NPR Marks Occupy Wall Street Anniversary, Even As Occupiers Admit It Was a Failed 'Political Woodstock'

On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR anchor Melissa Block announced it was time to mark the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street protests. “One year later, the tent camps are gone. So what's happened to the movement and the people who joined it?” Question: If it failed utterly, why celebrate the anniversary?

For "reflections" on the state of this amorphous radical movement, Block interviewed two Occupiers NPR had previously interviewed when the protests were most heavily celebrated by the media. She had no conservative questions (or critical guests). At least, Occupy Boston activist Jason Potteiger has a sense of humor about it, telling NPR it was a failed political Woodstock:

POTTEIGER: Looking back now, I think it was sort of like a political Woodstock that went on a little bit too long; at least that's how I joke with my friends about it. But for me now, I think it was a singular moment in time.

Block had sympathetically asked him: “Jason, you were camped out for quite awhile there in Boston. One year later how do you feel, disappointed? Did you see potential that was unfulfilled?”

Then Block turned to Sam Abrahamson of Occupy Chicago, who had correctly predicted at the height of the protests  it would fade away:

ABRAHAMSON [clip from last year]: I think that if you don't have a message, then yeah, eventually things will start to kind of fade out. Everyone will just protest themselves out and go back to business as usual.

BLOCK: Sam, do you think that's what's happened? Is everything back to business as usual?

ABRAHAMSON: Well, I think yes and no. I think that the Occupy name has sort of fallen out of favor. But I think that the spirit that was behind Occupy, this spirit of dissatisfaction with the status quo, I think that's very much in full swing and I think we're seeing that all over the world still.

BLOCK: What effects do you see on a tangible basis?

ABRAHAMSON: Well, I think that you're seeing a lot of people thinking more about economic issues and sort of getting away from the bipartisan narrative that there are only two sides to the political debate, the red team and the blue team. I think that sort of concept is starting to fall out of favor thanks to Occupy. That now people are seeing that well, both sides are being bribed by the same people.

The interview ended with Potteiger mourning: “We should have come out and had some big ideas to put forward to the American people. And I think that that's what they were looking for. So I am disappointed by that. And I think that in the future if something like Occupy happens again, hopefully there will be a structure within it that will allow the organization to speak.”

The problem with Occupy Wall Street was never a problem in allowing the organization to speak. The "objective" media rolled out the red carpet and the microphones and are still willing to let them speak, on and on.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis