While the Occupy Wall Street movement passes its one month anniversary making preparations for a much chillier second, the conventional voices of media and politics are starting to find their approach to the movement. In a United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll released yesterday, some 59 percent of adults either completely agree or mostly agree with the protesters. On top of this, it also shows that 65 percent of respondents said they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the rallies. The average person is paying attention to the movement and thus, politicians are giving the movement their attention. As the Republican presidential candidates crystalize their OWS deflection on the debate stage, saying it’s a misjudgment in target and that the real culprit is the Obama administration, on the other side of the 2012 presidential race President Obama is now hoped to visit Zuccotti Park, according to the Occupy Wall Street website.
However, despite the hard won political attention, the occupation conducted its own internal poll, created by City University of New York sociologist Hector R. Cordero, that found 70.3 percent of Occupy respondents identified as politically independent. This goes a long way in explaining the movement’s strict aversion to politics thus far, stating on their website, “We are a movement of people empowerment, a collective realization that we ourselves have the power to create change from the bottom-up, because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians.” The media’s attention, while largely unchanged in the past week, does offer some instructive side stories. National Public Radio discovered that Lisa Simeone, a freelance radio host for the NPR show “World of Opera,” attended a non-violent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. As punishment, NPR effectively persuaded a company for which Simeone worked to fire her, thus removing her voice from the public airwaves. Also of note, former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller opened his Monday column with, “Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street?” The next day, after seeing the response to his op-ed, Keller posted a follow up to the column stating that, “Most of the reader comments and e‑mails in response to Monday’s column have taken issue with my slightly snarky reference to Occupy Wall Street. Okay, maybe not ‘slightly.’ ” As the OWS movement heads into its second month it has gained the media attention and the majority of the people’s respect. Question is: What are they going to do with it? PS. Allison Kilkenny, who launched her new blog Uprising for In These Times yesterday, discussed the National Journal poll and other issues with RT’s Alyona Minkovski:
Michael Solomon, a fall 2011 In These Times editorial intern, is a graduate of the University of Oregon.