Occupy Movement All Over the Sunday New York Times, from Three-Kid Summer Camp to Police at the Pool

July 16th, 2012 3:38 PM

It was all Occupy Wall Street all the time in Sunday's New York Times, with no less than four favorable references to the left-wing sit-in scattered throughout the paper. The Tea Party movement certainly hasn't permeated the pages of the Times in such friendly fashion.

Meanwhile, the paper continues to downplay or ignore violence committed by the Occupy movement. The Times did not cover the riot by Occupy LA the night of July 12, where four officers were injured and 17 protesters arrested after protesters tried to transform a monthly "Artwalk" event into a "Chalk Walk" protest and begin hurling rocks and bottles at police officers in riot gear.

The front of Sunday Business was dominated by Loren Feldman's expose, "The $580 Million Black Hole – A couple asks why Goldman Sachs couldn't see the wreck just ahead." No one seems to quarrel with the idea that, as Feldman writes, "With Goldman Sachs on the job, the corporate takeover of Dragon Systems in an all-stock deal went terribly wrong. Goldman collected millions of dollars in fees -- and the Bakers lost everything when Lernout & Hauspie was revealed to be a spectacular fraud." But Feldman's news report channeled left-wing Occupy sympathetic lingo:

This, of course, was before the scandals of the subprime mortgage era. It was before the bailouts, before Occupy Wall Street, before ordinary Americans began complaining about “banksters” and “muppets” and “the vampire squid.” In short, before Goldman Sachs became, for many, synonymous with Wall Street greed.

A grand total of three kids at an Occupy summer camp in Brooklyn were worthy of a story on the front of Sunday's "New York" section. Reporter Alan Feuer wrote:

Last week, on a gloriously breezy Brooklyn evening, Justin Wedes and Rodney Deas, two original members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, were cooking burgers on a charcoal grill in the courtyard of their latest project -- an unsanctioned, unofficial Occupy Wall Street summer camp.

The camp, which runs through Aug. 24 at a redbrick former schoolhouse on Maujer Street in Williamsburg, was only three days old, and fellow Occupiers, swept up in the pioneering spirit, had been coming by in droves to lend a hand. A few guys from Occupy Tech Ops had spent the afternoon tweaking the old computers and hooking up the Ethernet connection, and an Occupy artist had silk-screened 20 T-shirts (with a book-and-raised-fist logo) to serve as camp uniforms. Occupy librarians were finishing the reading room, and some Occupy farmers were discussing how to bring in provisions. A tattooed video jockey from Occupy TV was milling about, recording it all on a Sony hand-held camera.

The only thing missing at that point were the campers. By Wednesday, there were three.

It's hard to parody exchanges like this:

On the camp’s second morning, two campers -- which is to say, the only two -- Leslie Rojas, 12, and Jonathan Smith, 14, sat at desks in the second-story classroom, receiving a lesson on the Freedom School movement from David Dobosz, a retired city public-school teacher. They were reading from a textbook, “Freedom Summer,” by Deborah Wiles, and the question of the day (“What is freedom?”) was chalked on the blackboard.

The children looked weary, eyes glazed over, slumping in their seats.

“There’s just so much to learn,” Mr. Dobosz encouraged them, “especially with the top-down corporate control of education that’s sucked the life out of the heritage of our children.” He glanced at his students, with a sigh. “All right, why don’t we do some science...”


Then, on Maspeth Avenue, Mr. Wedes asked the campers what they knew about the Occupy effort. Leslie seemed unsure about the subject, but Jonathan said at once, “It was the fight against the 1 percent by the 99 percent.”

“That’s exactly right!” Mr. Wedes exclaimed. He congratulated the boy on having put it so succinctly -- despite, he said, “the efforts of the mainstream media who usually try to confuse you and make things sound confusing, when they’re not.”

Also on the front of Sunday's "New York" section, reporter Ginia Bellafante wrote on troublemakers at a reopened pool in Brooklyn and backhandedly defended the reputation of police: "Here’s to Law And Order At the Pools."

In the era of stop-and-frisk practices, continuing reports of corruption and the brutalities that attended the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, it is easy to forget, and can be difficult to acknowledge, that a police presence, on its own, can yield beneficial social utility. Outside the pool in the South Bronx, as one officer from the 41st Precinct explained it, the officers present have been involved in the community all year long. When they see someone in line who has been in trouble with the law, they approach him or her and explain that the rules must be followed. The leverage the police have, the officer said, is that the users want to return to the pool the next day; it means something for them to be able to use it.

Who, besides liberal writers at the Times, have forgotten that police can be beneficial?

In Sunday's Arts & Leisure, Larry Rohter wrote on the 100th anniversary of the birth of lefty folksinger Woody Guthrie, and inevitably Occupy came up: "'Your Land,' And Guthrie's, Preserved."

The Smithsonian Institution's “Woody at 100,” a three- CD boxed set commemorating the centennial of Woody Guthrie’s birth, begins, as it must, with “This Land Is Your Land,” his most famous song. But instead of the standard, sanitized lyrics taught to schoolchildren as a kind of patriotic bromide, it offers an alternate version with an extra verse that is a biting, defiant and subversive jab at what today would be called the 1 percent.


The politically charged populist anthems are present too, of course, and one revelation of the boxed set is just how many of them have been made current by the Great Recession that began in 2008. “The Jolly Banker” takes a swing at the money men who, when “the times they are rotten” and “the bugs get your cotton” will “come and foreclose, take your car and your clothes,” while “Jesus Christ” recasts the New Testament as a lesson in class warfare, and “Pretty Boy Floyd” includes the couplet “Now as through this world I ramble, I’ve seen lots of funny men/Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.”