CNN Ignores Illegality of 'Squatting,' Asks How It Can Help 'Occupy' Movement

Once again hosting liberal Van Jones to discuss the "Occupy" movement, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux asked him how the illegal practice of protesters "squatting" on foreclosed homes could help the "Occupy" movement take off.

Malveaux didn't exactly question the legality or the ethics of protesters secretly living in foreclosed homes, but instead gave the former Obama-appointee and Marxist some PR time to tout what new direction the "Occupy" movement will take.

Jones, not surprisingly, offered a defense of the squatters and compared them with the protesters of the 1960s. "When the young people sat in during the 1960s, they were breaking they rules, but they called attention to a bigger injustice. That's what these young people are doing – these protesters are doing," he sounded.

"What does it accomplish, however, for the movement – besides seeing obviously potential confrontation?" Malveaux asked of the images of protesters being forcibly removed from houses by police. And twice more she did not ask Jones about the questionable tactics of the "occupiers," but simply how squatting would help the movement.

"I mean, people are in the homes, they're kicked out of the homes. How do you take it to the next level here?" Malveuax asked, teeing up Jones. "How do you actually – you get attention. You raise attention. How do you get some action here?"

A transcript of the interview, which aired on December 6 at 12:38 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[12:38]

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: "Occupy Wall Street" movement is now expanding its reach today. Marching to Washington to occupy Congress and also squatting on foreclosed homes across the country. So what does it all mean for the future of the movement that is trying to draw attention to economic inequality? Joining us from Los Angeles is Van Jones. He was President Obama's green jobs adviser back in 2009, and he's currently the president of "Rebuild the Dream." It's a group that is working to restore some good jobs, economic opportunities across the country. So Van, you and I have talked many times before about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.

And I get it here, right, this is a new tactic. We're going to go from pictures of police arresting, moving the protesters out of the public parks to these pictures of police moving people out of these empty houses. So we got the visual here. What does it accomplish, however, for the movement – besides seeing obviously potential confrontation?

VAN JONES, president, "Rebuild the Dream": Well, first of all, I don't speak for "Occupy Wall Street." But I'm happy to speak up for "Occupy Wall Street." I think it's more serious than that. The movement is going from fighting to defend the right of a few thousand protesters to sleep outdoors to fighting for the bigger right for millions of people to sleep indoors. People have said, they are going too far and bending the rules or breaking rules. I think that the banks have gone too far in breaking the rules.

MALVEAUX: But Van, how do we make sure that this is not more than a show? How do you translate this into something that's substantial, that is actually going to change?
 


JONES: Well, think about this from the point of view of history. When the young people sat in during the 1960s, they were breaking they rules, but they called attention to a bigger injustice. That's what these young people are doing – these protesters are doing. They are calling attention – sure, I am much more concerned – much less concerned about a few protesters helping people back into empty homes. I'm concerned about the fact that the banks have been throwing millions of people out of homes and I think that society has not paid attention.

There is so much pain out there. One of things I don't think has come through yet is the heartbreaking stories of these folks. It's veteran – it's all over YouTube now, this veteran – he went through everything trying to modify his home. He went through the program. Hundreds of pages of paper stayed on hold for hours and the sheriff still knocked on his door.

There is just no relief. And I think that ordinary people are looking around, they're saying the banks got bailed out, we were good to them but these same banks are being so mean to other people. I think it's a wake-up call for the media and the politicians to figure out, hey, how can we actually make a difference now to deal with what is a crisis level of foreclosure and still no discussion?

MALVEAUX: So Van, I'm understanding. I mean, I hear your point here. But again, how do you take this, right? I mean, people are in the homes, they're kicked out of the homes. How do you take it to the next level here? How do you actually – you get attention. You raise attention. How do you get some action here?

JONES: Well, first of all, I think that the Congress and the White House put forward a home loan modification program that did not work. It was a disaster. Congress now needs to take another look at this. We are three years into this crisis. Certainly, the protesters shouldn't be asked to figure out how to do the home loan modification program, but the media should now start telling the stories of people who are losing their homes.

These are heartbreaking stories. The unopposed demolition of middle class families and livelihoods by banks that were bailed out by American taxpayers is just – it's breaking people's hearts across the country. I think the media should tell the individual stories of folks, veterans and others who are suffering. And I think that Congress needs to look at this home loan modification program and actually come up with something that works. You got people who want to stay in their houses. We don't want to have these blighted neighborhoods. You've got people who are willing to pay something, but nobody will work with them. So now just like in the '60s when the young people did the sit-ins to get attention, you got people who are sitting in now.

This is not fun and games. This is real life. These are real people who are really hurting, who have been left out, who are being thrown out, and finally somebody is doing something about it. I think it's nowup to us to step forward with comprehensive solutions.
 

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