DeBlog: Covering OccupyMN

We’ve been covering the OccupyMN “occupation” for 10 days now. But viewers are starting to question: What’s the point?

Of course there’s a large chunk of our viewers who wonder — what’s the point of the protest itself? Generally speaking, the crowds in front of the Government Center in Minneapolis have been relatively small. They’ve tried to get arrested repeatedly, and they’ve failed. The main issue over the past couple days seems to be tents: they were told they can’t have tents, they brought in tents, the tents were confiscated.

People: if you’re focused on tents in the Government Plaza, you’re focused on the wrong issue.

Gail Duncan of Maple Grove emailed and raised an interesting issue: “I notice the media is emphasizing coverage of occupy wallstreet on the security issues and keeping the protesters compliant with the law rather than why this organization had to be created in the first place. Where was this intense media coverage for security of American home values, jobs and retirement funds when the Wall Street financiers were selling the future of our children and grandchildren down the tubes?”

Reg Chapman and I were talking in the newsroom last night about how the coverage of the protest itself probably should stop fairly soon. Frankly, the fact that crowds haven’t really mushroomed tells us something about Minnesotans. Perhaps we’re not really the protesting type; perhaps this crowd of protestors doesn’t resonate with the middle class working people who are upset about Wall Street, mortgages, bank fees, etc; perhaps it’s getting cold.

But the bigger issue is that the crowd is smallish, and there just isn’t news happening.

And in fact, that’s where I’m inspired by Gail’s email. Because we stop covering the protests or protestors doesn’t mean we stop covering the issue that motivated the original Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

What are the economic questions you want answered? What kind of coverage would tap into the anger about the economy without just showing this small group in Minneapolis. This group is a symbol of what’s happening, but its small size doesn’t really say anything to me about the desire for coverage of the economy.

If you want that kind of coverage, you need to make your voice heard.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Citizen

    Jason. You sound as though you would be more comfortable covering all the touchy feelly subjects like fall festivals, and finding Minnesota. Perhaps some in-depth coverage of what the protesters’ hopes for change are would be more appropriate. Or some specific facts and statistics about WHO the protesters are? Where they come from? Their plans for getting through the winter if they change they ask for doesn’t start to happen? Lots of unanswered questions. I remember when ‘CCO would have done a better job when Don Shelby was around or his predecessor Dave Moore.

    • Bill

      Citizen…99.9% of people don’t care about 50 protesters. Talk about wanting a feel good story. Let’s see some hard hitting stories critical of Obama and how he is taken the car from the ditch, and driven it over the cliff. Lets hear about Solyndra, Fast and Furious. Oh, there is so much more, but you won’t hear that on the local or national news.

      • jackactionhero

        “Let’s see some hard hitting stories critical of Obama and how he is taken the car from the ditch, and driven it over the cliff.”

        I find your comment laughable and also insulting.

        And you’re wrong about your “99.9%” comment and you’re wrong about the “50 protestors” quip as well.

        Basically, your whole comment was a steaming pile of made-up rubbish. Have a nice day.

      • Jason DeRusha

        The CBS Evening News broke the Fast and Furious story. So I’m not sure what you’re getting at, Bill.

        • Bill

          Jason, there is no information on Fast and Furious daily, as well as Solynra, Sun Power etc. Do you think reporting by another show once is enough? Alot of people get there news from WCCO (I don’t; don’t feel bad, I don’t watch the other locals either). There is much better info and more on the internet.

          • Bill

            Sorry, should’ve said “new information daily”.

    • Jason DeRusha

      Citizen- you completely missed my point. I’m clearly stating that the underlying issues have merit and warrant coverage. That is different from spending weeks profiling every single person in one of the smaller protests I’ve seen in this state.

      They don’t know what they want. They don’t have uniform specific demands. One of their people said in our story last night they need to get their act together. We have no obligation to continue covering THEM. WE do have an obligation to our viewers to keep covering the economic issues that brought this to a head in the first place.

      • Citizen

        And, Jason, you missed my point. I think people have had the issues covered ad nauseum and would perhaps prefer more human interest. Look at the hits you get and comments you get on the protester story–way more than the other stories with perhaps the exception of the Vikings!

        • Bob

          Jason, relax a little. Bill is absolutely right. No one cares about these people because they do not have a point they are trying to make. If you want to be a real reporter cover the news that people are interested in. What really happened in Solyndra. Why did we give them $535M? What possible good would the new Jobs bill (Stimulus 2) be? Do we not have enough jobs because government isn’t spending enough or because we are not competitive with other countries where our jobs are going? Assuming you are intelligent enough to pick the latter, why aren’t we competitive? What would make us more competitive? Why are companies off-shoring jobs? What can be done to bring more jobs back? Those are the questions people want answers to. Your don’t have to demonize corporate america. They are doing this for a reason.

          Drive 5 blocks from wherever you are right now and walk into a park, business building, grocery store, or whatever is there and ask 3 people if they care about the Occupy Minn protesters. Then go do your job.

          • Rebecca

            Bob, your concerns about jobs, your concerns about American competetiveness, your concerns about government waste, your concerns about things you’ve not written here but which I bet are impacting you or people you know like foreclosure, no health insurance, etc. All those things are being actively discussed at the plaza.
            I can’t stress this enough. What’s happening down there isn’t about left-right politics (there’s everyone from socialists to Ron Paul supporters), it isn’t about government versus corporations. It’s about a broader system that’s left most of us disenfranchised and fighting among ourselves in this partisan political way so we don’t start stepping back and asking much more dangerous questions. In the US, the top 400 people have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 150 million. Imagine the fear those 400 people would experience if the 150,000,000 instead of arguing against themselves started asking why the imbalance. And not just in ones and two asking that question, but asking that questions as a whole.
            While I recognize you’re angry and may have a knee-jerk reaction to what I’m saying here, I felt I had to reach out and expose our common interests. It’s what we’re doing and what Occupy MN is all about.

            • how to find out?

              Thank you for trying to give a clearer picture of what Occupy MN is about. The problem is that most people can’t get down there to talk to these folk. I have a sense that the media coverage is not providing a good picture of what the movement is about and trying to do I think this might be a reason why there’s so much doubt and disparagement. I realize things are just getting rolling, but is there some way to get the word out so people can check them out? Is there a website for example? I’m a Social Studies teacher and I’m very interested in finding out more information on the potential growth of this movement.

              • lance

                the only growth your going to see is on the sidewalk under their sleeping bags.

        • Alistair Charleston

          Jason is right on with is statements, the protestors are silly and not newsworthy.

        • Jason DeRusha

          i did not make that comment. Not sure who thinks it’s funny to post as me- but that’s really obnoxious. Sorry about that Citizen.

        • Phid

          Citizen, the bottom line is that the protesters have generalized grievances about a range of issues. Don’t like a bank? Then don’t put your money there. Tired of your low-paying job? Join the crowd. Don’t like “greed”? You already told us that we’re not supposed to “legislate morality”. So in the end, all these “Occupy” protests are newsworthy more because they involve a lot of people congregating in certain spaces, less because of the content of their message, which is partially incoherent.

      • Jeff

        People are at a point where there is o direction, they need some answers

      • Ron Paul for President

        Very true citizen, wcco only covers dumbed down, irrelevent nonscence. Heres a subject your should cover to get to the root of the economic problems: The private (run for prophit) Federal Reserve Bank. And start covering Ron Paul instead of what CBS headquarters allows you to cover.

      • bob white

        Jason, you corporate media shill. Have you noticed that the protest is country and world wide? Also that the majority of US have a favorable opinion of Occupy movement? Why are you not doing more coverage?

    • huey

      These are the Top contributors to the obama camp. You people are protesting the wrong people you need to be down at the White House marching obama saved GM(unions) with my tax dollar I wonder how much of a kick back he will get.He recieved $141,183,502 from Finance, Insurance & Real Estate.

      University of California $1,648,685
      Goldman Sachs $1,013,091
      Harvard University $878,164
      Microsoft Corp $852,167
      Google Inc $814,540
      JPMorgan Chase & Co $808,799
      Citigroup Inc $736,771
      Time Warner $624,618
      Sidley Austin LLP $600,298
      Stanford University $595,716
      National Amusements Inc $563,798
      WilmerHale LLP $550,668
      Columbia University $547,852
      Skadden, Arps et al $543,539
      UBS AG $532,674
      IBM Corp $532,372
      General Electric $529,855
      US Government $513,308
      Morgan Stanley $512,232
      Latham & Watkins $503,295

    • F

      What I don’t get the protesters only see what they have been told to see they need to look at their leader and what he has taken money from the evil bankers and wall street

    • Career Guy doin quite well

      When the face of the “protest” is a shirtless guy with a blue Mohawk & facial piercings,people tend to not take this group all that seriously..The “protesters” have yet to outline any objectives,goals or articulate plan of action moving forward..Maybe it’s just time to return to their crash-pads & take a bath & find a job.

  • Matt

    The reason they have almost no one protesting is that the cause they are protesting is ridiculous and mid-guided. The concept of being the other 99% in the US is stupid, voting takes a simple majority, are the other 99% so inept they can’t organize a group of people to vote someone who actually represents their stance? No, the problem is this is the small minority that want the world to cater to their every need whether it’s best for the common good or not. Go get a job and stop complaining.

    • jackactionhero

      “No, the problem is this is the small minority that want the world to cater to their every need whether it’s best for the common good or not.”

      FALSE. That is not what they want at all, and never has been.

      More aptly put, that is the label YOU want to apply to them, in order to get others to ignore what they’re saying. At least call it what it is.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I would like to see a review of just what new banking and investment laws and reforms — if any — are in place since the 2008 Crash.

    • Matt

      It’s called Dodd/Frank two bought and paid for liberal hacks. See the problem isn’t not enough government, but rather to much government. Stop the bailouts and protections, trash Fanny and Freddie and let the market pick the winners.

      The only really “fairness” is to ensure it’s eaqual for all.

      • Bill

        Bob Moffitt…you know those new fees you are paying at your bank? Direct result of Dodd/Frank. It’s so the banks can recoup loss of fees on CC transactions. Banks/3M/Best Buy…it doesn’t matter; they don’t pay for government regulations, it gets passed on to the consumer. Don’t blame the banks; blame congress.

        • jimmy

          Not true look at the banks profits that are out today. Citibank profits up 74%, Well fargo up 21% those new fees are more about greed than any regulation. What we need is more regulation and higher taxes on the banks.

          • Bobby

            Jimmy- The more regulation and higher taxes on the banks will directly result in them raising expenses, fees and charges. More regulation is NOT the answer.

            • jackactionhero

              Republicans want fewer regulations for the same reasons criminals want fewer cops.

        • llp

          yep the banks will make 13% more then under the old rules.

  • Jeff Prager

    Why don’t you cover Freedom House, Chatham House, the ICG, the Brookings Institute and who their corporate donors are and exactly how they work to destabilize countries on behalf of corporate America? What about how the Group Of 30 is actually writing legislation for Congress to pass so that corporate coffers grow larger at the expense of the American civilian population? Maybe you should cover Otpor! and their direct connection through Ivan Marovic (who preaches to OWS protesters), the cofounder of Otpor! and CANVAS, to Occupy Wall Street? Maybe if you spent some of your time actually reading you might one day become an adequate mainstream commentator. Until then, you’re just another parrot with a pen.

    • Bob

      Jeff, you need to relax a little and loosen your aluminum hat. It may be cutting off cerebral circulation. But keep low in your house so the black helicopters can’t detect you :)

  • Kevin

    Where to start? Obama bailed them out. Obama did not prosecute. Obama accepted more money from Wall Street than anyone else. Why are these idiots protesting against Wall Street. Go to the source, protest Obama and his croonies….How do these people protest and maintain a job…..God I wish I could….

    • Citizen

      @Kevin. Right now Mitt Romney has accepted $1.5 million from Wall Street. President Obama has accepted a lot less money.

  • nathan

    I have been down at the plaza 8 of the 10 days Occupy MN has gone on. What I have witness is an ongoing, open exchange and engagement of a broad ranges of issues, from home foreclosures to questioning whether capitalism should be jettisoned all together.

    Although you are correct, Jason, that there is not a unifying message that we all are standing behind, some points get repeated over and over again, regardless of who you speak to. The imbalance of wealth between the top 1 or 2 percent and the rest of us is entirely too great. The bank bailouts were poorly orchestrated, and basically did nothing to address the suffering of hundreds of thousands of home owners being foreclosed on around the country. We are told that there’s no money for basic government services, while at the same time we continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollar to fund multiple wars and military conflicts and line the pockets of defense contractors. Millions of people lack even minimal health insurance coverage, and next to nothing has been done to really address that. These are commonplace messages amongst those who have been part of Occupy MN, and all issues you could cover in much more in depth ways.

    At the same time, I find the general pressure coming from mainstream media sources to “have a clear message” rather comical. Even though the Tea Party has never really developed a clear set of messages that most of it’s members stand behind, other than wanting “less government intervention” and “lower taxes,” media outlets covered them for months on end during the last election cycle. Occupy Wall Street is all of a month old, and most of the off shoots are less than two weeks old. Developing a clear set of messages takes time, which I’m aware doesn’t make for “hot” news coverage. And actually, I think this goes down to the failure many Americans have to understand the way civic engagement actually works. How trying to develop a collective path forward is messy, requires lots of listening and a willingness to compromise at times. All of which are nearly totally absent in our federal and state legislatures these days, and also are sorely lacking amongst everyday citizens as well. So, I see these Occupy protests also as training grounds for civic engagement as much as they are for developing specific messages and paths forward to advocate for.

    • Bobby

      Training for civil engagement? Really? How about take a shower, cut your hair and get involved in politics as a means of civil engagement?

      • jackactionhero

        Grow up, bobby. You’ve got a long way to go.

        “Cut your hair”? Seriously?

      • nathan

        Bobby, your insult is about 50 years late. This isn’t the 60s, and I don’t have time to be offended.

    • Katharine K

      Concur, Nathan. The core message of what occupiers want seems clear enough. Having a “cohesive message” is over-rated. The surge of hope that civic engagement can make a difference is a strong indicator of the brilliance and high potential of the 99% Movement.

      …However, I do wish that move folks were showing up. How do we get that to happen?

      • Alex

        A cohesive message is not over-rated, it’s the way you get more people to show up, understand and respect the movement. In order for a movement to have a real impact and continue to grow you must have a cohesive message. The reason occupy has blown up so quickly is because there is a REAL problem and people are VERY upset. It will eventually fade out and/or be written off by other people unless it gets a solid foundation and a message.

        • nathan

          Alex, I agree with you that a cohesive set of messages is helpful, and I think that over time, some of the things I mentioned above can become part of a more well rounded platform. There is a strong desire amongst many folks in the Occupy groups to be both inclusive and to address systemic issues, which aren’t easily boiled down to sound-byte form content. As I speak with people on the plaza, and read what’s being written online, I find that we collective have a problem with wanting easy answers quickly.

          Perhaps people will grow impatient with the uneven, not terribly exciting process of developing coherent messages and paths forward together, but I think it’s worth the attempt, even if the arm chair commentators want to blast about lies and call us every name in the book. There’s also the issue of leaders, which again I would argue develop over time, and are embraced over time.

          The other thing people seem to fail to understand about the numbers on the plaza, or in other places around the nation, is that there is constant flux. People stopping by for am hour on a lunch break from work. People stopping by for a few hours with their kids. People coming mostly for the GA meetings. People coming mostly for the marches and other actions. And people like me who come and go as I can attend. Furthermore, there are plenty of folks doing outreach in their local communities, speaking about the issues being discussed on the plaza, and coordinating whatever their social action groups are doing with the Occupy group. In other words, just as people are speaking about systemic issues like entrenched poverty and declining support and wages for everyday workers, they are also acting in systemic ways – i.e. not just huddling on the plaza in one large group.

          So, while I think larger numbers on the plaza would get more attention, and probably would help with legitimacy, it’s also the case that grassroots activism is taking new forms, including more use of the internet, and more spread out and smaller groups forming the base of action. If we can figure out how to develop enough of an umbrella for all of this, to rally people behind, there’s no telling how much change could come to this nation.

    • Jaclyn

      Nathan, I completely agree. Thanks for this comment!

    • Jason DeRusha

      Thanks Nathan for your thoughtful comments. It took the Tea Party quite awhile to develop a cohesive message. I think there have been higher expectations for Occupy because of the Tea Party, and you’re right that it may be unfair.

      My thought here is to step back from day-to-day coverage of the people in the one spot – and broader, more thoughtful coverage of the issues that have many Americans upset — from the Tea Party to the Occupy people. I think some of the issues are the same – just a different view on who to blame.

  • keep an eye on 'em

    I thought this was an interesting story. It gave a peek into the newsroom and the reasoning process behind what to cover and how much to cover it. I think Gail’s E-mail raises another issue WCCO might want to look into: the organization behind the demonstrations. Who are they? How are they funded? Is Soros really involved at all? Do they have a plan of action beyond protest and civil disobedience? This “movement” has been widely disparaged as insignificant and rudderless, but it has just begun. Right now they know what they want but not how to get it. Keep your eyes peeled ‘CCO, the so called Tea Party started in much the same way.

  • Jaclyn

    I have been at the Occupation the last two weekends, and I would really love for their to be more discussion in the media about the Prison Industrial Complex. I went to a wonderful teach-in at OccupyMN about our prison system and corporate control of private prisons. I think this issue could really use some coverage. People need to be aware of the fact that prisoners are being payed slave wages to make the furniture and appliances that we use every single day. And it’s happening right here in Minnesota. It would be amazing to see some good investigative journalism on this topic. Thanks for your work!!

    • Jaclyn

      *there. Sorry, it’s early.

    • Bill

      Seriously? They are in prison! They are lucky to have a prison job to work at which will teach them a skill on the outside! Their ability to get out of their cell for a few hours is worth more to them than money. If they don’t like their few cents an hour, then don’t do the crime!

      • Andrea

        Bill, take into consideration that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the WORLD. And it’s disproportionately minorities and poor who end up in the slammer. We are creating our own slave nation. Brilliant stuff for corporations who must constantly find ways to cut costs. I am sure there are people on the outside who could use those jobs – but then they would have to pay them minimum wage.

        • Concerned

          “And it’s disproportionately minorities and poor who end up in the slammer.”

          I have heard and seen in print a variation of this many many times and am dumbfounded at the intent. Who is it that does the crime? Did anyone else make these people create the situation they are in? It does not matter what color of skin you have……….if you break the law you will go to jail or prison. There is NOTHING racist about that !!!!

          As far as prisoners making things that get sold and only make a tiny income from it……..I had the understanding that the profits go back to the prison to help pay the expenses so to ease up on tax dollars paying for everything. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. I think that is just!

          • Cate

            I am a white upper middle class woman born to college-educated parents. I didn’t CREATE my situation any more than a black woman born into poverty with parents working for minimum wage. We are all ultimately responsible for our own actions, but individual crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. Context matters. And if you get caught selling drugs at 18, you’re less likely to be able to get your life back on track unless you can afford a great attorney. The cards are stacked against poor people in the justice system. I don’t think I’ll convince you otherwise, though, so I won’t dwell on that.

            Sure, some of the profits from prison labor go back into the justice system–otherwise they wouldn’t contract with major corporations. But obviously the corporations stand to benefit enormously from prison labor. When corporations have an interest in maintaining large prison populations, isn’t that problematic? Someone who spends their prison sentence constructing panties for VIctoria’s Secret, and not learning valuable skills, is far more likely to reoffend upon release. That hurts the larger community and that is NOT just.

            • Concerned

              That is a line of bull. I started out in poverty….no one gave me a free ride and I couldn’t afford to go to college. But breaking the law and government handouts was NOT is not an option! With a high school diploma I started out at the bottom and worked very very hard to do better than myself. I am middle class and proud of what I have accomplished. I am not rich but make a decent living for myself and no one gave me that. Anyone can do that if they have the drive to do better for themselves!

              If the jails and prisons are filled with mostly minorities…….it is their own fault…..they broke the law and NO ONE made them do it. This is not a racist issue. It is not a tough desicion to not sell drugs, rob someone, or hurt someone…….it is common sense!

              • Cate

                I clearly stated that everyone is responsible for their own actions, BUT that people’s situations are important too. Your work ethic and drive are admirable and you have much to be proud of. But to say “I did it; therefore anyone can do it,” is a line of bull.

                Again, choosing to commit a crime comes down to the individual. But when people in my community don’t have access to good education and living wage licit employment, they are statistically more likely to enter a life of crime, and that hurts other individuals in the community. It makes it more likely that I will be mugged walking down the street. I’m not okay with that. Why not create a framework that makes it possible for more people to work their way out of poverty?

        • hmmmmmj, interesting

          I think you clarified what Jaclyn was saying. Private prison corporations selling products made by inmates raises some interesting questions. The most obvious being: Where does the money go? What kind of oversight is there? The potential for corruption here seems pretty high.

    • Morgan

      I am afraid this is why Occupy will fail. One person is tackling lobbyists, some are going after the 1% and now this person is going after they Prison complex. Seriously…get your act together, I am rooting for you but you are all over.

  • keep an eye on 'em

    P.S. The protests remained rather small, and it may be significant that the numbers didn’t grow. It is important to remember however, what it takes to get people into the streets. An individual has to be highly motivated to join in a demonstration that requires a significant time investment and the risk of arrest. For others to join there ranks, they must offer a plan of action or proof that they are being heard. What made the Tea Party into a viable movement was the willingness of conservative politicians to utilize their message and support. I see that Reuters is carrying a story that Obama is going to tap into this movement to push his jobs bill and go after the GOP. As we move into an election year it is quite possible that this movement will be given further impetus by liberal politicians seeking a message and support base. Once the politicians coopt this movement, it may well coalesce into a more solid organization with a more coherent message and plan of action. It ain’t over yet. I see that 50 people hit the streets in Rapid City, SD. That takes some guts in South Dakota. Keep up the good work Jason. You don’t suck.

  • Roger

    There is no story here, there never was. This was started by a bunch on kids that had nothing better to do and was joined by political operatives trying to exploit the protest. If you truely want to talk about the economy you will have to go where you never went before and that is the starting point. Government intervention into a free economy. Starting with government influencing the banks to provide low income people loans that they didn’t qualify for and continuing with Obamas take over of healthcare, carbon taxing treats, fossil fuel threats, pro union intervention, government bailouts, and general anti-business attitude. This economy will not get healthy until business and working people feel comfortable enough to start spending again.

    • there is a sad story here

      Explain how government influenced the banks to provide low income people with loans. The easy money conditions created by the Fed were intended to prevent deflation and allow economic expansion. It was lack of government intervention through oversight that allowed banks and financial institutions to create the housing bubble through improper lending practices and the creation of a market in mortgage debt. Consumers have been spending more than predicted, and the government sector has been spending as well. The one sector of the economy that has not been spending is the corporations, even though they are more cash rich than ever before. They have no need to hire as they have outsourced almost all aspects of production. They are holding our economy hostage until they are given license to do as they please. They will not hire in this country until wages are depressed to third world status and labor is destroyed. As before the Great Depression, the money became concentrated into the hands of the few, and they did very stupid things with it.

      • Roger

        You are absolutely wrong and if you did your homework you would not waste your time with this babble.

        • there is a sad story here

          You are absolutely hilarious. You cannot respond with a reasoned argument and resort to the lame tactic of accusing me of being uninformed. In a debate or discussion, abandoning reason and resorting to personal attack is a sure sign of defeat. Your post was in fact, incoherent babble. It was a self contradictory rant. You accuse the government of creating a situation that could have been prevented by government intervention. I do my homework all the time. Please do yours.

          • Naomi

            Roger is correct. The Community
            Reinvestment Act (CRA) and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie
            Mae and Freddie Mac are both Governmental vehicles that were used to distort the
            housing credit system, crash the housing market and ultimately the broader
            The New York Times edition of December 21, 2008 reported on home ownership in the
            United States since 1990. In 1993 home ownership was at 63 percent, and by the end
            of the Clinton administration it was 68 percent. Under the Bush administration, it
            grew by about1 percent to 69 percent.
            The Times also reported that in 1999 the Clinton administration put pressure on
            Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase lending to minorities and low-income home
            This was of course a high risk policy that is partly responsible for today’s
            financial crisis because it opened the door to subprime predatory lending and
            other irresponsible borrowing and lending practices that abused the mortgage

  • justacoolcat

    Although the protests are small locally as an aggregate they are large(ish) and becoming larger, so I think it’s good that they’re covered. Also, if our police force feels it’s important enough to staff then we should probably have reporters there to make sure everything is on the up-and-up for both sides. That said, I do think at this point the Occupy crowd probably gets too much coverage for their numbers and their impact. I’m all for the protests and I’m happy that in this day and age of public apathy that some people are still willing to stand up for what they believe is right. In the 80’s after the S&L crisis people went to prison. It seems our modern day justice department is more interested in keeping medicine from sick people in California or holding hearings on whether an athlete used steroids to be troubled by the near collapse of our economy. As many people have mentioned prior this is primarily a government problem not a Wall Street issue, but maybe the best way to get the Gov to listen is to protest their banker bosses.

    • justacoolcat

      As an aside, here’s an excellent history of how the S&L happened and what was responsible for the collaspe.
      Although it’s a different scenario there are parallels and much like the current problem our gov’t did contribute to the ongoing problems through both action and inaction. So both sides of that topic should be careful what they wish for.

  • Rebecca

    A brief word to those who are asking a lot of questions about Occupy MN. Why don’t you just go down there and ask people? Ask them who is sponsoring them if you’re thinking there’s corporate sponsorship. Ask them why they’re there. Ask them if they have any solutions. Your questions will be answered honestly and openly by nearly anyone down there.
    One of the amazing things happening down at government plaza is exactly this: face-to-face conversations. It’s easy to stay online and act the troll or naysayer, to get in someone’s proverbial face. But if you’re in front of their actual face, maybe some good communication can be accomplished. It’s interesting down there. And it’s the friendliest place I’ve ever been in Minnesota.
    Haters gonna hate, but if anyone has any legitimate curiosity and the time, head down there and start chatting.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    As a high school kid during the sixties and a college student during the early seventies, I took part in protests against the Viet Nam war. Had I lived in the South and if I was older, I would march along with the Freedom Riders. There were real sensitive issues here. Not so with what they are protesting at the Government Center. As a sixty year old woman who’s about to purchase my first home, I just don’t get it. Sure I worry about job layoffs and foreclosure, but what do their protests really accomplish?

  • A Good Question In Dire Need Of An Answer | Shot in the Dark

    […] Jason DeRusha from WCCO asks the same question: Reg Chapman and I were talking in the newsroom last night about how the coverage of the protest […]

  • Dave

    Many of us on the right see the Occupy media coverage as the same you guys did when Air America started up. Every MSM news outlet ran stories on “liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh”. It seems to be a lot of free publicity for a cause that most mainstream Americans don’t care about.

    Really most of us, even when down on our luck (like I am right now) just want to work hard and try to get our heads back above water. We don’t want a bunch of free stuff from the government.

    But you could cover on the anti-Jewish signs and comments that have appeared at many of these events. It seems the old “Jews control the banks” crowd has reappeared.

  • Exp

    Honestly, I would like to see reports on how many of these big corporations are making sizable donations to politicians, and who’s hiring the lobbyists that are pumping the politicians for votes. This would be an indicator of Corporate America buying legislation to their benefit.
    Then, I’d like to see a report on how many of these execs took huge bonuses or golden parachutes after they cratered this country.
    As soon as any corporation becomes so big it influences the direction of the whole country’s finances or politics, then they are too big and need to be controlled. By being this big, and having that many financial resources to throw around, they effectively defeat the Democratic process by making donations to politicians’ election funds in return for favorable votes, effectively taking the vote from the people of many to the boardroom of few. THAT needs to end. This whole ideal is based on the fact that if Americans are kept stupid and busy, they won’t have time to pay attention to what they’re doing. This isn’t tinfoil hat territory; just look at the education cuts time after time and work hours going up year after year. I have no problem with companies getting big or succeeding, but as soon as they are big enough to try and influence politics, then they become a detriment. NO company should be allowed to make political contributions. Period.

    • George Soros

      Exp … why don’t you re-write your comment, and exchange “corporations” with “unions”. That is the same complaint the right has about Unions. Fine, corporations can’t donate, and neither can unions. Can’t have it both ways.

      • Exp

        If they’re influencing lawmakers to make money for the Union hierarchy, as execs are, then I have no problem with forbidding it. However, a good portion of the laws unions lobbied for have the benefit of helping all of us. You know, minimum wages, weekends off, those little things. Of course, if you’d rather work 365 days a year for a dollar a day, then you’re more than welcome to move to China if you wish. I have a family to support.

    • Citizen

      @Exp. Jim Hightower publishes a list at his Hightower Lowdown newsletter blog detailing corporations, the dollars they donate, and who they donate them to. Check it out. You don’t have to wait for Jason DeRusha to do the research and write it up. The information you seek is already out on the ‘net.

  • Charles

    Here are two concrete proposals.

    1. Eliminate flash trading. (Remember the flash crash) Institute a small tax on each sale, less than .01 cents. The trading firms with supercomputers will get hit hard, True invesotrs will not be affected.

    2. Prevent members of the SEC from joining the firms they investigate after their SEC tenure. The Madoff scandle should have been caught, the evidence was pretty blatent. However, the SEC has a “do nothing” culture fostered by the revolving door between them and the banks.

    Is there a “left wing” versus “right wing” arguement for these proposals? I think it is something we can all agree on.

  • MS

    I think the remarks here are a good demonstration of the original question asked. What do we want to know about this group and the reasons behind the movement? I’m not sure we know, but we are all slowly waking up to a new reality and it is not pretty. This is truly an unprecedented time in our history as a nation. No one ever said peace and prosperity was a given. We are all learning that the hard way right now. Unprecedented growth with occasional downturns has marked most of my adult life. But now, our collective future is called into play. I am often amused that people want to blame Obama for this. This is an economic cycle that has been long in coming. Each president we have had, both democrat and republican have done a great job of kicking the can down the road….now it is at the edge of the cliff …so let’s blame the most recent guy. Please….did anyone really think that any president could turn this ship around in 3 years? Wars that were not paid for, economic crises, etc. We all loved our credit cards and loved what we could buy with them…don’t think about the future, just enjoy NOW! That is the AMerican Dream…you can have whatever you want, if you work hard for it…unless you can’t afford it …and then you buy on credit. But we have all collectively sold out the future by pretending that bills would never come due. And now they have.

    I think we are getting the government we deserve. People scream they don’t want to pay more taxes, yet look around and see what you get for your money…not all of it is bad or poorly spent on waste. When your house is on fire, do you want the fire department to show up, or an ambulance when you have a heart attack, or need economic support should you lose a spouse or young children lose a parent? That is what Social Security is for, I know, as I received it as a young girl when my father died unexpectedly. My mother wisely saved it for me to use for college. doing so gave me a better future and a productive one. Do you enjoy the park system here in the Twin Cities and beyond? Visit Texas and see what city parks systems you find there… you won’t find much…they don’t pay taxes to support such a thing. Most people are willing to pay more if they can see the greater good in doing so. We have voted on levys for school funding, stadiums, all kinds ofhting that not all of us will use. It is part of being in a community. We have lost a sense of common good..which is too bad. We all need to tthink a bit more broadly about how we want the future to look for all of us. Not just what we personally want right now. There is a lot to bicker over and lot of greed has gotten us to this very place. But some of that is our own and we need to own that too. The issues we face are not black or white, left or right, but complex, nuanced, difficult to resolve and require critical thinking. That is what i would like to see a story on….people who are willing to sit down and work earnestly to solve problems. But that is hard to find in all the shouting.

  • OK!

    OK THE BOTTOM LINE HERE IS THAT YOU ARE BLAMING OBAMA FOR EVERYTHING IT SOUNDS LIKE, BUT HELLO! OUR COUNTRY WAS WAY IN DEBT EVEN BEFORE OBAMA BECAME OUR PRESIDENT! Because of the wars and etc, he is just trying to fix it and since we are way over are heads it is really hard to do. We need to stop outsourcing also that’s one reason no jobs. Some companies are just trying to get away with not paying employees alot so they are outsourcing. So it hurts us in the long run.

  • Dan

    Jason, for starters I think the reporters should ask tougher questions of the protesters. If somebody is complaining about being foreclosed, ask if he/she refinanced and took equity out of the home; ask how much consumer/credit card debt they carry, ask what percentage of annual income went toward making house payments, ask how much down payment they made for the mortgage.
    Likewise, for students mad about huge tuition loan payments, ask what they majored in, ask what kind of annual salary they thought they would make after graduating, ask if they are willing to take any job or relocate to an area (like North Dakota) that is experiencing an economic boom, ask why, if America is such a lousy place, thousands of people have risked their lives to escape places like Cuba in order to work and live here.

  • Joy2u

    I think some people seem to think that OccupyMN and the Occupy Wall Street movement should come up with a solution. Actually, that is the job of Congress.

    The Economic System is broken – that is the message. The Occupy movement is protesting a system that is not working anymore.

    These are people from many walks of life and with often differing political affiliations who are making a statement that there is something very wrong …. Americans are working harder than ever – productivity has risen, corporate profits top CEO compensation has skyrocketed, but worker salaries and buying power have declined.

    Many at Occupy MN have jobs, and some are business owners. Yes, some are unemployed – it is a fact that we are at record unemployment, so why would that be a surprise to anyone?

    And small crowds? – What you see is the tip of the iceberg – a moving iceberg. People come and go – they are spread out over both sides of the plaza. They meet in coffee shops to get warm. Food is prepared offsite and brought in. People have been there round the clock for going on 2 weeks now, with the crowd swelling to estimates of 1,000 at times on weekends. And many people unable to get down there follow via livestream or internet livechats.

    @ Bob: Sure, ask people in your supermarket or park if they care about Occupy MN. But if you want to know the real story, ask them about the state of the economy today. Listen to their stories about themselves, their friends and relatives who have lost jobs and can’t find another, whose homes have been foreclosed because the bank wouldn’t even talk to them about renegotiating their mortgage, and about those who have died because they couldn’t afford health care.

  • Joy2u

    Jason, here are some economic questions….

    Why are banks raising fees when profits are reportedly sky-rocketing? Really.

    Just what is the current “inequality gap” in the US? This can be explored in many different ways, such as wealth, income, percentages. From what I have read, the gap has increased quite a bit. What are the explanations for that?

    Some people talk about flat rate income tax. Just what would that mean to someone earning minimum wage; to a family just above poverty level; to upper middle family earning $200k: to the very wealthy? For example, how would it affect their disposable – and discretionary – income.

    Bank of America paid $11 million to 2 ousted executives? What is that about?

    If student loans were “forgiven”, where would that money come from …what is sallie mae and how is it funded?

    Many polls indicate majority of Americans support higher taxes for the very rich. Yes?
    And some of the very rich support increasing taxes on rich….Warren Buffett, etc….
    So why does the elected congress block this?

    What percentage of Americans are a below poverty level, what percent are “poor” – explain the definition of poor – and a typical poor family, what they have, how they live. How have these percentages changed over years? Explain why median income has fallen while the GDP has increased.

    Thank you – would love to see these things addressed.

    • Jason DeRusha

      Thanks, Joy2u. Great questions.

  • mll

    Leave capitalism alone and keep government out of it. Capitalism works on its own without interference. People who have enough time to sit around protesting day and night have too much time on their hands and they are wasting my tax dollars.

    • Cate

      Just to clarify–how are they wasting your tax dollars? Everyone I know who has spent time at the OccupyMN protest is doing it on their time off from work, or is using vacation time specifically for the protest. No doubt there are lazy unemployed people protesting, but I think most people would be surprised at the actual demographics of the protesting groups.

      • Bill

        Cate, did you think about your question? The waste is the cost for extra law enforcement to babysit the children. Already more arrests at occupy MN than all Tea Party events combined. New York has already spent over $5 million in overtime babysitting. Where do you think the $ comes from Cate?

        • Cate

          Ah, it’s late and I had a brain fart. You make a good point. Although I’m okay with some additional police resources going towards covering any protest. The police exist to keep the community safe, and potential threats to public safety present themselves in a variety of ways. I do want to note that this week’s MPD bulletin did state that the protest in Minneapolis has been uneventful, and has required fewer squads than anticipated.

        • Cate

          Also, as far as I can tell there has been one arrest at OccupyMN so far. I know that arrests are rare at Tea Party events, but what you said seems a little off to me. Do you have a link to the article citing the other arrests?

    • Charles

      “Capitalism works on its own without interference. ”

      You mean like when children worked in coal mines in the 19th centrury?

  • Norge

    @ Jason;”The CBS Evening News broke the Fast and Furious story” Are you kidding me?? You have really entered a new low for the lame-stream Jason! CBS REFUSED to say one word about F&F for months after FOX first started detailing the operation and those known to be involved and released e-mails etc. It wasn’t until a WH spokesman cursed at a CBS reporter when she asked about it that CBS HAD to respond! Your statesment about CBS ‘breaking’ fast and furious is more lame-stream false-hood..if not a flat-out lie.

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