In Time’s minds, at least, OWS is tops in 2011

I find it hard to believe this is true for most Americans: Time has declared the top U.S. news story of this year “Occupy Wall Street Protests Spread.” Here’s the magazine’s explanation:

On Sept. 17, a couple hundred protesters demonstrating against the excesses of corporate execs and the pervasive influence of high finance in U.S. politics set up camp in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and refused to leave. It was an unlikely occupation, one without leaders, agendas or even a clear sense of goals, but it soon was echoed in myriad cities across the U.S. and the world. To some, Occupy Wall Street is the left-wing iteration of the Tea Party, directing their rage not at big government but at the big banks that gutted the world economy and took billions in bailouts from the U.S. government while awarding themselves hefty bonuses.

But many in the movement see their cause as part of a more global zeitgeist, in keeping with the anti-austerity demonstrations in Europe and the leaderless uprisings of the Arab Spring. The Occupy movement has remained leaderless, amorphous and spontaneous — demonstrators carry signs advocating everything from financial reform to healthcare reform to a ban on fracking — it’s still unclear what sort of real lasting political effect the movement can have. But the sheer persistence of the occupations, galvanized by incidents of heavy-handed policing in New York and California that shocked the nation, have given the protesters’ appeals for economic justice a weight that may play a real role in the upcoming presidential election.

So “sheer persistence” with “unclear…lasting political effect” — and it’s particularly unclear, given that the movement was greatly diminished within two months of its beginning — makes for the year’s top story? A year in which the U.S. military is vacating Iraq after eight years of war; the economy is still stagnant, two years after that was Time’s top story; and the Republicans waged an unpredictable primary? (If you’re wondering where the killings of Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi are, they’re Nos. 2 and 5, respectively, on the list of top world news stories.)

Get back to me when they’ve achieved something other than destruction of property.

In case you’re wondering, the birth of the tea parties didn’t merit a top-10 mention by Time in 2009; it wasn’t until last year, when they achieved results in the midterm elections, that the story of the tea partyers received a No. 2 ranking.

Ideology isn’t the only explanation. Time’s OWS explanation refers to the tea party, so it’s more likely that the success of the tea party makes the magazine’s editors more likely to think OWS, too, can have a large effect.

The write-up does, however, betray a kind of hopeful anticipation of said large effect. And while the editors might not have referenced last year’s edition while crafting this year’s, I challenge you to find balance and impartiality in Time’s selection of photos for the tea party and OWS (you’ll have to click those links; I can’t post Getty images here).

So, who agrees with Time that OWS is really the year’s top story?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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49 comments Add your comment

Ernest T. Bass

December 7th, 2011
4:43 pm

Id have to agree with them.

When 1 percent of the population controls over 42 percent of the countries wealth you have a big problem

As that number continues to rise you will start to see more and more protests.

Ernest T. Bass

December 7th, 2011
4:45 pm

As far as the images go.

Ever seen the difference in images show on Fox News ?

Its way more pronounced than that.

FiftyThreePerCent

December 7th, 2011
4:52 pm

More proof that the media loves to hype the astroturf OWS movement. These guys are nothing more than lazy thugs that need to find a job.

DannyX

December 7th, 2011
4:54 pm

“I challenge you to find balance and impartiality in Time’s selection…”

The same can be said for 95% of your columns. You are a partisan writer, big deal.

As far as the story of the year I think Time got it wrong. The top story of the year was the total implosion of the Tea Party. Less the a year from the election the Tea Party showed that it was incapable of governing. From the non compromising budget fight, to the newly elected governors. The Tea Party has been a dismal failure.

In Wisconsin they recalled Tea Party state Senators, they are about to recall their newly elected Tea Party governor. All the Tea Party governors have horrible approval ratings. 27 approval for Florida’s Governor Scott, just released today.

From a LA Times article regarding a new Pew Research poll… “The decline has been just as steep in districts that sent a tea party follower to Congress. A year ago, 33% in those districts said they agreed with the tea party, now that number is just 25%. In contrast, those who disagreed with the tea party shot up from 18% to 23%. (In March 2010, just 10% of those surveyed said they disagreed with the tea party.)”

Republican voters are having Tea Party buyers remorse. National Republican leaders are frozen, unable to lead because of the Tea Party members in Congress.

Even in Georgia the Tea Party has nothing, they are ignored by the Good Ol Boys that have been running things for years.

The big story this year is definitely the collapse of the Tea Party.

JF McNamara

December 7th, 2011
5:04 pm

Kyle Wrote:

“the economy is still stagnant, two years after that was Time’s top story;”

Actually, this is not true. The economy grew at 2.9% last year outpacing all but two of W’s totals (3.6% is 2004 and 3.1% in 2005). We will probably end the year with about 2% growth YOY which is not that bad against the historical average.

Kyle Wingfield

December 7th, 2011
5:09 pm

DannyX: I wasn’t aware Time had switched to an opinion format.

DW

December 7th, 2011
5:11 pm

I would say Im somewhat left-leaning and still agree with Kyle on this one. Bin Laden should def. be the #1

DW

December 7th, 2011
5:13 pm

OWS = good cause but horrible execution

Kyle Wingfield

December 7th, 2011
5:19 pm

Actually, Bass, progressives’ favorite experts on inequality, Emannuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, say just the opposite: The concentration of wealth by the 1% fell during the 20th century to about half the level you state and probably hasn’t increased since then.

Kyle Wingfield

December 7th, 2011
5:25 pm

JF @ 5:04: The trend growth rate is about 2.75%, so last year was about average and this year will be significantly below average.

DannyX

December 7th, 2011
5:27 pm

“DannyX: I wasn’t aware Time had switched to an opinion format.”

The whole story of the year piece was opinion.

I highly doubt “Fair and Balanced” Fox News would have chosen OWS as their story of the year.

MarkV

December 7th, 2011
6:31 pm

I wish they (and others) did not make it a numbered list, and instead just chose, say, 10 top stories. In that case, OWS undoubtedly would be one of them. It is rather silly to rank some completely unmatched events, such as OWS and killing Bin Laden.

Tyler Durden

December 7th, 2011
6:54 pm

Danny X and JF Mc, you guys are unfairly injecting facts into a Conservative’s world. That’s blatant harassment. The Tea Party, like Dubya, was a HUGE success and if it weren’t for the liberal media, they’d both be recognized for nothing but the stellar examples of progress that most posters here believe them to be.

Shame on you two!! :-)

Hillbilly D

December 7th, 2011
7:07 pm

They’re in the business of selling magazines, simple as that. I never read it, except maybe at the doctor’s office, so I don’t know who their target audience is but I’d assume they figure this would resonate with the target.

ld

December 7th, 2011
7:24 pm

The death of BinLaden was a final ‘flash in the pan’ in a previously ongoing–therefore previously important–news story; however, for NOW, at least, the OWS is the ONGOING story–the MOST important part of the OWS story is NOT the protest itself–which is disorganized. The MOST important story is the CRACKDOWN on protestors by the “powers that be” that want to SILENCE those (”99%”) and their attraction to the media which could give them voice–benefitting the “1%” that can well afford to BUY that media attention A N D which, thanks to the utter stupidity and failure of the Supreme Court to protect “we, the people”, can legally do so–even if their $ pursues a message/agenda benefitting non-american people and businesses.

Michael H. Smith

December 7th, 2011
7:30 pm

So, who agrees with Time that OWS is really the year’s top story?

What, not even an honorable mention of obumer’s miserable failure as an inept leader to reach compromise with the Republicans to get things done for the country and turn the economy around for the other 99% of us on Main Street? Now that is the number one story of the year your SOCIALIST blog fan club, TIME and MSnbc a.k.a. MSDNC will never report, Kyle.

MM

December 7th, 2011
7:32 pm

It’s amazing how quickly conservatives want to get the OWS story in the rear view mirror. Just in the last week these stories have multiplied. Not so when the Tea Party started when conservatives gave more than adequate gestation time until a movement could coalesce. Move along, nothing to see here is the new conservative message. The status quo at work as always.

Same with the bogus notion of the unclear objectives of OWS. Just the name Occupy WALL STREET is more than a direct reference to what has gone wrong in this country in the last 30 years; their obvious point is the takeover of the nation by Big Money. Even the Tea Party in its first few weeks of existence was a reaction to bailouts of the big banks. Now so-called limited government and taxes are their number one concern; the same complaints that big-money Republicans have always had. The Tea Party was co-opted within a few months by financial support from Big Money. Now, only OWS stands between the American public and the powers-that-be.

The Tea Party was a pretense to a challenge to Big Money and Big Power. We’ll see if the latest crop of “keep the old status quo” articles like this one really does sweep the OWS movement into the trash can of history or if something more permanent comes of it. At this point, though, premature obituaries are just that: premature.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 7th, 2011
7:37 pm

Well, they did squirt all over the sidewalks and spread disease, so the Times is duly excited about it all.

ew

Michael H. Smith

December 7th, 2011
7:49 pm

Ya know mmm, Wall Street, the real objectionable part of it that is and the people who are that part of it probably laugh and say if these OWS loonies didn’t exist we would have to hire some kooks to do their job.

Sad commentary, these occupiers will never put a glove on the real bailout banker villains or do anything to prevent the scandalous money making ripoff schemes of these rogues.

David

December 7th, 2011
7:55 pm

I agree with Time magazine.

Michael H. Smith

December 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

What about obumer’s demagoguery of the JOBS creating pipeline deal with our good friends and neighbors to the north, Canada? Can’t believe obumer would alienate our good friends the Canadians, make America less energy secure and actually deny Americans the real good paying jobs this pipeline would create?

I mean, can you believe it Kyle?! :shock:

Steve - USA

December 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

I think Adam Carolla was spot on in describing the OWS crowd.

It sounded like he was talking about the “Adam” that occupies Jays blog 24/7.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 7th, 2011
8:12 pm

The Occupy crowd is no more than a bugsplat on the windshield of US history.

If you want to get rid of the robber barons, get rid of the dummycrats who lavish them with your money, for which they receive, in return, mucho kkkampaign kkkontributions.

Any idiot knows this.

Fast and Furious Spending

December 7th, 2011
8:21 pm

I agree, Kyle, that the pervasive presence of naked liberal advocacy in the press is one of the top stories.

I’m still hoping that that idiot who punched the NY cop gets man of the year–not to insult the police, mind you, but to show how awful Time, Inc., has become in its ribald hatred of America, her laws and traditions.

Fast and Furious Spending

December 7th, 2011
8:24 pm

DW 513,

What was the cause again?

How could it have been better executed?

Sid

December 7th, 2011
8:30 pm

I wasn’t aware that police had attacked tea party protests – if they have & there are photos of it then yes, Time’s being biased… OTOH if Time REALLY wanted to be incendiary they could’ve snagged a frame from the video of the flash-bang being thrown into the crowd of people trying to help the veteran whose skull they (police) had just fractured so rather than crying about the pepper spray picture maybe you should be thankful they didn’t show THAT…

Silver Creek Doug

December 7th, 2011
8:47 pm

I would like to remind “the 99%” they are actually part of “the 5%.” These are the 5% of people that control most of the world’s wealth; that is, they are Americans.

Since many, if not all, advocate wealth redistribution from the 1%, I have an idea- let’s take stuff from “the 99%” and give it to the 95% of the world that is poorer that them.

Let’s see how they like wealth redistribution then.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

December 7th, 2011
8:49 pm

Ernest T. Bass: When 53 percent of the population pays nothing toward the governing of their country, you have a big problem.
—————————

Fixed, at no charge. Democrat parasites never pay their fair share.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

December 7th, 2011
8:53 pm

Silver Creek Doug: let’s take stuff from “the 99%” and give it to the 95% of the world that is poorer that them
——————-

That’s beautiful, man. I’m guessing that isn’t what they had in mind, they hypocrites.

@@

December 7th, 2011
8:54 pm

SERIOUSLY!!??!! #1?

The Tea Party moved into the WH. The OWSers are moving into foreclosed properties.

The banks should give ‘em some home maintenance tools…put ‘em to work sprucin’ the places up.

ZaVon

December 7th, 2011
8:57 pm

When I see something like this reported by Time magazine I just consider the source, then roll my eyes. Time, USA Today, MSNBC, The New York Times…most people understand they’re the designated media outlets for the hard left and not to be taken very seriously.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

December 7th, 2011
8:57 pm

Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
————————————-

Nothing to see here, move along.

Obozo: America-hater and Border Agent murderer.

MM

December 7th, 2011
9:03 pm

Correction to Lil’ Barry Bailout:

“When 53 percent of the population pays nothing toward the governing of their country, you have a big problem.” This common lie is repeated hourly on conservative media but refers only to FEDERAL INCOME TAX. Do you hear this? Not all the other taxes we pay which take a big hunk from workers who have little money to start with because income inequality is out the kazoo in this rigged game we call the US economy.

Dusty

December 7th, 2011
9:10 pm

I’m sorry, Kyle, but TIME has given us the perfect example of the loss of journalistic ethics these days.

I think TIME wishes to sell more of their publication and that is one way to do it. Exaggerate, conflagrate and twist journalistic standards all in one whoop. The Inquirer did it a long time ago.

I regard the OWS story with the same regard as I do for Wikileaks. Twisted people trying to destroy and remake the USA into a socialized state where the few that work must support the rest. How anyone can see that as beneficial is beyond me.

To have ethics is not polically correct these days.

TOMNSUWANEE

December 7th, 2011
9:13 pm

Kyle,
I love how you are able to bring out the angry & bitterness in the mindless progressives !

Hillbilly D

December 7th, 2011
9:31 pm

Dusty

But the Enquirer did break the story on John Edwards, when the big boys didn’t. ;-)

ragnar danneskjold

December 7th, 2011
9:32 pm

As a mild defense for the Time selection, surely nothing defines the current administration more aptly than the Obamavilles that arose “spontaneously” all over the country this year. I think Time got it right, but perhaps the editors there are too dim to understand why.

ragnar danneskjold

December 7th, 2011
9:35 pm

And really, compared to 21st century hippies hanging out during warm weather, does anyone really think the total collapse of European socialism is really a meaningful story? Anyone with an ounce of economic sense knew the latter was coming, just a little slower than the Soviet collapse. Hardly worth reporting.

Don't Tread

December 7th, 2011
10:04 pm

OWS is a bigger story than Bin Leaded swimming with the fishes? Not hardly. (Unless you get your jollies from the thought of taking away other peoples’ rights, of course.)

Hanna

December 7th, 2011
10:54 pm

Come on, Jay, OWS is the year’s top story because it’s that undefinable protest movement that most of the democrats (poor) feel: We are being victimized by capitalism itself. That profit motives are evil and the word “business” alone justifies murder and slavery and corruption.

Jay, you are a well meaning fool. You dissapoint geometrically.

Hanna

December 7th, 2011
10:56 pm

I meant Clyde, not Jay, no, his name is not Clyde, dammit, it’s Kyle. Kyle Wingnut. Right? What day is this? Why am I here? I can spell potatoe. Uzbeki beki beki

I think therefore I’m a moron.

ODD OWL

December 8th, 2011
1:29 am

“ATTENTION ALL WALL STREET OCCUPIERS” Occupy the Supreme Court… The extreme right wing, Neo-National Socialist, fascist Republicans are attempting to usurp all power on the Supreme Court. The names of these right wing, Fascist Supreme Court Judges are Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Aleto…. The Supreme Court Occupiers must force these right wing ideological zealots from the bench. Occupy the Robert’s Court.

marko

December 8th, 2011
6:25 am

I’d be inclined to say that Time pretty much nailed it. Kyle thinks that OWS crowd will slink away and disappear when faced with the hardships of winter. Maybe he’s right. History tells us that the winter of 1777 took quite a toll on Washington’s little Army. Death and desertion cost thousands of losses at Valley Forge, but thousands more stayed. We’ll just have to see how if OWS survives the winter or not. I wouldn’t bet against them. Their ancestors survived worse, and eventually helped to create a more perfect union. They never claimed that they’d created the perfect government. They knew that men are hopelessly flawed, and therefore incapable of creating perfection. With that in mind I seriously doubt that we’ll ever arrive at the perfect distribution of wealth. that doesn’t imply that a more perfect distribution of wealth is totally beyond our understanding. We just need to see to it that work pays and lobbying doesn’t.

GT

December 8th, 2011
8:40 am

The tea party is a weak radio station well organized by handlers with agendas that consist of the minority ruling the majority in this country. Newt G is their Braveheart creating chaos and sabotage to veto the vote and is now trying in earnest to destroy all branches of government since they do not allow for an autocratic rule.

The OWS being a real grass root movement, with no polished PR machine which they earmark as one of the problems of this country of all hat and no cattle, is what it is. It is wide open for agenda minded journalist to point out weakness in an effort to direct away from the smell of too large to fail but not to bail out policies that welfare the rich and destroy the middle class. They use to talk about Jesus not being the messenger the world had expected, I fear we miss the point here too. Or maybe the people in power see it too clearly and want to kill the messenger before the message kills them.

jdl2

December 8th, 2011
8:59 am

OWS: No cause = No effect.
Tea Party: Whacko’s = Screaming on the Fringe
Real story? That Americans are so uninvolved in the real problems that face us; unemployment, immigration reform and financial instability on a global scale; that anybody actually thinks the two aforementioned are even mildly important.

mike "hussein" smith

December 8th, 2011
8:59 am

Kyle, you’re ignorant. Time always has had an editorial slant. I know an old copy editor there who said that back in the ’50s, the decree was that words such as “strode” would be used for Eisenhower and “shuffled” for Stevenson. Luce was more about mind control than anything else (except making money). How else to explain the magazine’s longtime love affair with the “Nationalist” Chinese? Theodore H. White, the mag’s top China correspondent in the ’40s, would later complain that Chiang Kai-Shek’s government censored his writing and that his editors at Time rewrote his articles because of Chiang’s friendship with Luce.

ab

December 8th, 2011
9:00 am

td
Killing Osama was a flash in the pan. Tell that to the families of 3,000 people. I would really hope you would reconsider that statement.

Welcome to the Occupation

December 8th, 2011
9:49 am

If you want to get rid of the robber barons, get rid of the dummycrats who lavish them with your money, for which they receive, in return, mucho kkkampaign kkkontributions.

Really? And how much exactly did the Koch brothers, to name one example, give to Democrats last year? Hmmmm …

Welcome to the Occupation

December 8th, 2011
9:58 am

Kyle: “The concentration of wealth by the 1% fell during the 20th century to about half the level you state and probably hasn’t increased since then.”

The very fact that you’re compelled to offer historical figures and make arguments about whether or not the top 1% really holds as much accumulated wealth as claimed proves that OWS has been anything but a failure. Even if it vanished from the face of the earth today never to be heard from again, we could still credit it with “mainstreaming” the concept 1% vs 99% as a frame of reference for a debate over economic justice in our political discourse. Indeed, it can arguably be credited with doing what until now no Democrat or any other group in our political system had managed to do, which is simply make social justice a matter of sustained discussion. Now that that has happened, it can’t ever be undone.

And for the record, I would say that something similar — if not exactly equivalent — can be said for the Tea Party, and that’s why in the long run the TP and OWS are allies.

Once the mouse roars, it can’t be unroared.