CNN Offers Sympathetic Look at Occupy DC's 'Rules and Regulations'

On Tuesday afternoon's Newsroom, CNN ran a positive segment on Occupy D.C. at Freedom Plaza and touted the protest's "rules and regulations." In what could have passed for an advertisement for the protest, anchor Brooke Baldwin held up to the camera the protest's application for prospective occupiers, remarking "how about that?" over its stipulations.

Baldwin noted in the beginning that "you might not have heard too much about Occupy D.C. And as it turned out, that protest is a lot different than a number of others." CNN then interviewed a number of protesters innocently labeled either "organizer" or "protester."

As it turns out, one of the "organizers," Dr. Margaret Flowers, is a pediatrician who was arrested three times while trying to garner attention for a single-payer health care system. She is part of the group Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a single-payer health plan.

Another "organizer," Kevin Zeese, was a former spokesperson for Ralph Nader who ran for U.S. Senate in 2006 as a member of the Green Party and a nominee of the Libertarian and Populist parties.

Yet another "protester" bragged to CNN that she "could be right now on my catamaran in the Caribbean," but that it was "more important" for her to be in D.C.

According to the National Journal, the protester, whose name is Mariel Escobar, "broke her femur and has no health care. She can't afford a CT scan and lost her job." Escobar told the Journal that "We certainly have enough wealth in this country that we can have a national health care system."

At the end of the segment, Brooke Baldwin held up to the camera the application for Occupy D.C., Freedom Plaza. "So I got my hands on this piece of paper. Take a look, you can see it here. This is what you actually have to fill out if you want to occupy D.C., if you want to occupy Freedom Park," an impressed Baldwin noted.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on November 15 at 2:37 p.m. EST, is as follows:

BROOKE BALDWIN: So now that we kind of have a sense of what's going on today at Occupy Wall Street, let's talk about another city. Because you know there are demonstrations happening nationwide, but you might not have heard too much about Occupy D.C. And as it turned out, that protest is a lot different than a number of others. Our photo journalist Oliver Janni went to the park where that's all happening. Here it is.

(Video Clip)

[HEADLINE: "'Occupy DC' Protest: It Has Certain Rules and Regulations"]

KEVIN ZEESE, organizer: We're standing on 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Treasury building and White House and the Congress.

I'm a lawyer, and I've been a political advocate for quite some time.

DR. MARGARET FLOWERS, organizer: I've practiced pediatrics for 15 years. We're saying public – publicly that what's happening in this country is no longer acceptable. And we want to do something about it.

ZEESE: We have occupied public space here in Freedom Plaza since October 6, and I think during that time we've affected the political dialogue, and we're just getting started.

We've tried all the traditional lobbying and e-mail petitions and phone calls, and it just gets ignored.
 


MARIEL ESCOBAR, protester: I could be right now on my catamaran in the Caribbean, but I think it's more important right here to be in Washington, D.C. at this point in time. I've had many occupations over the years. I'm a wildlife biologist. When somebody who wants peace on the planet is considered some kind of an extremist, and people who are war profiteers are treated as demigods, the world is upside-down.     

GREGORY HICKS, protester: I'm a professional entertainer. I have a degree in Fine Art from the Art Institute in Chicago, and I've studied at the American Conservatory of Music. We're all hoping to accomplish some kind of positive change back to a more humane form of government. The mandate of the federal government, and the government in general, should be to include the human needs of every citizen, not just the wealthy.

(End Video Clip)

BALDWIN: So I got my hands on this piece of paper. Take a look, you can see it here. This is what you actually have to fill out if you want to occupy D.C., if you want to occupy Freedom Park. So on it, you have your name, you have your emergency contact information you have to fill out, your medical – your medical information, and also at the bottom it talks about, you know, you have to sign I won't carry weapons, I won't vandalize property, and I'll respect quiet hours between 11 at night and 7 in the morning. That's just a few of the things for Occupy D.C., how about that?
 

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