A Protest the Media Can Love
After a decade of blogging, the hunt for mainstream media bias gives me about the same thrill as finding three-leaf clovers. Even so, the Providence Journal’s front page declaration in its Sunday edition took me back a bit:
“The voice of the masses”? Since Sunday, multiple polls have emerged suggesting that it just ain’t so. From The Hill:
The movement appears to have struck a chord with progressive voters, but it does not seem to represent the feelings of the wider public.
The Hill poll found that only one in three likely voters blames Wall Street for the country’s financial troubles, whereas more than half — 56 percent — blame Washington.
And again from USA Today/Gallup:
When asked whom they blame more for the poor economy, 64% of Americans name the federal government and 30% say big financial.
78% say Wall Street bears a great deal or a fair amount of blame for the economy; 87% say the same about Washington.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the supposed ideological overlap between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party, but actual poll results from “the masses” seem to trend more toward the latter than the former when the question moves toward whom to blame and (more importantly) where to focus efforts for change. Indeed, describing his own poll-based research, Douglas Schoen describes the Occupiers as follows:
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
But all of these results were released after the Providence Journal decided what narrative to append to the Occupy Providence event, so perhaps the size of the crowd put the group in the Projo’s “masses” category. Of course, recalling that the Projo estimated the initial Tea Party rally at twice the size, one would expect objective news reports to apply the same narrative, right? Well, no:
And of course, in the case of Occupy Providence, the “masses” were assisted by a free front page advertisement in the state’s paper of record on the morning of the event:
Surely, to achieve even greater attendance, the Tea Party must have had a similar courtesy. Umm…
The kid in me would like nothing more than to head down to the Providence Journal newsroom to test out the echo.