Occupy The Media: Progressives Rule – Republicans Drool

A new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press explores the public’s attitude toward their elected representatives and the ideological viewpoints that divide our culture. The results reveal a surprising discordance between what the people want and what our representatives think we want.

If a neutral foreigner were to be deposited in America and asked to describe the aspirations of the American people based on his observations of politicians and the press, he might describe a populace consumed with conservative values, evangelical fervor, and personal greed. It’s an appraisal colored by the inordinately excessive volume of congressional Tea Partiers, moralistic spokespeople, and Republican anti-tax crusaders.

However, the true character of the American people has only recently been demonstrated via the actions of Wall Street Occupiers and their protests against the undemocratic usurpation of power by wealthy corporations and individuals, and their benefactors in government. We are a far more tolerant, charitable, and forward thinking people than we are portrayed to be.

Pew Survey - Political TermsThe first, and perhaps most notable, revelation in the Pew survey is that, contrary to the conventional so-called wisdom, when Americans are asked for which term they have a more positive impression, “progressive” ranks highest (at 67%) and significantly higher than “conservative” (62%).

This reverence for progressivism will come as a surprise to many in the media who seem to have bought the persistent complaints of conservatives that Americans lean to the right. That has never been true. There has just been a concerted effort to demonize the liberal label, which has been successful to some degree. Glenn Beck tried to do the same thing to “progressive,” but obviously that didn’t work at all. He must be scarfing down Prozac by the handful right about now. And even with the decades-long bashing of liberals, the term still ties with “capitalism” at 50%. Meanwhile, socialism fares pretty well at 31% for a nation that once blacklisted anyone who expressed sympathy for workers or the poor – a nation to which today’s GOP would like to return.

In addition to the disconnect on ideology, the media has presented a pitifully shallow analysis of the public’s affinity (or lack thereof) for Congress. It has been widely reported that the approval rating for Congress is at historic lows (11%). However, that number has not been broken down to reflect the specific object of the public’s disaffection – until now.

The Pew survey reveals that the nation’s mind is firmly made up as to who is responsible for our national woes. When asked who is to blame for the “do-nothing” congress, respondents chose Republicans over Democrats by almost 2-to-1 (40% to 23%). Republicans were also seen as more extreme in their positions (55% to 33%), and less willing to work with the other side (25% to 51%). Meanwhile, Democrats were viewed as better able to manage government (41% to 35%) and more honest and ethical (45% to 28%).

Fox Nation - CongressThis places media reports of low congressional approval ratings in context. What people hate about Washington are its GOP inhabitants. November 2012 can’t come soon enough for Democrats. And, as can be expected, Fox News leads the pack of truth-distorters by publishing an article on low congressional approval with an accompanying graphic that features Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but no sign of the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, or his cadre of lieutenants and committee chairmen who presided over the least productive congress in 60 years.

A similar contextual perspective can be applied to reporting on the Occupy Wall Street movement. While right-wing propagandists have gone to great lengths to insult the protesters as unfocused, unclean, and un-American, the Pew poll paints a very different picture. A plurality of 44% support the movement. Even more (48%) agree with its goals. An overwhelming majority (77%) believe that there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations. That includes majorities of Democrats (91%), Independents (80%), and even Republicans (53%).

This information ought to be a part of every story broadcast or published about the nation’s moods and preferences. The low opinions expressed in media polls do not exist in a vacuum. Those numbers have no meaning without digging further to understand why they are what they are. If you were to put Gandhi in a room with a coven of neo-Nazis and poll the public as to their opinion of the people in that room, it would certainly yield a poor result. The inscrutable press would then report that America hates Gandhi. Of course, a more detailed survey would show that it was only the Nazis that brought the polling down.

That’s precisely the sort of deception that the media is engaging in with regard to Occupy Wall Street and Congress. And it’s why we have to be continually vigilant in monitoring the media and correcting it when necessary. In the meantime, we, as progressives, can be proud that the people are on our side, and we can keep reminding the world that it’s the other guys in the room who are stinking it up.


11 thoughts on “Occupy The Media: Progressives Rule – Republicans Drool

  1. The Republican plan is to destroy the economy, blame Obama and hope that gets them back in power. This Pew poll gives me hope that the american people will see through this and turn the tea party ideologues out on their asses.

    • I think the GOP is so deluded by their own propaganda that they really think any of their candidates can beat Obama. They are going to fall hard when they lose.

  2. I have thought for years that the genius of the right wing was their insistence, and the general public’s acceptance, that the media was controlled by the left. It should be obvious to anyone that corporations own the vast majority of media outlets and are pushing the country to the right.

  3. Trying to extrapolate much of anything about this poll is a wasted venture. The poll looks thoroughly vague and doesn’t indicate anything about how people will be voting this year.

    And everytime left-wingers keep proclaiming that the Occuipy movement is helping their suses, they are showing themselves to be in very deep denial. The antrics of these Occupy brownshirts have worn thin long ago.

    Case in point: The illegal Occupy encampment in Eugene, OR (a very liberal town) was finally shut down after 5 fights broke out in a single night. One person was taken to the hospital that night; he died a week later. The city council came to their senses and voted to clear out the park.

    How did Occupy Eugene respond? 15 protestors showed up at Councilman George Poling’s house on Chrsitmas night. They protested loudly, banged on drums and set up tents on his driveway. 4 people were arrested. 5 days later, 5 more female Occupiers showed up at his house protesting topless. More arrests were made.

    Like I said, these people are brownshirts, even the women who weren’t wearing any shirts. The Occpuy movement continues to collapse into venomous anarchy.

    • Yeah, the poll from the Pew Research Center, which everyone regards as reputable, is “thoroughly vague.” Sure it is. Except that every other poll validates its findings.

      Nobody cares about your isolated stories about Occupy protesters who do not represent the whole group. I’ve got a few dozen stories about Tea Baggers who are in jail too.

      The right is scared of the Occupy movement, so they try to slander it. Frank Luntz even admitted he’s afraid. It’s because they have successfully changed the dialogue from one about debt and spending, to one about corporate corruption and the abuse of power. Most Americans relate to that and agree with the Occupy goals.

      And by the way, your repeated use of Nazi rhetoric doesn’t help to make your argument. It only makes you look like a fool.

      • “Nobody cares about your isolated stories…”

        Once again, you are lying. The polls have shown that support for the Occupy movement has cratered. And they are not isolated; these incidents (fatal beatings, fatal drug overdoses, rapes) have been happeneing in several of the major cities. These incidents outweigh the isolated incidents from Tea Party movement on an exponential basis. The arrest records and police records bear that out.

        “The right is scared of the Occupy movement, so they try to slander it…”

        Another lie. We simply point to all these incidents and let the facts speak for themselves. Prediction: President Obama will not embrace the Occupy movement during his re-election campaign. He knows that will destroy his chances.

        And since those protestors in Eugene have now trespassed twice on the city councilman’s house, that is intimidation and harassment. Poling has every right to be angry and scared. I stand by the “brownshirt” reference, because it fits.

        • And the latest from New York, according to the New York Post: 800 protestors tried to re-take Zuccotti Park. When the police moved in and broke it up, one officer was stabbed. And then hundreds of Occupods blocked the ambulance from leaving! Police arrested one punk in the stabbing incident. So when did stabbing cops (and then denying them emergency medical care) become an Occupy goal?

          This movement is toast.

  4. As a Brit I’d love to know exactly how those 60% unfavourable for “socialism” respondees actually define that word, and whether they know what it means in practice.

    Y see as a Brit I dont think 90% of the US public would know what “socialism” was if it was 50 feet high, bright purple and whacking em around the head with a claw hammer. Its not your fault…years of JE Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Billy Graham and every bible black snake oil salesmen, Roger Ailes, Savage, Limbaugh, Beck, Gellar, etc etc etc means you cant tell the difference between small s socialism (like Medicare) and Stalinism.

    The end result of this sad sack snake oil scam:

    Y’see….you ARE truly Exceptional after all!

    • pssst…..by the way. Over this side of the Atlantic in commie pinko EuroLand we call “progressive” socialism.


  5. The same applies in Australia where the media is uniformly right-wing. There are no left-leaning mainstream outlets whatsoever. Consequently the conservative party (which calls itself the “Liberal” Party downunder) dominates public opinion polls.

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