Networks and Cable Still Mostly Silent on Anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street Protests

Journalistic outlets, which were all too eager to accuse the Tea Party of bigotry, have been mostly silent in response to examples of anti-Semitism at the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests. Incidents caught on tape and the urging of the Anti-Defamation League to stop anti-Jewish bigotry have yielded very little coverage.

Since October 1st, a Nexis search reveals no discussion of anti-Semitism at the protests on ABC, CBS, NBC or during the prime time lineup of CNN and MSNBC. This is despite incidents of anti-Jewish comments at rallies in places such as New York and Los Angeles.

At one L.A. protest, now-fired teacher Patricia McAllister complained, "I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government -- they need to be run out of this country." (The L.A. Times covered this story.)

In New York, another protester derided, "So, the hatred of the Arabs towards Israel is understandable."

Although prime time MSNBC has failed to cover such incidents of hate, daytime anchor Martin Bashir did. On October 18, he pressed activist Russell Simmons and played a commercial from a Jewish organization attacking the hate.

In that clip, a man can be seen screaming, "You're a bum, Jew!"

The New York Times on Saturday discussed and dismissed anti-Semitism at the rallies.

Clay Waters of Times Watch explained:

While the New York Times was hypersensitive to any signs of racial prejudice among the massive, peaceful Tea Party protests, reporter Joseph Berger raised and dismissed the idea of anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street, in Saturday’s “Cries of Anti-Semitism, But Not at Zuccotti Park.”

Just two of many references: Reporter David Herszenhorn assumed racism was a force in the movement in an April  1, 2010 podcast: “One is clearly there’s a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote.” Those claims have never been substantiated. On July 18, 2010 Matt Bai reported about fictional “hateful 25-year-olds” at Tea Party rallies.


In the NYT piece, writer Joseph Berger noted complaints from the Anti-Defamation League:

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urged the protest organizers to condemn any expressions of anti-Semitism, but said, “There are manifestations in the movement of anti-Semitism, but they are not expressing or representing a larger view.”

The networks ignored Foxman's comments. Only PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly anchor Bob Abernethy noted, "While Jewish groups have been part of the protests, the Anti-Defamation League condemned what it says have been anti-Semitic signs at some of the demonstrations."
                       
The MRC's Geoff Dickens previously explained the difference between the Tea Party protests of 2009 and Occupy Wall Street:

In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.

If journalists pursued supposed bigotry by Tea Partiers, they should do the same for Occupy Wall Street.

For more on this, see a statement by the MRC's Brent Bozell.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org