Saturday, November 19, 2011

The secret OWS memo -- and beyond

( Update: The following should be read in conjunction with Glenn Greenwalds' terrific piece outlining the way Fox collaborated with the New York Times (!) to smear OWS.)

As many of you know, MSNBC has found an astonishing memo written by a well-known PR firm, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford; the intended recipient was the American Banking Association. This document lays out a battle plan against the OWS movement.
CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”
The memo outlines a 60-day plan to conduct surveys and research on OWS and its supporters so that Wall Street companies will be prepared to conduct a media campaign in response to OWS. Wall Street companies “likely will not be the best spokespeople for their own cause,” according to the memo. “A big challenge is to demonstrate that these companies still have political strength and that making them a political target will carry a severe political cost.”

Part of the plan CLGC proposes is to do “statewide surveys in at least eight states that are shaping up to be the most important of the 2012 cycle.”
What does this tell us? In part, it proves a point that I've been making all along: From the beginning, libertarians have been telling the protesters "Don't cooperate with Dems." The people offering this counsel are Republican ratfuckers. The memo reveals the true story: Behind the scenes, the Wall Streeters have confessed that the thing they fear most is a Dem/OWS alliance.

Face facts: A protest in the park is just a protest in a park. An elected politician wields power.

Here's more from the memo:
The memo indicates that CLGC would research who has contributed financial backing to OWS, noting that, "Media reports have speculated about associations with George Soros and others."

"It will be vital," the memo says, "to understand who is funding it and what their backgrounds and motives are. If we can show that they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent it will undermine their credibility in a profound way."
My God. Do they really believe in this "Soros controls the world" nonsense? I thought that this conspiratorial hogwash was just a fable for the rubes.

The memo outlines a plan to conduct oppo research and to create a media backlash against the movement. I would argue that such a backlash is already underway.

Cannonfire reader Affinis offers some very good research here indicating that the mainstream media are now engaged in a coordinated effort against OWS. I offer some lengthy quotes -- but before you read, please note that I've given the text a light stylistic polish. (The original words are at the other end of the link.)
Yes, at the very beginning OWS was subject to much MSM ridicule, and there has been plenty of negative coverage throughout. But for a time, quite a bit of the coverage was somewhat positive.

So there's been a radically negative shift in coverage, and it feels nigh universal.

In the print version of the NY Times, the only coverage of yesterday's protests (based on a brief skim) appears to consist of a photo on front page (showing an apparently violent scene, with no indication of the scope of the protest), and a minimalist story on page A22 (a relatively short article with some text on A22 and remainder on A23).

As for the CBS Evening News...

"Organizers promised tens of thousands of demonstrators disrupting business as usual here in New York. Frankly, we've seen a fraction of that number, closer to 1000....Now the main event is tonight, a rally scheduled for the Brooklyn Bridge, which of course would disrupt rush hour again. Organizers are talking about tens of thousands of protesters. However, so far, Scott, the number of protesters in the hundreds."
So the narrative in sites like CBS and NY Daily News is: It all fizzled - not much happened - they just annoyed people - move along.

On ABC News, the main headline most of yesterday was "Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Disruption."

Now, this headline directly implies that OWS called for "A day of disruption". In fact, OWS called for a "Day of Mass Action" or "A day of action." Nowhere have I been able to find OWS participants calling for "A day of disruption"...

There was also a headline yesterday on ABC that referred to "Occupy Wall Street's 'Day of Destruction'".

[I wrote to ABC early yesterday, but of course this was not corrected.]

The 'Day of Disruption" language appears to have started on ABC, then propagated everywhere, shaping everyone's perception of what OWS was seeking to do yesterday.

ABC and FOX also propagated the false meme that OWS wanted to shut down the subways.

There was an Occupy Wall Street "must reads" tab at the top of the main ABC News page. The link led to this headline: "Wall St. Commuter: 'We’re All 99%. This Is Ridiculous.'" The article begins with these words: "As part of Occupy Wall Street’s plans for its largest protest ever, occupiers may garner more disdain from the 99 percent than the 1 percent by attempting to clog New York’s subway system." There was also the link to the video:"NYC Commuters Find Protest 'Shameful'"
ABC then showed the wackiest signs and most clueless protesters. For example, one protester proclaimed: "The concrete goal is to claim the concrete. This is our park..." The signs shown included such messages as "Eradicate males", etc.

So unlike the NY Daily News and CBS, ABC's narrative is: Huge turnout - massive number of protesters - man, they're wacky - I can't understand what they're protesting about - they're weird - a freakshow of crazy clueless people swarming the bridge.
It seems that almost all of the media is singing from the same hymnbook. It's like watching the propaganda parodies in the movie Robocop.

I've been around a while, and I'm used to this kind of thing, but not the simultaneity of the shift across all the media... and the magnitude of the shift....and the journalistic errors (yes, the MSM is really sloppy, but the degree of false/erroneous material here is striking).

So I'm wondering....exactly what is happening here?
Looks to me as if the major media got the memo.

Affinis goes on to argue that the media shift may have resulted from a shift in Democratic reactions to OWS. For a few weeks, some Dems showed an interest in supporting the protesters.
Now that Democrats have largely dumped it, the Democratic-affiliated segment of the press no longer has a reason to treat it at all properly/accurately.
This assessment, in my view, gets cause and effect backwards. The Dems did not "dump" OWS before the shift in the coverage. Rather, the media shifted its coverage to force the Dems to dump OWS.
Joe, have you seen this:

I'm particularly aroused by the term limits and end the fed crap. It sounds so much like Ron Paul's platform that I'm doubting this movement more and more each day.

I'd appreciate you comments on this.

There have been other so-called OWS Declarations that are the fever dreams of the right.

What you are seeing now is the same methods that were used by the print and broadcast media to elect Bush the Lesser then Ronald R. Obama.
the way Fox collaborated with the New York Times (!) to smear OWS.

Why the exclamation point? Fox News and the New York Times both serve the interests of the financial elite.
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