Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Digby quotes a tweet from Public Policy Polling:

Going to have some pretty bad numbers for Occupy Wall Street tomorrow...movement not wearing well with voters

Digby adds the obvious:

I don't know exactly what these numbers say, but if the headline is accurate nobody should be surprised. All over the country people are hearing that the Occupiers are animals who are masturbating in public and shitting in the streets. The local news is luridly portraying the protests as hotbeds of crime infested with lunatics and drug addicts.

That stuff isn't disseminated just for kicks. It's done to poison the minds of the public before they have a chance to identify with the protesters.

I know that liberals don't want to see this in those culture war terms, but there are a whole lot of others who can't see these things any other way.

And I know that Occupy, with good reason, thinks of itself as very, very different from the Democratic Party, but in one way, at least, it's exactly like the Democratic Party: it's utterly oblivious to the fact that the main driver of political consensus in America is naked, unabashed right-wing Fox/talk radio propaganda.

Yes, there are differences: Insider Democrats think the centrist press is far more influential than it actually is. These Democrats also believe that, in terms of influence, MSNBC cancels out Fox and talk radio. The average OWSer, by contrast, seems to believe that the media is reprehensible across the board, in a uniform way, but that vivid, in-your-face protests can go over the heads of the media and speak directly to the people.

The reality is that the media still decides what we think, and the far-right media works much, much harder at driving that consensus than the centrist press does. The centrist press keeps the coverage bland, and then the Murdoch/talk radio axis declares its fatwas, and those decide what we think.

The Occupy movement, like the Democratic Party, doesn't grasp that it needs to do everything it can to minimize the damage from right-wing-media demonization. Both groups think they can just be heard above the noise from the right-wing noise machine -- neither group realizes the utter necessity of throwing sand in the gears of that machine.

Come on, Occupy. You have to do better than Democrats, dammit.


UPDATE: Here are the numbers.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement's support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street's goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.

Voters don't care for the Tea Party either, with 42% saying they support its goals to 45% opposed. But asked whether they have a higher opinion of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movement the Tea Party wins out 43-37, representing a flip from last month when Occupy Wall Street won out 40-37 on that question. Again the movement with independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding with the Tea Party 44-40....

PPP's polling still shows anger about wealth inequality, so

what the downturn in Occupy Wall Street's image suggests is that voters are seeing the movement as more about the 'Occupy' than the 'Wall Street.' The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message.

Or, rather,voters are seeing the movement as more about whatever the New York Post says it's about, with no counternarrative presented as clearly and in as loud a voice.


c u n d gulag said...

Liberals/Progressives/Democrats, and now OWS, all try to appeal to the rational mind.

Conservatives understand one thing - guts rule over the mind.

If you're hungry, I mean really hungry, you can't think straight. At that point, all rational thoughts revolve around food/water.

And Conservatives understand that there's something even better to concentrate the attention, and that's a swift kick in the nuts/private parts.

And so, while Liberals again appeal to the minds, the Conservatives are out there smacking people's privates with batons - electrified when necessary.

And so, both groups do the same dance, over and over again. When Liberals reach out to try to lead the dance, the Conservatives kick then in the balls, and while they're doubled over, bitch-slap them, and then stand there and laugh.

Conservative Bonus Points: The right specializes in dehumanizing the people they oppose. And that's what they did to OWS.

Our long term prognosis?
The right will blame everything on Liberals, the 60's, and the DFH's.

And they will do so long after the last DFH is dead.

Liberals won't win until we come up with a nut-crushing strategy of our own.
Sad, but true.

gone said...

I support the idea, but I'm getting sick of the bloggy slurping of the "heroes." After the 10th story about someone being pepper sprayed, regular people wonder why these idiots keep going back for more. The crackdowns are a blessing in disguise. When one method stops working, start another.

BH said...

I too would like to see OWS "do better than Democrats, dammit" at framing the public discourse, so to speak. But as you went on to point out: "voters are seeing the movement as more about whatever the New York Post says it's about, with no counternarrative presented as clearly and in as loud a voice". I'd go further & say that that no matter how clear a counternarrative is available to present, the loud voice is essential; and where are our Murdochs to be found to supply that volume? Going one step further: if the economically-strapped majority of the electorate can't or won't discern & pursue its own self-interest despite the blatherings of the NY Post, Fox, et al., or without equally-"loud" media input in opposition thereto - well, then, the basic problem lies with the voters themselves, & their abandonment of thought in favor of passive acceptance of media input.

If nothing else, the tiresomely predictable flip in OWS polling makes me a little less disappointed in the Dems' messaging performance. It's been far from sterling, but then look at the room they're trying to work.

Grung_e_Gene said...

As someone who has attened several OccupyChi GA's and been present for one Direct Action and stood the street corner my question for all is: What exactly do you want them to do?

Big Media Coverage will never, ever be favorable because when OccupyChi shows up en masse to a simple CTA board meeting or protests Rahm's plan to slash half of the Mental Health Hospitals while privatizing the others, to whom do you think the Media is going to turn for an official reaction?

The Protesters?

markg8 said...

Actually what the public sees is innumerable mostly inaudible "mic check" interruptions of speeches by Walker, Rove, and any number of other wingnut speakers on Facebook that are about as ineffectual as code pink disruptions of congressional hearings. We're watching people get their asses kicked by cops in what looks like a determined effort to be allowed to sleep outside all winter. Not many see that as a goal they aspire to or want to associate with. This movement has become focused more on the nonexistent right to camp out in urban public parks than the very real crimes committed by Wall St.