You may not have heard, but Occupy Oakland and their supporters staged a general strike in that city yesterday. The fact that you may not have heard about it points to a new trend I'm detecting -- the media brownout, as opposed to a blackout. If you're not familiar with the term, a media blackout is a form of censorship where corporate media refuses to cover a story. What I'm calling a media brownout happens when corporate media refuses to cover a story well. Sure, there are mentions of it on a media outlet's website, but on-air or in-print coverage is brief and uninformative. As crappy as it is, most people get their news from TV, because that's all they really have time for. So, regardless of how thorough their web coverage is, an on-air snub keeps the story out of the public spotlight, for the most part.
And there's a reason why the Occupy Oakland strike didn't get a lot of coverage. While companies like Men's Warehouse support the Occupy movement (see photo above), there's no shortage of companies that oppose it -- income inequality may not be good for retail, but it works out well for banks and other companies. These corporations are advertisers, news organizations are ad-supported enterprises, and... you get the idea. Corporations like Lockheed-Martin don't buy ad time on CNN because it sells a lot of jets, they buy ad time for the same reason they contribute to political candidates.
So it's a little ironic that CNN would put out a poll that both shows they've failed to cover the Occupy movement well enough and betrays the reason for that failure.
As Americans learn more about Occupy Wall Street, they are becoming more supportive of the movement's positions, according to a new poll from ORC International.
The survey, taken Oct. 28-31, shows more adult Americans saying they have heard of Occupy Wall Street than when the question was asked in early October. Sixty-four percent of respondents now say they've heard of the movement, compared to only 51% in the earlier poll.
The new poll also shows more Americans supporting the movement. Thirty-six percent say they agree with the overall positions of Occupy Wall Street, while 19% say they disagree.
CNN has actually partnered with the Tea Party to put on GOP debates, but only 63% have even heard of the 99-percenters. And, the more people learn about the 99-percenters, the more they like them. This is a nearly ten-point jump in the agreement numbers within a month's time. This is not good for the corporate bottom-line.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another poll with different findings, also out today. A Quinnipiac poll finds that 39% view Occupy unfavorably, compared with 30% who view them favorably. But, then again, "do you approve of them?" is an entirely different question than "do you agree with them?" And there's reason to think this poll is flawed -- for example, a plurality of 48% believes the super-committee should reduce the deficit through spending cuts only, with no tax increases. This is wildly at odds with other recent polling. In any case, this was apparently the first time that Quinnipiac polled the subject of the Occupy movement, so whether support is increasing or decreasing can't be addressed by these results.
In the end, whether the majority of Americans support Occupy or not is irrelevant -- although it would be nice if they did. What's important is that a majority of Americans agree with them. As we learn more about the movement, we find that more of us agree with them, making the "smelly hippies" smear irrelevant. Even if people don't like them, they've got to admit they're right.