CNN Skips Fiscal Ties of OWS to Far-Left Organization

While reporting on the cash flow for "Occupy Wall Street" on Monday, CNN's Poppy Harlow glossed over the fact that one of the organizations processing donations to the protest is a left-wing non-profit that originated in support of the communist Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua.

Harlow's segment focused on where the donations to the Wall Street protest were coming from and how the incoming money was managed. In her soft interview with the movement's "money man" Pete Dutro, she asked him softball questions like "What are things like these days?" and "You call yourself chief financial officer or something else?"
 

Dutro, one of the protesters, absurdly claimed that the movement was not "political," a claim that Harlow and CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux didn't question.

The report did not delve into exactly what kind of organizations and people were funding the protest. Harlow did note that a certain non-profit organization processed some of the donations, but did not report on the organization itself, which CNN could easily have labeled a "liberal" outfit.

"In terms of where the money is processed that's donated to 'Occupy Wall Street,' what we found out is that a lot of it is processed through a Washington, D.C. based non-profit called the Alliance for Global Justice," Harlow said.

The origins of the Alliance for Global Justice (AGJ) began in 1979 as the "Nicaragua Network" was founded to support the Sandinista revolution. The network, whose mission eventually expanded into a global one, became a project of the AGJ which began in 1998.

Some of the fiscally-sponsored projects of the AGJ include anarchists in Palestine, anti-war protests, and "The World Can't Wait!" movement, designed to combat the agenda of President Bush.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 24 at 11:55 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: "Occupy Wall Street" protesters are still camped out in New York after more than a month. It takes money to keep a movement going. And the group has raised a lot of cash now. Poppy Harlow met one of the people who manages now the money.

(Video Clip)

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMoney.com: So I think one of the most interesting things about "Occupy Wall Street" is the money. Where is the money coming from? They have raised about $300,000. Who's funding them? How are they spending the money? Where is it going? How are they not using the big banks?

(To protester) Does everyone know you around here as the money man?

PETE DUTRO, "Occupy Wall Street" finance committee member: A lot of people do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of power? People power!

HARLOW: You call yourself chief financial officer or something else?

DUTRO: No. There is no chief.

HARLOW: What are things like these days?

DUTRO: It's pretty crazy. I mean, this is really like doing an office job in a mosh pit.

HARLOW: So right here by the food is where you're going to find one of the donation boxes. This little gray box. I just saw someone stick some cash in there. What's really interesting – these are all over the park, and what "Occupy Wall Street" tells me is that they have gotten to the point where they're getting thousands of dollars of cash donations here in the park every single day.

DUTRO: It's come from all 50 states. The average donation is a bit over $47.

HARLOW: How do you make the decisions on what to spend the money on? Is this a democratic vote? How does it work?

DUTRO: Yeah. We have our general assembly.

HARLOW: That's made up of how many people?

DUTRO: Everybody here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To stay warm!

CROWD: To stay warm!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh I voted yes for us to get a storage facility. I voted on spending the money to get it. I voted for the U-haul for us to go back and forth with our packages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I'm concerned, they're doing a very good job of providing us with what we really need.

DUTRO: And I had a tattoo shop for many years. I helped run a software development company. I went back to school to NYU-Poly. And basically, my concentration is finance.

HARLOW: (On-camera) In terms of where the money is processed that's donated to "Occupy Wall Street," what we found out is that a lot of it is processed through a Washington, D.C. based non-profit called the Alliance for Global Justice.

(To protester) In terms of the fund-raising, in terms of how you get your money and spend your money, what do you think differentiates you from a big corporation?

DUTRO: First of all, we're by the people, for the people. And we're not trying to make a buck here. We're trying to feed people, we' re trying to get them some medical attention when they need it, we're trying to clothe the people that come down here. We're not trying to be greedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They go to great lengths to be as transparent as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peace.

CROWD: Peace.

DUTRO: My grandparents were in the civil rights movement. My parents were in the anti-war movement. It's my turn now.

(End Video Clip)

MALVEAUX: Poppy Harlow is with us from New York. So, Poppy, how much money do you think they're actually going to raise?

HARLOW: That's a great question. I asked that, Pete, that, the guy you saw in the piece who's helping run money down there. He said that his belief is that in the next few months, Suzanne, they're going to raise about $1 million. I just checked before I got on set here and they had raised about $300,000. When they were with them last week, it is up to now about $400,000. So, it's not out of the question.

In terms of him and his goals, he told me he's going to be down there through the winter -- actually through the 2012 election cycle. And I also asked him what's your end game? Because you've got a lot of different end games coming from the protesters down there. For him, he said one of his big goals is to get the money out of politics. He doesn't want to see a lot of corporate money and also just individual money and political campaigns. The way he wants to see it is taxpayers funding political campaigns. I asked him, well, you guys are taking donations from individuals. He said we are not a political movement.

MALVEAUX: Right.

HARLOW: So that's his end game. Expect him down there – I guess, through the election cycle, braving the New York winter. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Wow, that is going to be something else. Does he suspect that this movement is going to get more expensive as it goes on and it drags out through the – or is carried out, I should say, through the winter, the fall and winter?

HARLOW: It's a good question. He didn't answer that specifically, but he does expect it to grow en masse not only in New York but around the country. We've seen that happening. So, yeah, it would get more expensive. The question is, how do they stay warm during the winter?

A lot of people down there are sleeping through the night, Suzanne, so it would get more expensive. Their big costs go to medical care and housing. Those tents, the sleeping bags, all their food, interestingly, down there, is all donated. So they don't have to pay for that. But medical attention does cost them, certainly.

MALVEAUX: All right Very interesting. Poppy Harlow, thanks.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014