With Occupy Unmasked being released today in select theaters, this morning’s edition of CNN’s Early Start with Zoraida Sambolin invited David Bossie, producer of the film and President of Citizens United to discuss the film. However, things got hazy towards the end of the interview where Sombolin shamelessly tried to convey the narrative that Occupy is a “peaceful” movement.
Sambolin, ironically, fed into the premise of the film itself – which centers on “the liberal establishment and mainstream media portray[ing] the Occupy Wall Street movement as organic and nonviolent.” In arguing how you can't judge a movement by its "worst members," she mentioned how “Adbusters” promoted the notion of “Occupying” Wall Street and decided to defend the movement – while castigating the Tea Party as “racist.” However, Bossie wasn’t going to let that form of abject slander slide.
SAMBOLIN: Okay, let's look at the time line just because I really want to hone in on this. I want to really establish who started this. So July 13 "Adbusters" magazine calls for the September 17 peaceful protest. And on September 9, We Are The 99 Percent tumblr. September 17, the protest begin in Zuccotti Park. October 1, 700 protesters arrested in March across the Brooklyn Bridge. And October 5, 39 organizations including labor unions join Occupy Wall Street -- 25,000 people march and mass arrests, and there are mass arrests. So the timeline really starts rather peacefully.
BOSSIE: It does. I don't say that it doesn't. What I'm saying is, that the -- that the insidious nature of this, and really, you know, within our film, we have undercover cameras inside of our film that show these people are organized by the unions and they're paid by the unions to attend these rallies, too. So it's a little bit disingenuous for everybody to think that they're just peaceful demonstrators who show up for no reason.
SAMBOLIN: The movie trailer compares Tea Party coverage with that of the Occupy movement. The Tea Party has been accused of racism, of inciting violence. Take a look at some of the signs from the Tea Party rallies as well here. Do you think that it's really fair to judge a group based on its worst members?
BOSSIE: First of all, comparing the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street movement is just nonsensical. There's no comparison. When the Tea Party movement has a single person who shows up with some crazy T- shirt or a button on, they self-police themselves and they kick them out or the media picks on them and make them – the face of the organization. That's ridiculous. The Occupy movement – there's nowhere in the Tea Party movement are they destroying American cities, running rampage over the police department and confronting the police. It's just – not even close.
Bossie mentions union astroturfing at these events, but he could have mentioned the direct involvement some members of the media had in this event. Folks – who were not only involved in propagating a false narrative of the movement’s organic roots – but strategized and discussed ways to destroy our free market society. Yes – I’m referring to former freelance writer for The New York Times and Salon.com contributor Natasha Lennard.
Furthermore, to bash the Tea Party because they’re racist is beyond absurd. The most famous incident involved racial slurs being hurled at Rep. John Lewis two years ago during the health care debate, which wasn’t authenticated – nor did any camera catch the alleged event – yet the media decided to propagate this false narrative of racism anyway.
Lastly, concerning Sambolin’s statement that Bossie and his film take the “worst members” of Occupy to portray them in a bad light is egregious.
Did the Tea Party leave thirty tons of garbage lying around Los Angeles? Did the Tea Party engage in serial rape within their encampments across the country? Did the Tea Party peddle drugs and intimidate people with violence? Where was the widespread and in-depth reporting on the sanitary conditions these camps inflicted on local communities and the serial criminality?
The Tea Party has had zero criminal charges filed against their members – while Occupy has had a whopping 417 cases of illegal activity cited against them. These aren’t isolated incidents. As always, CNN wanted to show the worst of the Tea Party and argue for the best of OWS.