CBS Touts 'Village' Run By 'Hungry for Change' Wall Street Protesters
CBS's Bigad Shaban filed a puff piece about the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators on Tuesday's Early Show, trumpeting their "self-operating mini-community in lower Manhattan" and how they were "hungry for change," all the while ignoring the radical left wing politics of many in attendance. Shaban took more time to note that "this isn't your average protest. Yoga classes are taught in the off-time."
Co-anchors Chris Wragge and Erica Hill played up the "mini-village, complete with a daily newspaper, recycling, a free breakfast buffet, [and] yoga" during their promo for the correspondent's report. Shaban picked up where his colleagues left off with his "not your average protest" line, and added that "a makeshift library has been set up with at least 1500 books...and the grounds even has (sic) its own medical tent and newspaper, 'The Occupied Wall Street Journal.'"
The CBS journalist then spotlighted two of the protesters, one who coordinated the food distribution, and another who handled trash. Shaban noted how both were unemployed and were "hungry for change." But hiding in plain sight in his footage from the "village" were signs of the far left agenda of those in attendance. As he talked about the medical tent, a red flag with Cuban communist Che Guevara's image on it flew in the background (visible at the 0:18 mark in the video above). Later, an anonymous demonstrator wrote the slogan, "destroy corporate capitalism" on a poster.
On Monday's Early Show, the correspondent did something similar when he omitted the far-left politics of Daily Kos writer Jesse LaGreca, one of the demonstrators featured during his report that day on "Occupy Wall Street."
Shaban didn't play sound bites from critics of the movement at any point during the segment. He only pointed out at twice that "organizers admit their movement is without long-term direction" and that "some are now criticizing the moment as unorganized."
The full transcript of Bigad Shaban's report from Tuesday's Early Show, which aired 38 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour:
CHRIS WRAGGE: The 'Occupy Wall Street' protests that started here in New York last month have now spread to more than 60 other cities, including Boston, where police arrested dozens of demonstrators early this morning on trespassing charges.
HILL: Protesters say they are in this for the long haul.
CBS's Bigad Shaban is in New York City's financial district this morning with a closer look for us at the village that has, essentially, popped up there, set up by the demonstrators. Bigad, good morning.
BIGAD SHABAN: Well, guys, good morning. The protesters acknowledge they're still without a long-term vision or plan, saying their focus right now is recruitment. So some are now criticizing the moment as unorganized. But, when it comes to the actual operation of the base here, it seems to have a structure all its own.
[CBS News Graphic: "Protesters In Profile: Inside Look At Men And Women Of Movement"]
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: They're going to do more full, deep breaths-
SHABAN (voice-over): This isn't your average protest. Yoga classes are taught in the off-time. A makeshift library has been set up with at least 1500 books.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: Your medic station is on the other side of here-
SHABAN: And the grounds even has (sic) its own medical tent and newspaper, 'The Occupied Wall Street Journal.' What began as protest has morphed into a self-operating mini-community in lower Manhattan, with a complimentary breakfast buffet of fresh fruits and bagels.
AMY HAMBURGER, PROTESTER: Well, we didn't use that too because we have all this food that people that are giving us-
SHABAN: Twenty-nine-year-old Amy Hamburger manages the meals. She's an out-of-work teacher's aide who's been here from the start- 25 days and counting- with food donations from around the world.
HAMBURGER: Pizzas from Mexico, pizzas from Alaska, gifts from Scotland- (laughs) all kinds of stuff.
SHABAN (voice-over): (protesters singing, "I'm going to let it shine") The 1960s feel of music and dance brought her in. But it's the deep frustration over the economy, she says, that's kept her here.
HAMBURGER: It's time to get together and re-evaluate, and not necessarily do away with the system, but just figure out where we went wrong and how we're going to do it right now.
SHABAN: In the process, many protesters have been split into groups to help run this site- everything from the live Web feed, to recycling and trash pick-up.
James Jordan is 26, and nearly one year into his search for a full-time job. He works overnight shifts at a hotel, and now spends his days here.
JAMES JORDAN, PROTESTER: It's not easy. It's not easy. I mean, I've got a college degree. I'm thousands of dollars in debt- tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
SHABAN: (protesters chanting, "Let them go!") He and others hungry for change. (protesters chanting, "Shame!") Amy Hamburger says she'll be there, to make sure they get the food they need to see it through.
HAMBURGER: Right now, this is my life, and it's going to be my life until it's not anymore. (laughs)
SHABAN: Still, organizers admit their movement is without long-term direction, making the day-to-day operation of its headquarters, perhaps, more organized than the protest itself.
SHABAN (on-camera): Meanwhile, the marches continue, including one set here for this afternoon dubbed the 'millionaire's march.' Chris and Erica, they plan to visit some of the city's wealthiest residents.
HILLL Yeah, they're actually planning to march to some of their homes. It will be interesting to see where that takes them. Bigad Shaban, interesting piece- thanks.