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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Perspective On An Occupier Arguing With Sean Hannity

Posted originally to this Republican subreddit submission.


     I'm certainly not an organizer or even involved in OWS beyond occasionally posting in their subreddit, but Schultz seems to do a rather poor job being a spokesperson for the movement at least in this debate/argument. I could certainly try to say he was sought out specifically for this interview with Hannity because of his combative and condescending tendencies, but those're big positives for visible people in movements; get the most assertive and aggressive person who talks the most crap about those on the 'other' side because they'll energize like minded individuals. Unfortunately, that drives away people who are less inclined to agree and may very well come off as pedantic to those who disagree. Nobody likes being smirked at and talked down to.

     In any event, I'll do what I can to address some of the things brought up by these two men at least from my own perspective.

     With regard to the reliability of the NYT and FoxNews, I personally would put the former over the latter but only slightly. They're both top-down organizations disseminating ideas in a mostly one-way medium. Both have examples which can be pointed to as selective coverage, both have staffs which could be derided as biased. Ironically, while I think I might agree with some ideas of Schultz(that's a bit of an assumption on my part), his point of not needing someone such as Hannity I think is misplaced. While he might not fit this stereotype, I would wager he doesn't have a problem with Rachel Maddow or Bill Maher and, fundamentally, I don't see them as all that different from the man he's arguing with here. Talk Radio, Hannity's own background, I think actually holds potential for a lot more of what I consider a modern media interface, in that there is an ongoing dialogue between the audience and outlet. A good idea or point doesn't simply propagate on its own, and a good 'salesman' is needed to convey an idea in a way that is relate-able to others. That's the place these talking heads currently enjoy for very good reasons.

     On a similar note, ratings and circulation do not equate credibility or public need as each of these men seem to imply. It's just a rough estimation of how well these outlets draw, sustain, and engage their audiences. Our popular media demonstrates, for me at least, this does not always mean quality content but rather titillation and outrage.

     Capitalism isn't 'broken' nor is it not working 'anymore'. It was never perfect to begin with just as with any human institution. As such, we as the people living within this system must be willing to soberly look at the way it operates. Appreciate and protect the positives associated with it while recognizing and acting to mitigate the negatives because ultimately those will be the real threats to the long term sustainability of the quo, not the existence of alternatives. The point I would make to Hannity or Levin or Wilkow or any of the other conservative opinion-makers would be that it is not perfect, and that setting a society free in an economic sense does not necessarily mean it will result in a just and fair society. I listen somewhat frequently to the aforementioned programs and a very regular sentiment I hear is that free markets are a near panacea for problems, only generating problems, itself, when there's a government which favors particular companies or industries. I don't dispute government can and does screw that up, but it is not the root of all problems.

     Accusing the NYPD of being the reason there were assaults or rapes at their camp in Zuccotti or any other location is distraction just as much as attempting to point out the existence of such things demonstrates the more depravity of those who agree with some things OWS purports to stand for. Take the criticism that it exists, the tents were set up as corrective action for a relatively small number of people taking advantage of an environment not conducive to good keeping of the peace. I would argue that OWS as a whole does not want an all-you-can-rape lawless society and the existence of such problems is a terrible example of how a loosely organized(both ideologically and physically) group encamped for long periods of time whose prime interaction with law enforcement is one of aggression will involve more illegal behavior than one more tightly controlled and with a friendly interaction with legal authorities. Oh, and screaming 'shame! shame!' could certainly use a reworking 'cause that's not gonna engender any goodwill from police-men and women who really do share roots and and ideals with many of us all, regardless our affiliation or ideology.

     On that note, the last thing I'll say is something which many in this subreddit can probably identify with if you've attempted to posit your ideas or positions on /r/politics, and that is demonizing and sneering at those we disagree with is not the path to informed discourse, coherent policy, or good government. Thanks for reading all of that for those who did and if I said anything jacked up or ill-informed, please let me know and be specific so I can learn. The last thing I want to do is be spouting off inaccuracies.