Chuckles Ahoy for NYT's OWS-Comedy Coverage: Sometimes 'You Need a Little Knife in the Gut'

Attempting to humanize the Occupy Wall Street protesters, New York Times Metro reporter Corey Kilgannon laughed off comedic threats of violence in Friday’s  Metro section story on a show hosted by comedian/activist Randy Credico for Occupy Wall Street protesters in Greenwich Village this week, “Protesters’ Night Out: Jokes, Laughs, and an Anthem on Autoharp.”

Read the excerpt, especially in the wake of the anti-cop violence at Occupy Oakland, then think of how the Times conjured up imaginary Republican threats of violence from much less, like a graphic from Sarah Palin’s political action committee in 2010 showing cross hairs over the districts of some Democrats after the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

One comedian derided the group of Occupy Wall Street protesters in the front row as Ivy League nerds. Another ridiculed the “mic-check” format of public speaking favored by protesters since they have been prohibited from using bullhorns. Even their nonviolent protest methods came under fire.

“You need a little knife in the gut once in a while,” joked the comedian Danny Vitale, during a comedy night held for the protesters at the Yippie Museum Café on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village on Wednesday night.

Mr. Vitale said that even the Peace Movement of the 1960s had a need for some muscle, citing the claim that the Hell’s Angels were used as a security force at the 1969 Altamont Speedway Free Festival.

“There have always been some guys on the left who have to be a little strong-arm,” he said.


The Occupy Wall Street protesters based in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan have been nothing if not vocal -- in chants and signs and Twitter posts -- in expressing their discontent with the disparity of wealth in America. But on Wednesday night, it was time to chant down the protesters, at a session that was a mix of a roast and a celebration of the downtown protest.

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.