As various American cities try to clean up the damage done by Occupy Wall Street thugs on May Day, it might be a good time to review the various media portrayals of the Occupy movement as just a liberal version of the Tea Party movement.
In October, for example, just a couple weeks after the Occupy Wall Street crowd first took over Zuccotti Park in New York City, Time Magazine compared the Occupiers to Tea Partiers, claiming that “this new outpouring of protest is driven by the same fuel that gave fire to the Tea Party,” and that “like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street is not about a place, but a viral idea.”
A few days later the liberal on-line magazine Slate made basically the same comparison.
Also in October, President Obama made the same comparison, saying “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party.”
Of course it didn’t take long for Tea Party leaders to express their indignation at being lumped together with the unhygienic, unruly, inarticulate Occupiers. Within a few days of the Time and Slate articles, Matt Kibbe of Fortune Magazine laid out a few of the differences between the two movements. Kibbe described how a million Tea Partiers assembled peacefully in the National Mall in Washington DC in 2009 (after getting the appropriate permits, of course), listened respectfully to a few speakers, and then went home, leaving the mall cleaner than it had been before they arrived.
Tomorrow I’ll offer a few thoughts of my own on the differences between the two movements.