Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Regarding the Wall Street protests

Dear Ms. Bellafante,

I read your article in the Sunday New York Times website with great interest:

Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim

It is a remarkable piece of right-wing propaganda masquerading as a news story.

You pretend to have had difficulty discerning what the message of the groups involved is.

Please allow me to summarize for you.

The message is that the USA is becoming more and more a plutocracy.

They decry that this growing economic inequality is accompanied by growing political inequality, the destruction of the middle class, and social and economic disenfranchisement of the poor.

They criticize, as you pointed out in a backhanded way, the doctrine of corporate citizenship, wherein corporations are given “rights” covalent with, and contrary to, the rights of citizens.

They point out the injustice of a legal system which mandates the judicial killing of a poor black man in the name of justice even though the evidence against him is largely now discredited.

If you were having trouble taking seriously the criticism of corporatism as antithetical to popular democracy, I suggest you read Prof. Joel Bakan’s “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power“.

As Robert Reich pointed out in his piece, “The Limping Middle Class” in the New York Times on September 3, 2011, the 5 percent of Americans with the highest incomes now account for 37 percent of all consumer purchases, according to research from Moody’s Analytics. As Reich noted,

“When so much income goes to the top, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy going without sinking ever more deeply into debt — which, as we’ve seen, ends badly… The economy won’t really bounce back until America’s surge toward inequality is reversed.”

Your article was not objective coverage. You made your lede not the “5 w’s and h” of a real news story. Instead you chose to focus on the most freakish and unbalanced participant, from the perspective of normative values, that you could find. Your entire piece was belittling and apparently intended to “otherize” and isolate the participants.

You seem to have the opposite idea of the duty of the news media from that articulated by former CBS News President and Edward R. Murrow producer Fred Friendly, “Our job is not to make up anyone’s mind, but to open minds — to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.”

Your article seems to have been deliberately constructed to belittle, to obscure the message, and to give people reasons not to think, and not to question authoritarianism and greed as organizing principles of society.

You made no mention of the shocking and illegal police-state tactics being used against these brave and principled, nonviolent protestors.

Shame on you, Ginia Bellafante. Shame, shame, shame.

sincerely,

Henry Edward Hardy
Somerville, MA, USA

PS This letter and your entire unedited response may be posted on my social media platforms and on my blog, https://scanlyze.wordpress.com

Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy

25 September, 2011 - Posted by | media, news, politics, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Ginia Bellafante to me

    show details 11:19 AM (1 hour ago)

    The Big City is a column and is designated as such by the fact that it has a title, ie The Big City. It reflects my opinion based on days of covering the protests.

    Not remotely sure how you could come away with the impression that a column that decries the wealth disparity in this country and calls the tax structure for hedge fund managers insidious is “a piece if right wing propaganda.” But I guess everyone’s a guest at the text as they say.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Comment by scanlyze | 25 September, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Ginia,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    You did say, “A blonde with a marked likeness to Joni Mitchell and a seemingly even stronger wish to burrow through the space-time continuum and hunker down in 1968, Ms. Tikka had taken off all but her cotton underwear and was dancing on the north side of Zuccotti Park, facing Liberty Street, just west of Broadway. Tourists stopped to take pictures; cops smiled, and the insidiously favorable tax treatment of private equity and hedge-fund managers was looking as though it would endure.”

    It doesn’t sound like you are sincerely saying that you yourself believe that the favorable treatment of hedge-fund managers is insidious. Your tone seems snarky or downright sarcastic. It certainly is not a straight-forward and sincere expression of that opinion, if indeed it is your opinion at all.

    Similarly, you did say, “Last week brought a disheartening coupling of statistics further delineating the city’s economic divide: The Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, which included more than 50 New Yorkers whose combined net worth totaled $211 billion, arrived at the same moment as census data showing that the percentage of the city’s population living in poverty had risen to 20.1 percent.”

    But you immediately turned it around to discount and devalue everything the protesters are doing and saying:

    “And yet the revolution did not appear to be brewing.

    Most of those entrenched in Zuccotti Park had indeed traveled from somewhere else; they had come from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and so on with drums, horns, tambourines and, in the instance of one young man, a knee-length burlap vest, fur hat, ski goggles and tiny plastic baby dolls applied to the tips of his fingers.”

    I think you doth protest too much. I did not misread nor misinterpret your article. And most of the over 100 people who commented on the article before comments were strangely closed at noon on the day of publication, agree with me and not with you.

    –Henry

    Comment by scanlyze | 25 September, 2011 | Reply

  3. […] Regarding the Wall Street protests […]

    Pingback by Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now” « Scanlyze | 7 November, 2011 | Reply


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