The Big Three networks' seeming desperation to report on "Occupy Wall Street" reached a new level on Friday, after they led their morning shows with New York City's decision to not clear the park where the protesters are camped. NBC touted how the demonstrators were "proclaiming victory" in response to the move. ABC highlighted the "celebratory" atmosphere, while CBS played up the "mood of jubilation" there.
Today show anchor Ann Curry noted that a "showdown [was] averted at the site of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement here in New York." She then turned to correspondent Maria Schiavocampo, who reported live from Zuccotti Park, the home base of the left-leaning protesters for about a month. The correspondent immediately zeroed-in on how one could "hear the celebrations taking place behind me here as protesters are proclaiming victory in their showdown with the park's owners."
Schiavocampo noted later in her report that "up to a thousand protesters gathered here in the very early hours of the morning to rally against what they called, 'the pretext for an eviction' and an attempt to silence their voices." She continued that "those evictions were scheduled to begin this morning at 7 a.m. but they have now been postponed and people are celebrating here because it looks like they will not have to leave for now."
Over on ABC's GMA at about the same time, anchor Robin Roberts stated that "it looks like protesters may have won out right now." Correspondent Cecilia Vega then reported live from the park, and stated that "what had been an extremely tense situation quickly turned celebratory when word came down that they don't have to clear out of this park. Moments later, after briefly touching on how "police in Denver moving in overnight in riot gear on protesters" and that "10 [were] arrested overnight in Seattle," Vega again highlighted that "back here...in New York City, the scene is a celebratory one."
An hour later, at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour, the ABC correspondent played up how the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters in New York were "calling this a huge victory for the movement" and added that the "crowd is growing in size...[and] growing in diversity...We just spotted hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons down among the crowd of protesters out there."
CBS's Jim Axelrod also reported live from Zuccotti Park just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of The Early Show, and gushed over how it was "really a remarkable half hour down here in lower Manhattan in Zuccotti Park. As dawn breaks over lower Manhattan, so too the tension that had been building here breaks." Later in the segment, Axelrod noted that "the word gets out about a half hour ago that the city apparently blinked and said, no, there won't be any cleanup at 7 o'clock this morning, postponing it indefinitely. And this mood of jubilation and celebration broke out, replacing this sense, as I say, of looming confrontation."
The CBS correspondent was the only journalist from the Big Three network to wonder about possible future confrontations between protesters and the New York City government over the park: "It's a fair question to ask at this point, given what this announcement has created in terms of a sense of the demonstrators feeling a bit more emboldened. The question is, what degree of difficulty does that add when the city does want to come in and get this place cleaned up."
On Thursday, a MRC study found that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement have received an enormous amount of positive coverage from the Big Three networks. ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted 33 full stories or interview segments to the protests during the first 11 days of October. Friday's coverage adds 5 more full reports and four news briefs to the number.
By contrast, the networks ignored the Tea Party movement when it first emerged in 2009, with only 13 full stories that entire year. As deputy research director Geoff Dickens noted, "Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial 'grassroots' movement."
The transcripts of the reports on the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Manhattan on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's Early Show, and NBC's Today show:
ANN CURRY: Now let's turn to this serious story that we're going to start with now this morning, the showdown averted at the site of the Occupy Wall Street movement here in New York. NBC's Mara Schiavocampo is there. Mara, good morning.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Ann, good morning. You can hear the celebrations taking place behind me here as protesters are proclaiming victory in their showdown with the park's owners. Now, earlier this morning the deputy mayor's office released a statement saying that the park's owners had decided to postpone today's scheduled cleaning because they would like to come to an arrangement directly with the park protesters, that means that no one will be asked to leave this morning.
Now, before that news came out, up to a thousand protesters gathered here in the very early hours of the morning to rally against what they called, "the pretext for an eviction" and an attempt to silence their voices. The Occupy Wall Street protesters have been here for one month now and the city indefinitely said that they could camp out – said that they could camp out in this private park indefinitely.
But earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that they would have to temporarily leave so that the park could be cleaned. Saying that the park's owners wanted to powerwash it. The protesters, however, took this as a pretext to an eviction. They said that they believe that they were trying to be swept out for good. They vow to engage in non-violent disobedience, they said they would have to be removed, which set up a potential showdown with officers of the NYPD. Now those evictions were scheduled to begin this morning at 7 a.m. but they have now been postponed and people are celebrating here because it looks like they will not have to leave for now. Ann.
CURRY: Alright, Mara Schiavocampo on the scene, thank you so much.
08:01 am EDT
NATALIE MORALES: 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters won a reprieve this morning. Demonstrators had been told they would have to temporarily leave their camp in a private park, so it could be cleaned. Many feared it was a pretext to evict them, and vowed to hold their ground. But this morning, the park's owners postponed the cleanup, and some protesters staged a small victory march down Wall Street and gathered under the Stock Exchange. Several arrests were made.
ABC's Good Morning America
JOSH ELLIOTT: And we're going to begin there on Wall Street. The breaking news now about the protest there. The protesters refusing to budge this morning as police did threaten to move in and clear them out. ABC's Cecilia Vega is there. And Cecilia, we actually again just heard now that police have postponed the deadline for the crowd to actually move.
CECILIA VEGA: Yes, Josh, there are several hundred protesters out here this morning. And what had been an extremely tense situation quickly turned celebratory when word came down that they don't have to clear out of this park. As you said, these protesters had been preparing for this 7 a.m. deadline to move out. The property owners of this park said they had to leave because this park needed a good cleaning – a power-washing, actually, after four weeks of camping out here. They said this park had become unsanitary.
Now protesters were refusing to leave, police were on stand-by, ready to move in. But as you said last night, the protesters spent the entire evening cleaning this park themselves, hoping to avoid a stand-off. There is tension here in New York City, but it appears there is tension mounting all around this country now, with police in Denver moving in overnight in riot gear on protesters. 10 arrested overnight in Seattle. Back here again in New York City, the scene is a celebratory one. The clean-up goes on. Protesters are chanting that the people of Wall Street will not be defeated, and it appears, Josh, that occupation will go on.
ELLIOTT: The Wall Street protests have now grown dramatically, really just within the last few minutes. It comes as those protesters celebrate a victory this morning. They won't have to vacate that park where they've been camping for about a month now. ABC's Cecilia Vega is there. And Cecilia, again, the crowds are swelling just in the last moments. What's going on?
VEGA: Well just in the last moments, as you said. Josh, good morning. They're calling this a huge victory for their movement. What had been a hugely tense scene out here quickly turned into a celebration when they got that news that they don't have to clear this park. Then it turned into a march, and now it's back to that sense of tension. Again, protestors are marching now directly to the New York Stock Exchange from this park near Wall Street. Police are following them in pursuit as they zig-zag down the streets of Wall Street. Protestors had been refusing to leave this park as that 7 a.m. deadline approached. Police were on standby, ready to move in. Again, that did not happen. Now last night here in New York City, the protesters spent the entire evening scrubbing this park down themselves, hoping to be able to avoid that standoff, following the orders of the park owners for a clean park come the morning. Again, in New York City here, though, this crowd is growing in size as they march through the city streets. It's also growing in diversity, Josh. We just spotted hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons down among the crowd of protesters out here.
ELLIOTT: Alright, Cecilia Vega, again as that crowd swells, you will be covering it all.
Elsewhere, police actually moved in on protesters in Denver and in Seattle, where at least ten people were arrested for refusing to leave a park.
CBS's Early Show
WRAGGE: Let's get right to our top story this morning- that's where we begin. Just about 30 minutes ago, New York City officials delayed a deadline for 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters to leave the park that they've been living in for weeks now.
CBS News national correspondent Jim Axelrod is there with the very latest. Jim, what is the latest at this hour?
JIM AXELROD: Well, good morning, Chris- really a remarkable half hour down here in lower Manhattan in Zuccotti Park. As dawn breaks over lower Manhattan, so too the tension that had been building here breaks. The looming sense of confrontation between the police and protesters as the city had told the protesters- at 7 o'clock this morning, right about now, they had to vacate the park and take all of their personal possessions with them, as the city was going to come in and clean what is actually a privately owned piece of land. The protesters had felt that was just a pretext to clear them out. And so, this sense of confrontation had been looming, and then, the word gets out about a half hour ago that the city apparently blinked and said, no, there won't be any cleanup at 7 o'clock this morning, postponing it indefinitely. And this mood of jubilation and celebration broke out, replacing this sense, as I say, of looming confrontation. Chris?
[CBS News Graphic: Wall Street Showdown: NYC Officials Postpone Clearing Of Park"]
WRAGGE: So Jim, so what's next? Now that the cleanup's been postponed, obviously, it's not any cleaner down there. So what's the next move?
AXELROD: Well, the city hasn't said when or if it will plan to come in. Now remember, the demonstrators are taking it among- upon themselves to get this place cleaned up, in response to the letter that they had received- that the city had received from the actual owners of the property. So the city has not said anything yet about when there might be any kind of cleanup. But it's a fair question to ask at this point, given what this announcement has created in terms of a sense of the demonstrators feeling a bit more emboldened. The question is, what degree of difficulty does that add when the city does want to come in and get this place cleaned up. Chris?
WRAGGE: CBS's Jim Axelrod in lower Manhattan for us- Jim, thank you.
JEFF GLOR: A potential showdown between New York City police and Wall Street protesters has been avoided this morning, as they have been discussing. Demonstrators remain at the park they have occupied for nearly four weeks now. The park's owners postponed a deadline for the protesters to move, so the park can be cleaned.
Overnight in Washington State, police arrested ten so-called 'Occupy Seattle' protesters who refused to leave a tent. But after that, the police left to the cheers of those remaining.
In Colorado, another tense situation- hundreds of 'Occupy Denver' protesters are camped out near the capitol. They have been told to clear out or face arrest.