ABC stepped up its promotion Sunday night on behalf of the far-left protesters, which they failed to label, making a special effort to explain and frame their grievances – a service they never provided to the Tea Party. “Tonight, the anger spreads,” anchor David Muir hailed in teasing World News on Sunday night. “Those Wall Street protests now going global. This evening here, we learn about the lives behind the protesters here in this country, showing up in cities coast to coast.”
Muir pointed viewers to a sign he liked: “Look at the images coming in tonight, spelling out the anger. This sign in New York, ‘The rich get bailed out, the poor get sold out.’” He relayed ABC’s goal, “We ask a simple question: What’s happened in the lives of the Americans who’ve joined these protests. What was it that set them off?”
In the lead story, reporter Cecilia Vega championed: “The anger is in Las Vegas, the protests are huge in Houston. The frustration is in Portland. The outrage has spread all the way to Anchorage, Alaska. This is a group of protesters that is certainly growing in size and diversity.”
She stressed how in Manhattan she saw “a number of people come out who’ve never been here before, from senior citizens to people with their children.” Vega showcased soundbites from a man with a kids and an Iraq war veteran.
Following Vega’s piece, Muir guided her to agree the protesters really do have an understandable agenda: “So many people have said that this movement has lacked a central message, but it seems to be turning a corner. We’re hearing more and more people echo one another.”
Vega agreed, describing the agenda in the most innocuous way: “Yeah, as you said, entering the fourth week now. And it really is. There’s a central message here. It’s the economy. It’s a frustration with the economy, it’s a frustration with the lack of accountability and the inequality in the economy, as you heard so many different voices in our story.”
Afterward, ABC News political director Rick Klein insisted: “For Republicans, it is a little awkward for them to be criticizing the Occupy Wall Street gatherings when they cheered the populism of the Tea Party a few months ago.”
NBC didn’t lead with the protests on Sunday night, but still aired a full story. Anchor Lester Holt touted their relevance:
What began with a small disorganized protest on Wall Street here in lower Manhattan has now entered its fourth week, swelling to nationwide demonstrations against what protesters call corporate greed. The grassroots campaign is gaining steam through the use of social media and lawmakers in Washington and on the campaign trail are starting to weigh in.
In the subsequent NBC Nightly News story, reporter Ron Mott maintained “these protests have been largely peaceful and their messages of economic inequality, social injustice and peace over war are beginning to take root in the nation’s political debate.”
From Friday night: "NBC: Occupy Wall Street Like an ‘Arab Spring,’ is ‘Drawing Historical Comparisons’"
From the top of the Sunday, October 9 World News on ABC:
DAVID MUIR: Good evening. It is great to have you with us this Sunday night. As we come on the air here, protesters are now beginning their fourth week of protesting right here in New York. South of here on Wall Street. But with a huge difference: this occupy Wall Street movement is multiplying not only in cities across this country, but now around the world. Look at the images coming in tonight, spelling out the anger. This sign in New York, “The rich get bailed out, the poor get sold out.” In Cincinnati today, this image, as 500 people rallied there. And overseas this evening from Dublin, demonstrators gathering along Ireland's Wall Street, just outside the central bank there.
And so tonight here we ask a simple question: What's happened in the lives of the Americans who’ve joined these protests. What was it that set them off? We begin here with ABC's Cecilia Vega.
CECILIA VEGA: The anger is in Las Vegas, the protests are huge in Houston. The frustration is in Portland. The outrage has spread all the way to Anchorage, Alaska. This is a group of protesters that is certainly growing in size and diversity. It definitely tends to be on the younger side, a number of college students who say they're not going anywhere soon. But on a Sunday after, we’re also seeing a number of people come out who’ve never been here before, from senior citizens to people with their children. Like Tom Eck and his kids. He’s been camping out for two days, one of his sons for two weeks. They came close to losing their home last year.
TOM ECK: It's hard to get -- afford food sometimes. I almost lost my house last year and I know a lot of people thathave lost their house.
VEGA: And Will Hopkins, a 30-year-old veteran of the Iraq war.
WILL TOMPKINS: This is a group of people who are upset about the way business is being done and with good reason.
VEGA: Protests continue today in the nation's capital. One day after marchers, including some anti-war groups, stormed the National Air and Space Museum. Guards pepper sprayed the crow and shut the museum down for the day. The camping and marching near Wall Street goes on and the people, some of them familiar faces, keep showing up.
What’s it going to take for this to stop, for guys to go home and go back to their lives and to walk away from all these marches?
MAN: Well, I hope that we continue to make the country better.
MUIR: And Cecilia Vega joins us here at the desk in New York. So many people have said that this movement has lacked a central message, but it seems to be turning a corner. We're hearing more and more people echo one another.
VEGA: Yeah, as you said, entering the fourth week now. And it really is. There's a central message here. It's the economy. It's a frustration with the economy, it's a frustration with the lack of accountability and the inequality in the economy, as you heard so many different voices in our story. So many people are bringing their personal stories to this, these marches, whether it's a lack of a job or the fact that they’re facing a foreclosure.