Monday, November 28, 2011

The European Media Sure Handles OWS Differently

The European Media Sure Handles OWS Differently

via Big Journalism by John Sexton on 11/28/11

Type "Occupy anti-capitalist" into Google News and you'll see a bunch of European news outlets returning results. You'll have to search harder for instances of US papers referring to US occupiers as anti-capitalist. It happens, but rarely.

Here's a sample of headlines and culled descriptions from papers in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Denmark. Notice that these are news stories not opinion pieces:
  • Daily MailAnti-capitalist demonstrators have constructed a 'slum city' made of wooden shacks on an historic civic green.
  • Daily Mail - Having resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's over its handling of the anti-capitalist protesters camped outside the cathedral, trendy vicar the Rev Dr Giles Fraser is enjoying his moment in the spotlight.
  • Guardian – 'Occupy' anti-capitalism protests spread around the world
  • Scotsman – EDINBURGH city council has been criticised after it pledged its backing to the anti-capitalist movement that has occupied St Andrew Square.
  • Huff Post UK – Occupy London: An Accountant By Day, An Anti-Capitalist By Night, Who Are The Protesters?
  • London Evening Standard - More than half of all planned school trips to St Paul's Cathedral have been cancelled since anti-capitalist protesters set up camp last month.
  • AFPAnti-capitalist activists formally opened their third London site Saturday, in a ceremony marking the transformation of a building owned by Swiss financial giant UBS into a "bank of ideas".
  • TelegraphAnti-capitalist protesters are locked in a legal battle with Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Glasgow Evening TimesAnti-capitalist protest returns to city centre
  • Mirror – St Paul's Cathedral suspends legal action against anti-capitalist protesters
  • BBC – Anti capitalist protesters in Glasgow's George Square have reached an agreement with the council over plans to relocate
  • BBC – Anti-capitalist demonstrations, inspired by the protests outside St Paul's Cathedral, have taken root in a park in Brighton and in Bournemouth.
  • BBC – Anti-capitalist protesters camping outside St Paul's Cathedral in London have said they are considering an offer to allow them to stay until 2012.
  • Wales Online – Police use old bylaw to sweep away anti-capitalist protesters' camp in front of Cardiff Castle
  • Independent - The Lord Mayor's Show passed off peacefully in London yesterday, despite the fear of disruption from anti-capitalist protesters.
  • The Local Switzerland – Police made a number of arrests on Tuesday morning as anti-capitalist protesters were evicted from a park in central Zurich.
  • The Local GermanyAnti-capitalist protesters set up tent cities
  • Der Spiegel [Germany] – The "Occupy Germany" faction appears to be hoping for a kind of revitalization of the mass anti-capitalist movement seen in Germany that began around the turn of the century and culminated in the at times violent and often creative mass protests at the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2006.
  • Herald Sun [Australia] – About 60 anti-capitalist demonstrators set up overnight, with the lawn littered with tarps that are being used as makeshift beds.
  • El Watan [France] – Ils dénoncent sans ambages le capitalisme, les inégalités et les disparités économiques. [They unequivocally denounce capitalism, inequality and economic disparity.]
  • Le Monde [France] – Un nouveau signe du mouvement de protestation anti-capitaliste qui déferle sur toute l'Amérique? [A new sign of the anticapitalist protest movement that is sweeping across America?]
  • Le Matin [France] – Le mouvement anti-capitaliste «Occupy Wall Street» veut se muer en marque. [The anti-capitalist movement "Occupy Wall Street" will be turned into brand.]
  • Arbejder [Denmark's communist news] – I New York havde myndighederne truet med at ville rydde Zuccotti-parken, som de anti-kapitalistiske aktivister har besat de sidste tre uger… [In New York authorities had threatened to would clear Zuccotti Park, as the anti-capitalist activists have occupied the last three weeks...]
By contrast, US papers have rarely applied the term anti-capitalist to the protests, even when the term has appeared in print it is often frowned upon by the author.

  • NY Times – Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, called the protesters "a growing mob," and Herman Cain, a Republican presidential candidate, said the protests are the work of "jealous" anti-capitalists.
  • NY Times – to the New York Police Department, the protesters represented something else: a visible example of lawlessness akin to that which had resulted in destruction and violence at other anticapitalist demonstrations
  • Washington Post – Republicans have largely dismissed Occupy Wall Street as a band of anti-capitalist ruffians…
I did find a few clear examples of major papers labeling the protests as anti-capitalist:
  • Washington Post – New York's budding anti-capitalism protest movement began last month with a vague sense of grievance over the widening gap between the rich and poor in America.
  • LA Times – in general, the Occupy Wall Street movement is anti-capitalist, blaming the financial institutions and corporate greed for the recent recession
Given that the founder of OWS, Kalle Lasn, runs an explicitly anti-capitalist magazine, should this really be such a controversial term? And what about the attempt to shut down shopping on Black Friday and the coming attempt to do the same at Christmas (Occupy Xmas). At some point, isn't it fair to note that Occupy is anti-capitalist? Reporters in Europe think so. Why not here?

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