her next election by even more than her usual mega-landslide. 

Nope, she's bugging out on them because she is a leader of the Democrat Party - one who is fully aware that most of the rest of the country does not share her ardor for the "Occupy" protesters.  Pelosi, who is nothing if not calculating, understands what an albatross the "Occupy" movement has become for Democrats in most of the rest of the country, so she's gone into muzzle-mode.  And she's not the only one. 

Good politicians can smell a winner a mile away.  Excellent politicians can smell a loser 2 miles away.  Great politicians can smell a winner that has turned into a loser 100 miles away.

As the weather gets colder, and protesting becomes less convenient, that may be the most fitting epitaph for "Occupy Wall Street".

Zeke ..... ..... We are the 99 and 44/100% ....... and we float ..... ...... (11/17/11)


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