Eleven months ago, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., by a deranged lunatic touched off an orgy of mainstream media attacks on the tea party movement — absent any proof it had anything to do with the tragedy. The contrast with how the media cover Occupy — whose members have done idiotic things on camera that hurt the middle class, not the “1 percent,” and then bragged about it — is the worst case of rancid media bias I’ve seen in decades of watching American politics. This is most acutely evident in Oakland, where fools are waging war on the truckers and businesses who rely on the city’s port for gainful employment, but who are given a pass by the same national pundits who were so eager to libel the tea party over the Giffords shooting based on ….. nothing.
Because of the threat of regular shutdowns of the Port of Oakland by Occupy, “major retailers, including Target, Walgreens, J.C. Penney and Crate & Barrel, are threatening to pull out of the Oakland port and move business to the Port of Los Angeles,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Today, the Chronicle has a report about how Oakland city leaders are struggling to come up with how to respond to this nightmare going forward.
Who is Occupy harming here? Corporate interests in the broad sense, to be sure. But there are hundreds of thousands of people hit by the collateral damage. This is from the Oakland Tribune:
The Port of Oakland, its tenants, business partners and labor unions together generate more than 73,000 jobs in the region and are connected to more than 800,000 jobs across the country. The port also accounts for 11,000 direct jobs, according to a study by John Martin Associates cited by the port. … “The typical driver income is in the $40,000 to $50,000 range,” said Michael Shaw, a spokesman for the California Trucking Association. “But disruptions create a burden on drivers who can’t deliver their loads.”
It’s not just the port where the Oakland area’s middle class is under siege from Occupy. As I’ve written here before, Occupy is having a devastating effect on the city’s waterfront district, which has long struggled to establish itself as an attraction for tourists, families and young locals alike. This is from the Contra Costa Times:
Numerous downtown retailers said the Occupy protests have slashed sales in half, and business leaders warned that Occupy and the city’s response has spooked some tenant prospects.
“People don’t want to come downtown,” said Nohemi Duran, an employee with Juice Joint Eatery, located a few hundred feet from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, the site of the Occupy encampment. …
The effects of Occupy Oakland have rippled beyond the city plaza, said Paul Junge, public policy director of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
“We are seeing serious losses of business,” Junge said. “People have lost 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent of their sales.”
Occupy Oakland representatives responded that small merchants are among those the movement aims to help.
“We all support small businesses,” said Christina Spach, an Oakland resident and a member of the Occupy effort. “Small merchants are part of this movement. This is about all of us being able to afford and to have access to basic necessities.”
What utter manure. If the tea party did anything like this, the media would be calling for its members to be rounded up and put in concentration camps.
And now for the crucial context. To recycle a past post, the Occupyers are abusing a city that is already reeling:
Nearly three of every ten children in Oakland is living in poverty, a more than 50 percent increase from just three years ago, according to data the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday.
In the Bay Area, the city has the highest percentage of children living in poverty.
The Census found Oakland’s school-aged children were particularly hard-hit by the recession, a development that educators say could have long-term impacts on their academic success.
“An increase in child poverty tends to lower achievement,” said Michael Kirst, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and the president of the State Board of Education.
So in the name of fighting income inequality, as I wrote a few weeks back, Occupy takes a 40-ounce baseball bat to Oakland’s already-besieged middle class. This is insane. Also disgusting.
When will the media point this out? That in Oakland, Occupy is a horrible burden on the very people it pretends to help? If this is social justice, social justice is garbage.
I write this not as someone who reflexively calls the media biased. I thought the media were appropriately hard on Bill Clinton and shed no tears for George W. Bush and the way he was covered.
But the media’s readiness to ascribe racist motives to the tea party over the past three years has been repellent, especially given all the historical evidence that this was just the latest manifestation of Americans’ antipathy toward heavy spending and government debt. Now the same media cover another large protest movement with the opposite approach: a see-no-evil attitude that ignores actual, demonstrable, caught-on-camera wrongdoing. Great, just great.