During the 1 p.m. hour of Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN's Randi Kaye touted the potential for the "Occupy Wall Street" protests around the country to morph into a "left wing Tea Party." Kaye reported that the group is "gaining momentum" and hosted one of the protestors for a soft interview.
"The scene from Wall Street as the numbers multiply and the message gets louder, it seems the 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters have the potential to grow into a political party, sort of a left wing Tea Party," Kaye hyped.
Kaye's sympathetic coverage of the protests can be starkly contrasted with then-CNN reporter Susan Roesgen's verbal altercations with Tea Party protestors in 2009. Roesgen slammed the April 15, 2009 Chicago Tea Party gathering as "anti-government," "anti-CNN," and "not really family viewing." Around that time, CNN's Anderson Cooper also smeared the Tea Partiers with an obscene label.
Kaye, at the end of her interview with one of the protestors, even recommended a blog of the movement. "I did check out that 'We Are the Other 99 Percent' blog, and it really is quite moving, some of the stories," she cooed. "So I recommend it to our viewers as well."
She asked only softball questions in the interview. "Some people are looking at your group and what they see is sort of a version of a liberal Tea Party. Is that how you see yourself?" Kaye asked "volunteer" Bill Dobbs.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 5 at 1:08 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Their voices are getting louder, their numbers are multiplying, and their message is spreading. It is week three of the "Occupy Wall Street" protest and the group is gaining momentum. Demonstrations started on September 17th in New York City. Now, new offshoots of the group are popping up in cities across the country including Boston, Chicago, Denver and Seattle. Their signs and slogans make it clear they oppose everything from bank foreclosures and job shortages to corporate influence and greed.
KAYE: The scene from Wall Street as the numbers multiply and the message gets louder, it seems the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters have the potential to grow into a political party, sort of a left wing Tea Party. Take a look at this map. Offshoots of the group have now spread from New York, to Chicago, Denver, Albuquerque and Los Angeles – and even more cities are getting in line to hit the streets in protest.
The question now is, will this movement take hold in Washington? And will it take hold with voters? Joining me now from Wall Street is Bill Dobbs. He is a volunteer with the "Occupy Wall Street" group. Thank you so much, Bill, for coming on the show. First, you've been there since the beginning. I mean, is one of the goals, I have to ask you, of the group to form a viable political party?
BILL DOBBS, volunteer, "Occupy Wall Street": No. This is – thank you, Candy (sic), by the way for having us. This is a very loud outcry about economic conditions and many other issues in this country. This is about the other 99 percent. One percent of the country is very wealthy and powerful, and there are a lot of people hurting right now. And what we're doing down here is using all our energy to give off a loud outcry and bring other people into this battle. And that's one of the great things about the rally later this afternoon which is going to have a lot of representation from organized labor, and we're very excited about that.
KAYE: There are so many issues here at play. I mean, there's the issue of unemployment, corporate greed, the environment, the wealth disparity. In terms of what this group wants at the end of the day, I mean, what do you think you can actually gain?
DOBBS: To try and get more people involved is a huge effort because many of us are cynical, feeling despair, and angry. And this protest has tapped into that anger. Not only are people here because they lost jobs, they've got really big student loan payments, but they also find when they come down to "Occupy Wall Street" and other protests that are beginning around the country, they find some community and they find some joy, and some hope that there's going to be a difference if more of us roll up our sleeves.
KAYE: Some people are looking at your group and what they see is sort of a version of a liberal Tea Party. Is that how you see yourself?
DOBBS: A lot of different viewpoints are represented in this crowd and our supporters around the country. The idea that next generation might do as well as some of us now is a smashed dream. So, the outcry down here – right now there isn't a central, major demand or slogan, but what it enables others to do is to bring their own issues and if you look at the signs, and look at the coverage about this, clearly the focus is on economics and economic justice for the other 99 percent.
KAYE: I did check out that "We Are the Other 99 Percent" blog, and it really is quite moving, some of the stories. So I recommend it to our viewers as well.
Bill Dobbs, volunteer for "Occupy Wall Street," Bill thank you very much.