Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protests help to shape media and political agenda.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been receiving more media attention as of late. For some, this focus is long overdue while for others these protestors occupying Zuccotti Park in New York City and similar locales across the country are receiving too much attention. Regardless of your view, it's clear that the Occupy Wall Street movement is starting to have a real influence on the media agenda and raises issues that will need to be carefully addressed by both political parties as we head closer to the general election season.

In today's New York Times alone, there were three articles about the protestors in the main news section. First, there was a comparison between those currently protesting and the Tea Party members who were out in force during the last election cycle.

Further back in the news section, there was an article about tent libraries set-up for protestors in Boston and other cities. If you aren't fully convinced that the protesting groups represent two very different political perspectives, take a look at the reading selection in Boston. Think Tea Party members are big fans of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky? Doubtful.

Lastly, there's an article about protestors celebrating Jewish holidays in Zuccotti Park and how the construction of a sukkah (the Jewish holiday of Sukkot just passed) suggests that all these claims about protestors' expressions of anti-Semitism might be a bit off the mark.

In previous weeks, The New York Times told you all about the diet of the protestors in the Wednesday Dining Section and we learned that protestors were abusing bathroom privileges at local Wall Street area establishments.

All in all, a range of coverage for the protestors in the last few weeks. Some stories have been more serious and on-message while others appeal to the human interest.

It is unclear what these protests will achieve in the end besides making some more headaches for the Bloomberg administration. For right now though, they've captured the media's attention and are a prime example of agenda-setting. Look for increased media coverage of the protests to influence the talking points of both Republicans and Democrats.

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