Listeners who aren't buying into the Occupy Wall Street protests call in. Do you disagree with all or parts of the goals and tactics?
@Sick of WNYC bias from New York: On the off chance that you're still following this conversation, my point was that when I see a post that consists of a long block of text that isn't broken into paragraphs, I usually skip it. For one thing, it's difficult to read, and for another, I figure that if someone doesn't know how to structure his argument into a form that's easy to digest, the content itself is probably weak too. This has nothing to do with ideology.
About the specifics of the discussion. One commentator stated:
" the idea that a society should be expected to conduct its business through direct democracy is absurd. "
But so is the idea that the MARKET should be in charge of all the decisions concerning society. This is what the 1% advocate. The era of socially responsible capital, capitalism and capitalists is over.
This is the acme of theological capitalism of the Medieval kind, when Church and Emperor were supposed to be the anointed guides to eternal salvation.
The present 'ideology' is actually a true theology, under the dogmata of American Exceptionalism, and the "Country under God."This drift toward aristocratic (Greek aristos = the best) absolutism can only be countered by mass resistance. The more our society will be divided into rich and poor (income inequality is a euphemism), the more the buffer zone represented by the middle class will go away and there will be only two forces to confront each other. One armed with robocops, the other armed with the sheer number of unarmed resistors.
I wrote this email to the BL Show in support of their work after the belligerent call from "David".
Dear Brian: I listened via podcast to the rant against WNYC and you personally by a listener this past Friday. Like the overwhelming majority of your listeners I hold you as an example of integrity and honesty. Of course you have personal opinions, but, after listening to you for years, my conclusion is that they are based on two rock-solid principles: defense of freedom of expression; and a militant passion against all kinds of discrimination (human rights, civil rights, legal rights.)The first stems from the Constitution, the second is your secular mission in life. It is easy for most of us to preach the same values. It is quite another thing to be put to the test over and over on a daily basis, as happens to you, and in front of a public of millions. Again, over years and years, I have come to trust you and your program because I never saw you waver on the principles. Needless to say, those are principles that in people of lesser strength are often overridden by the surge of strong emotions on the wave of collective hysteria (ex: yes, sure, kill American citizens abroad with a drone for speaking up against the USA even without legal evidence of criminal activity; and the like.) On a personal note after the Friday incident:I had the impression that you were a bit rattled by it. The sheer infamy of the act, and the injustice of the accusations was too much to bear even for a listener. I can imagine what it must have been like for you.In retrospect I wish you had told the listener to stick to the question, why he was dissatisfied with OWS, instead of attacking WNYC coverage and your editorial decision to pursue the story.But, looking beyond that, you gave further prove of your steadfastness. You reached down into yourself and found the solid rock of your belief that even that rant was as aspect of the freedom you so much cherish.
WNYC has removed my postings regarding publicly available information on guidstar.org and ACRIS. I listed WNYC's 2009 990 top pay for employees and it was removed. Unfair! NOT RIGHT. What is WNYC afraid of ?
This is just my opinion but I think that the salaries of Brian Lehrer and others who work for Public Radio are completely justified. They are public figures. You and I won't even post our last names to our comments. Their counterparts in Network TV earn a whole lot more as do the stars of TV sitcoms. I personally don't get a whole lot out of television anymore and I am grateful for the news coverages and entertainment programs NPR offers.
Note: We've removed a few comments for violating the WNYC posting policy, and because they contained personal information. Remember to keep your comments civil, productive, and refrain from personal attacks. Thanks,-BL Moderator-
Ruth no comment on Brian Lehrer making $300,000 a year from just his WNYC gig? A M.D. working a 50 hour week does not make that much in one year! They take in 50 million a year a shell out $25 million in salaries and benefits? No comment. With non-profit's they don't consider expenses and when they are not doing so well they don't cut back but just ask for more money to support their bureaucracy and high paying positions. What is worse they ask the public to support them while anyone how has a new book or song gets free advertising.WNYC makes everyone think that they are the 99% but they are in the same boat as the 1%. Don't be fooled.
I think book was called "Nickel and Dimed: Not Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. This is what OWS is all about for me.
To a skeptic caller. If the top earners made at most $300,000./year wouldn't this narrow the discrepancy between the lowest and highest wage earners. What is unfare is how corporate owners make a fortune while people who work for them earn minimum wage in demanding stressful jobs. An author went undercover in these jobs and wrote a book about this a few years ago but I cannot remember the title.
I listened to the segment for a few minutes, till the sour grapes gave me a bellyache...
@ Joe from NY. Yes I do know what paragraphs are, but when you are trying to submit something before a segment ends you just put it out there. FYI, I also made two spelling mistakes. But so as not to offend your sensibilities, next time I will do a much better job with my spelling and paragraph structure. I will make sure that I have spot on topic sentences and transition sentences.
But it's funny that you failed to address the content of my post. No, actually it is typical. Anyone who calls into the station or posts a comment and questions the WNYC - NPR worldview is instantly insulted, labeled and dismissed. I am sure that you would also label me a right wing conservative Republican, along with a lot more choice statements, before you would ever consider engaging me in an intelligent conversation. But thank you Joe from NY for the insightful commentary.
Anyone who thinks Brian Lehrer is living large should see this piece on some corporate america pay packages:
David the caller put some sense in this whole conversation WNYC should lose all its funding its non for profit status you should be part of 99.5 FM
I can only express my utmost support for the fair, balanced, and intelligent coverage of OWS by WNYC and by the Brian Lehrer show in particular. I feel connected to so much in New York city that I don't experience personally through the Brian Lehrer show. It's the best morning investigative talk show on radio, even better than Airtalk with Larry Mantle at KPCC in LA! Well, I guess now I have to donate more.
Earlier a poster wrote "Wow, what a creepy caller, that David. Also a font of ignorance. $300K a year doesn't get one anywhere near the 1%."
I agree the caller was creepy and at times ignorant, but the stats I've seen state that if you make over $250,000/year, that's the top 1% of salaries in the US. That doesn't necessarily mean you're in the wealthiest 1% of US citizens, but if we're going by salary, it does.
Personally, I think Brian's salary should be between himself & his bosses. I also think his show does a great service to the city.
Ugh - why give that much time to one caller who's a bully and abrasive and repeating himself. it's good to hear alternative points of view, but this caller is just a complete clown with an agenda, not an opinion. He has serious anger problems. And for the record, OWS doesn't speak for me because there is no identifiable leadership or action plan that would allow them to move their concerns through policy. Seems like a general protest with no end game and therefore - mostly a party for many of the OWS crowd.
I've no problem with the slogans and big ideas being used and discussed by OWS-- I think they are interested in things that need to be addressed. But I'm reluctant to go out and march, or risk arrest, without knowing if the group will end up supporting better enforcement of social justice within a capitalist system, or a more drastic overhaul of the economy, or something else entirely... I do not want to be the progressive equivalent of those conservatives who supported the Tea Party before it was clear where they were headed, and are now feeling sheepish about fueling those election results.
I was disturbed by a recent caller who said that this exercise of what he acknowledged as "first amendment rights" needs to stop because it "has gotten to expensive for the city"
@Sick of WNYC bias from New York: You write the way caller David talks. Have you ever heard of something called "paragraphs"?
WNYC is covering OWS because it's local news -- as well as national news. It would be like ignoring 9/11. As for whether OWS speaks for some or all or is specific enough or has come up with an agenda -- it's been going for 2 months and already it's changed the national discussion. It's the discussion that matters. Our media has trained us to focus on the end game before the process has even started. We only want to know how it's going to turn out -- not how we're going to get there. And it may take a while. Which is OK.
Brian, great idea for a segment. These critics ignore the obvious and latch on to anything they can find to be a critic, while they themselves are being harmed by our country’s policies that OWS wants to change. What is their real reason, behind all the blather that they don’t even admit to themselves? I’d like to hear listeners address this, and maybe a guest expert too. It’s the key to a lot of negative commentary we have heard on the media---including the Ny Times. How trivial and bizarre their objections are. What an obnoxious, hostile, irrational caller…david. Like another poster above, I kept turning my volume off and on until he’d unloaded all his hate. I didn’t want to be the receptacle for his garbage.
Compared to our enormous problems, so what if people are inconvenienced going to work? So what if the OWS message isn’t specific enough for them? What do they really want? They magnify our of proportion any reason to criticize the first social movement in America to counter the destruction wreaked on our whole economy and country for decades now. The social engineering by the right wing has led to a downward spiral in economic classes that is now getting widely publicized. Critics of OWS are in denial of this and how it affects them. The media has long accepted the conservative’s soundbites on TV, repeating their distorted statements with no challenge. This has led to as wacky a bunch of gop candidates as any society ever saw. Our moderate democratic law makers do nothing to protect us all, while they take money from the rich to finance their elections. These critics just make mountains out of a molehills, while ignoring the huge mountain right in front of them—the destruction of our economy and democracy.
I agree that OWS is probably getting a bit too much coverage, if only because it's hard to pull a message out and because there are some other more important topics, such as the ongoing financial problems in Europe. Of course, WNYC is in NY, as are the OWS protests, so I guess it's local news.
The thing I really think is crazy though is how much anger is directed at WNYC for not being "fair and balanced" enough. The reality is the mainstream media is so far biased in the other direction WNYC is one of the few places one can go to get an alternative take on things. If you turn on FOX News or CNBC, all you hear is the opposite view, with OWS portrayed non-stop as nothing more than hippies, homeless and socialists.
Most of the general public wants capitalism but realize the way it's been practiced has brought us to where we are today, and don't like the destination we've arrived at. But the mainstream media, and our so-called elected officials, portray it as a choice between "more of the same" and socialism.
Btw, tax rates, (EG whether the Capital Gains are their current 15% or Reagan Reform 28%), has nothing to do with Socialism. They have to do with how you fund a government. Capitalism and Socialism refer to "who owns the means of production". This argument regarding the marginal tax rates have nothing to do with "socialism", it's actually more about whether you believe in funding our so-called Democracy.
@kikakiki from Harlem-you don't get it and you're living in a dream world like many OWS protesters are as well...focusing your anger and energy on how the rich have gotten richer is a waste of your time and an unfocused action that only helps those same rich people you hate. WHY have they gotten so much richer? they are playing by the current rules of the game. the rules need to change, the rich are just taking advantage of a rotten system.
I'm sorry I wasn't able to get through on the phone to answer David who was so rude as to obscure his true gripe. On the OWS movement I wish they were more organized and succinct - I'd like to tell their researcher to look up the Fortune 500 co's take a geographic cross-section and see the rise in the profit and salaries over a period of the last six years. There is something really wrong when corp profits rise dramatically and corp hierarchy salaries rise dramatically and these same corporations not only continue to export jobs but at the same time lay-off american workers. The solution - if they took a small portion of those profits and a small portion of those high salaries and put back into the workforce we would not have OWS protest
Brian, you are soooooo patient. Please do not give Fox listeners such a chunk of time to spread their upset. Good old David just kept repeating his points, which we heard, totally heard, and way overheard!!!
I am a 99%er in a family of 1%ers, and my folks would gladly pay more in taxes, because as they say who wants to be a rich person in a poor person's world?
Thanks, Brian, for acknowledging the feedback you got yesterday.
I was 100% into and supportive of OWS when I first got wind of it, and even had a big argument with a family member where I supported OWS, before seeing it in person, because I felt it was starting a necessary conversation.
Flash forward to when I visited Zuccotti Park one month into the occupation, on two occasions. To me, it felt disjointed, rag tag, and off-putting. All the tents, trash, rotting food and human waste odors, hand-written signs, and people living in the middle of the park made it impossible to glean any sort of cohesive message, and I didn't feel compelled to join the ranks. It didn't feel like a modern protest movement - it felt like 1967, and not in a good way.
I know it sounds simplistic - but why wasn't there a sign-up table or a table with literature detailing the goals of OWS, and steps OWS planned to take, to reach those goals?? Why didn't OWS set up a database to collect email addresses and start disseminating smart, targeted plans of action - sort of like how MoveOn.org operates? Why not utilize the fact people from all over the US and beyond come to NYC, and get those people's email addresses and support, and start setting up command centers in other states - especially in areas and states of great poverty, who tend to vote Republican - where direct action and protest against local politicians and companies could be far more effective?
We're approaching an election year, and all the serious presidential candidates - including Obama - have ties with Wall Street and want to ignore campaign finance reform, and get donations from corporations who hurt the 99%.Why not protest that? In Washington DC?
David was spot on. While his sentiment may have gotten bogged down in tax-exemptions etc. - his main point was correct. WNYC and the Brian Lehrer show has been behind the "movement". WNYC sympathetically over-covered "occupy" because they looking for and trying to formulate a viable leftist response to the tea-party. For anyone to think that WNYC and NPR are objective news organizations are delusional. WNYC, NPR and other media outlets are policy shapers and movers. As David correctly stated, the coverage has been overwhelmingly pro-occupy. Look at the language WNYC uses: Policing of demonstrations and the inevitable arrests and confrontations that have occurred have been labeled "police brutality" the arrests of "news reporters" who have gotten caught up in demonstrations has been labeled as an "assault on freedom of speech" etc. WNYC promotes and emphasizes so called class and racial distinctions. It does so all the time and it has done so in the case of occupy. Why does it do this? Because it wants to rally voters and promote its own political and social objectives. Furthermore, the fact that Brian talked to a police official and allowed five phone calls from members of the 99% that disagree with the movement for 1/2 hour does not transform WNYC's biased coverage into objective coverage. I listen to WNYC all the time, there have been hours and hours if not days of coverage dedicated to covering occupy organizers and trying to develop a salient occupy message. Lastly, a not for profit organization should not receive tax payer dollars when they clearly promote a political agenda. WNYC and NPR engage in tremendous hypocricy - taking the taxpayer dollar to promote their agenda and getting considerable tax breaks because of their "not-for-profit" status. NPR and WNYC are conglomerates that derive considerable profit through the sales of goods, T-shirts, "Car-talk" mugs, Prairie Home Companion goods etc... Take away their tax exemption status! True not for profits directly serve the community! NPR is a well-endowed political organization. It is the one-percent. It promotes its own survival at the expense of real Americans.
Blocking traffic in NYC is 99% STUPID. If someone needs to get to a hospital and get stuck in a jam or if people are late for work you alienate 99% of NYC. I agree that income and wealth disparity in US must be rectified, but blocking traffic in NYC is driving this action into a ditch.
and 1 more thing- $300K salary for brian lehrer is not enough, in my opinion. he's a credit to our city and i'm proud that he's an important voice on my radio station in my city.
I am really sick of active OWS participants (particularly those in the creative arts) with the attitude that if you aren't with them, you're against them. When they are questioned about goals, they talk vaguely about "the banks" or "Wall Street", but they don't know exactly who or what is intended. who do you think supports the arts in NYC? the poor? the government?
As far as education, yes, secondary education is a right, but going to an expensive school to study something useless is not. and a well-paying job after studying useless? no, that's not a right either. but I have had a few young OWSers yell in my face that is indeed a right, that no matter if you study something like swahili poetry, you should a) have the right to do it, b) not have to worry about cost, and c) have a well-paying INTERESTING job that results. Dream on.
IMHO we are in a long economic slump. There will not be upward economic mobility. no one wants to accept that they might be worse off than the previous generation. but there is no guarantee of this American delusion.
I'm a member of the 1%. Precariously. I like to think that it's because of self awareness and basic decency that I don't think that what is good for me is the same as what's good for society. Change results from inconvenience to the status quo. We don't think back on the sit ins at lunch counters 50 years ago as "those unruly leaderless kids who kept hard working real americans from getting their lunch." We think of it as an event that brought about positive change.With any luck, the people who are sacrificing for change occupying Wall Street and so many other places around the world are drawing attention to the systemic issues that have exacerbated the wealth and access divide for the enrichment of a very small segment of the population.The fact that their message isn't focus group tested or that you can't cross the street to buy a pair of jeans or that it costs the city overtime doesn't change the fact that the issue they raise is legitimate. There is a class chasm in the United States. That chasm is widening based largely because of legislation created by politicians and the corporations and interest groups that own them. That's not a good thing for this country in the long run.
This was such a lame way to start my Friday. It's like whenever I'm confronted with the "We are the 53%" morons who basically recognize that they are exploited, struggling, unhappy - but it's all part of the American Dream, right?, so we should just accept it. Let everything generations before us fought & died for completely unravel. I don't understand. Look at your quality of life. Draw some lines. Labor struggles throughout the 20th century earned us the right to be able to work 8 hours/day & earn decent wages to support our livelihoods. Having to work two jobs, 70 hours a week, pay mortgage on an under water home...what's the point? We have life...we have (increasingly less) liberty...but this pursuit of happiness. Hmm, that's a tough one.
Also, if you really don't understand the OWS movement you're obviously not thinking about it very hard. But questioning things & raising doubts is scary, so just go back to watching Everybody Loves Raymond.
The last caller, after David, about which enough has been said, is not living on this planet. Corrupted capitalism has produced the present "Great Recession" and the non-regulated capitalism of the 1920's produced the Great Depression. The mixed socialist/capitalist societies of Europe (except for Norway, Sweden and others were brought down by the toxic assets produced by U.S. capitalism.
I never thought I would stop what I was doing, and pull up the wnyc website, work my way through the links, just to send a reporter a hug. That rant was so disturbing, I had to turn off the radio...and kept turning it back on just to find it wasn't over yet.
I wish I had your ability to listen to such verbal abuse and to move on with the calmness and pleasantness you're displaying right now.
More power to you.
In response to several comments:* To the fellow from South Queens with long movement experience: Good for you for you long efforts. My question to you is: Where did the movements you work on start? Were they all specific, coherent, organized, strategic, planned out? Two months is a blink of an eye in movement development. It came together suddenly, from a small group that expanded unexpectedly and suddenly--give them time, and do continue to give your experience to them; it needs to be handed down.* To the fellow who asked "what's better than capitalism?" in comparison to what's happening in Europe? What is it that's been happening for the last 3 years in the U.S.? A major crash, millions suddenly unemployed, going into foreclosure, thousands of war-wounded coming home to a Congress that wants to reduce their benefits, constant fighting over basic safety net help extensions--of a kind the Europeans accept as a given and will fight for--1 in 5 children in poverty, 90,000 who die needlessly from error in our dysfunctional medical system. If all these are the necessary outcomes of "capitalism," I would certainly consider the socialist/social democratic formats in place elsewhere.
@DarkSymbolist- your comment just proves that you've probably never really worked a day in your life. janitors, construction workers, etc. are the ones who are mostly inconvenienced. plumbers and painters and bread delivery guys who are exhausted and just wanto to get home to their families getting stuck around the bklyn bridge for hours are the ones who are inconvenienced. the banker wanting his latte is a real easy comical thing to say but i know that you've never really worked or had hardship and you're certainly not a new yorker.....wish there were more new yorkers out there and less white guys w/ blonde dreadlocks.
The role of money in determining who makes it through the bottleneck to candicacy and then public representation, will shake out as the keystone story of American politics in the early 21st century; OWS and everyone else (including the Tea party, independents, moderates, etc.) that is not one of the few that has and spends the cash to necessary to wield wildly disproportionate influence over our country, need to realize that nothing changes substantially while millions (and billions is already in play) is a prerequisite to standing a snowball's chance in an election. Politicians using donated money to run (or benefitting from the support of those spending money on their behalf), serve those who shelled out the cash. Period. Past and present experience bears this out, and our future depends on acknowledging and reacting to it. OWS gets my support when OWS prioritizes this message.
"david" is completely WRONG about WNYCs coverage of the OWS.even shepard whats-his-name on that fox channel news show admits that the protestor's point is based in FACT.i believe OWS is a group of conscientious objectors with the intent of the betterment of the 99 percent, i.e., those of us who work to make an extremely small number of shareholders, CEOs and lobbyist rich.the distribution of wealth is disgusting and completely unfair, and btw, it's been this way for at least 400 years! read and you'll see first hand accounts from as far back as the 1600s of this:
"the people's history of the united states"by howard zinn
yes, perhaps OWS goes too far, is messy and smelly and there are a few bad apples in their ranks. WHO CARES! they are doing what SO MANY americans feel and the fact that this movement has spread to other cities world-wide proves the how important this movement is today.
[[NOTE FROM BLSHOW:
Hi Stephanie. Here is your post on Facebook, which was never removed:http://www.facebook.com/BrianLehrerWNYC/posts/275752135794878
and your other note on Facebook complaining about your note being removed (again, it wasn't):http://www.facebook.com/BrianLehrerWNYC/posts/275757949127630
and below is your note here about the Facebook comment being removed (again, again, it wasn't).
Wow. I just wrote a comment on your Facbook page, not at all abusive, about the huge error that the NYPD representative who was on the air earlier made regarding the protest numbers from yesterday. It was deleted - what is going on here? This seems very unlike WNYC -- like Bloomberg is controlling your airwaves somehow. Please tell the truth about how many people were in Foley Square. I'm sure you've gotten many calls and comments about this. You've been great and fair regarding OWS in the last few months -- why this sudden turnaround?
I too had lost support for the OWS movement, but after listening to David rant like an idiot for 15 minutes, I remembered why this struggle is so important.
I agree that WNYC strongly supports OWS, by the coverage and defference to the major players. It is clearly obvious. I think the movement is important - but the devil is always in the details...I don't live or work or own a business in lower Manhattan - so I don't have to deal with any of the problems associated with it all...including the financial burdens to the city.
The guest who started ranting about Brian's personal income absolutely infuriated me. Totally uncalled for, and the guy was so angry that he repeated himself over and over and sounded like a raving lunatic. Calling public radio part of the 1% is a JOKE. There are guys on wall street who earn six figures a month.
I'm an OWS agnostic, but I have to acknowledge that OWS has been a big issue in our city. Everyone is trying to figure out what it is and what it means. I think WNYC has made a big effort to present balanced coverage, especially considering the lack of coverage in other media. That's why OWS is being covered on NYC. Obviously the protests have had an effect in that they've gotten under that caller's skin.
The OWS have brought the fundamental inequity in this country to the consciousness of all Americans. That inequity is that the wealthy with their lobbyists control both major political parties in this country so that the system works for them and against the majority of Americans. The crime spree that has taken place with the banks over the last few years has not been punished and Americans have lost jobs and their houses while CEOs are rewarded with huge salaries and bonuses. This is still a young movement and it is great to see activism return to America.
I drove over the brooklyn bridge and past foley square yesterday at 5:30 -total chaos. and I loved it.
i had my window down and was chatting with the marchers. watching kids being arrested loaded onto police buses. everyone was there- the well dressed, the old, the unions, and kids wearing american flag capes. A total mix, and it was thrilling seeing fellow new yorkers makin' noise. im grateful for the protesters. im glad that it didnt turn violent. their actions are opening eyes.
typical Mary, polarizer, no debate allowed for left wing dogma. Kudos David.WNYC has become a big business, left wing elitist organ, just look at their advertisers.
The Numbers Behind the 99% If then protesters with the "Occupy" movement are with the so-called "99 percent," who exactly are the "1 percent," and how did they get there? http://www.newslook.com/videos/372874-the-numbers-behind-the-99?autoplay=true
Occupy Movement Protests Escalate in US Anti-corporate greed demonstrators have come out in force across the United States to mark two months since the Occupy movement began. http://www.newslook.com/videos/372835-occupy-movement-protests-escalate-in-us?autoplay=true
Not to give this ranting fellow any more attention, but just have to respond to the direct quote "Non-profits contribute nothing to the city!" Non-profits are tax exempt in certain circumstances because they provide a PUBLIC SERVICE ---and none in a more direct and relevant way to the New York City community than WNYC!!!
Whatever Brian makes, it's not enough. We're so lucky to have someone with his talent hosting our local call-in show.
I'm one of the 99 percent, and I'm dismayed that it's taken this long for this segment to air. Every step along the way, for a movement that doesn't have a clear set of objectives (just listen to the hostility that follows any question along the lines of "what changes do you want to happen), it's getting a heck of a lot of airtime, with far more friendly treatment than the equally angry Tea Party. Admittedly, the latter's platform is simplistic, and I don't agree with it, but I don't like someone else, like OWS, appropriating my opinions because I'm one of the 99 pc.
Forget the day to day disruptions; to me that's far less important than the fact that for all the attention they are demanding, they're returning nothing in the way of useful debate. If someone wants to negotiate with them, if someone in power came to them and said, what first steps can we take to change the system, what would they answer? And yet WNYC runs clips of people saying if the system doesn't change they'll destroy it -- without asking the logical followup question.
I also wonder how many OWS people are out there just because they are suffering because of bad choices -- they ran up credit card debt, took out a mortgage that looked fab but didn't read the fine print, etc. There are real issues -- the magnitude of unemployment; the unavailability of healthcare, etc. -- but how many of those require wholesale dismantling of "the system" or can be fixed by camping out in Zuccotti Park? Hey, I can't afford either healthcare or the medication I need, but that's not Wall Street's fault. It's the fault of pharmaceutical companies, who have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits for shareholders (and I'm willing to bet some of the OWS folks own mutual funds directly or indirectly, via a union pension plan). The OWS argument makes me think of that old adage that when the solution to every problem is a sledgehammer, you've gotta start wondering who's giving you the advice.
Finally, I wonder how many of the OWS folks have offered tangible help to people too busy struggling to survive who don't show up at Zuccotti Park or elsewhere. How many have volunteered at soup kitchens? Have offered to help an elderly neighbor? Have housed someone who has lost their home after losing a job? No, I'm not saying that people should limit their action to that field, but people who start with that kind of action have a LOT more credibility with me.
Ows is a joke. It has accomplished nothing, and will accomplish nothing. Just a bunch of hippies and alternative types who have no idea what's going on in the rest of America. They love clashing with police to make themselves feel important. Yes, working class police officers. They have had no effect on the economy or wall street. Again, just a big joke. Wait a year, and you'll see the punchline..
I find it amazing that the caller who mentioned "guidestar" got more and more angry the more time Brian gave him. Listen to yourself buddy. By the way, Brian and all employees pay taxes.
Why in the world did Brian let that guy go on a rant for 10 minutes? Do you really believe he was formerly a donor who is now turning away because he's unhappy over OWS coverage? He was obviously one of the people who listens to WNYC to get angry about the "liberal left". (There's those on the other side who watch FOX to get angry about the "conservative right"). But do we really need to listen to one guy's monologue without letting Brian get in a word? Don't they have a mute button on public radio?
Against whining like caller David's. Against the 99 because being a thorn is good but now it's time to be more than a thorn and, as first caller said, a reaction. They could focus on the central problem - the legal enablers of the greed, i.e. specific Senators, Congressmen, Mayors who either capitulate to or facilitate the vast transfer of public wealth. Shame that these educated folks can't see that. Focus on the people who sell us out.
Wow, what a creepy caller, that David. Also a font of ignorance. $300K a year doesn't get one anywhere near the 1%. And not-for-profits contribute tremendously to the NYC economy. They aren't taxed because they exist to provide a public service, not to make a profit. Nasty person, altogether.
When the protesters seem to represent unions, politicians ridicule them as "unrepresentative" of the common people. When the protesters are non-blue collar college kids and the like, they're ridiculed as fluffy hippies, also unrepresentative of the 99%. Why the heck can't politicians make up their mind about just who is in the 99%? Because it's in their interest to keep changing the definition to discredit the movement as a whole. If union members aren't in the 99% I have no idea who is.
I'm listening to the venting of the anti-OWS callers and can't help but see the contrast with the relatively courtesy and articulateness that has been demonstrated by protesters and supporters who've spoken on previous shows. Who's the disruptive one? Sheesh.
"JS from NY, NY
Hi Brian,It seems this question is being asked in a divisive way, and suggests or feeds an assumption that not buying into tactics means not buying into the goals of OWS."
To that I can only quote Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. Self-indulgent protesters should be well aware of that.
Brian earns every penny of his salary, if for no other reason than his ability to stay calm and rational in the face of irrational callers like David.
You know who else doesn't pay taxes?Corporate America! You idiot.
Brian, take a pill, put your feet up and relax. Oi Madonna mi!!
I'm one of the 99%.
Where I have a problem with OWS is that I don't feel like they will ever get to a point where they will come up with "actionable items" that can CHANGE things. They are just opening their windows and screaming "I'm not gonna take it anymore!"
The real hero of #OWS is Tim Pool - broadcaster of #theother99 http://www.ustream.tv/theother99. His live feed was picked up by Reuters and many other stations last night. Don't take Brian's take on it – See for yourself.
I love the accusations of bias, pro AND con. The fact is that WNYC does a great job of covering all sides of most issues, and some people will only be satisfied if their particular point of view is the only one presented.
The last semi-hysterical caller, David should really take a breath or move his radio dial over to Limbaugh territory. His harangue was very unpleasant.
I am the last person to defend WNYC but your caller went off the rails. Your salaries are not that high and if WNYC and those salaries do not put you in the 1% that is really big money.
Anyway I don't understand why he would say your station is biased toward the 99% and that your employees are part of it.. weird.
David on the phone...
You have some problems with WNYC, what's your point about the OWS movement? You've effectively made yourself look like an idiot.
WNYC has reported equally on all sides of the Movement, they've had OWS supporters and OWS opponents. You just got up on that soap box of yours and made yourself sound extremely uneducated.
What do they want? They want our representatives to stop taking bribes from Wall Street and instead pass laws for strict regulation of the bankers, brokers and corporate maggots who got us into this mess.Listen to Elizabeth Warren and Paul Volcker.
The caller about WNYC not "paying taxes" is blowing smoke. If WNYC is abiding by applicable laws, doesn't pay certain taxes as a non-profit, and "you" don't like it, have the laws changed. Sheesh.
This is your attempt at balance, Brian?
Wow, really stupid and shoddy segment.
Awwww, poor little businessman can't get his latte because he's inconvenienced by protestors so he hates OWS...versus people standing up against the system due to the complete destruction of our system brought on by greedy corporations and government deregulation.
Yeah, I know which side I am on.
Joe B - of course! And guess who will get to pay for that in the long run? Three guesses, and the first two don't count.
that guy was painfully idiotic!
The major issue I have with OWS is that they actually have expressed goals but they are not articulating them to the public. I think OWS is trying to revolutionise the country from representative democracy to direct democracy and that's not being expressed in the manner it should be.
As for the inconvenience factor, c'mon this is New York, how long have us 1%ers been waiting for a 2nd Avenue subway line. Or ask anyone whom lives in Brooklyn or Queens during a snow storm.
David, who cares if you no longer donate to WNYC. I'll gladly pick up the slack. Your comment about 'so called free speech' shows exactly how much you care about individual rights. Do us all a favor, go back to listening Rush.
Remember:These protests aren't so much about money as about money's influence over democracy....over the political process....
The Ford Foundation, a non-profit, pays to NYC the amount they would pay in taxes if they were not a non-profit. Or at least they used to.
David - waste of time. Who cares what Brain and Leonard make? Are they supposed to not report on it because of how much they make?Who cares about WNYC's tax status.
You gave him way too much time.
I, too am mad at Wall Street criminals, but I can't wholeheartedly support OWS because I still don't know what they stand for. Do they want to reform the system, or do they want to sweep it away entirely, and replace it with some utopian camping experiment?
Brian, you let this one caller hijack the show.
Occupy Wall Street is news and thats why WNYC is covering them. This guy that says WNYC is covering them to much is way off. He doesnt even know what they are about. They will not go violent. They are not a bunch of slackers that have given up. They are activley and productively participating in Democracy.
Get this guy off the air Brian, he is a jackass!!
I'm sick of this argument about costing the city money. The cops are getting BIG overtime pay and the city is raking it in through Fines and Arrests.
Brian Lehrer deserves any amount of money for the wonderful job he does--he is a large reason for my high quality of life. Give him a raise!
I'm sure there were a lot of Southern Blacks pissed off that they couldn't go to work when there was a bus strike in Birmingham Alabama.
Does the caller David *honestly* believe that the police see overtime as a hardship??!!
You've given David too much air time. I suspect he's a police plant. Now he's getting too personal with you. Cut him off.
Oy now this caller is making anti-OWS people look bad, just as many OWS people make other types of progressives look bad...
Please cut this guy OFF. How much should WNYC personalities make???
Sure, let "David" go on. Now I know that I'm a fan of OWS. He's a wacko!!!
Please, cut David the blowhard off. What a twerp.
Brian - why are you giving this guy so much time?
Cut him off already!
$300,000? Does this guy even understand how little that is in comparison to 10 million?Forget it. This dude is a cop. I bet he is.
Dana, as you say "abuse of capitalism is the issue, not capitalism itself" - I agree with you precisely.
I do have some issue with the use of the term '99%'. In reality, increased taxation should begin at at least the 25% and on upwards, but everyone understands the term '99%', so So what? It's imprecise and admittedly simplistic but it summarizes change that needs to happen.
BRIAN, get this guy off the air. You are being ploite, he is rude
Is WNYC now carrying Fox and Friends ?
I think that the occupy wall street are zapping police resources, hurting cab drivers, small business owners in their area, blocking sidewalks and streets making it difficult for the 99% to get to work.
Brian, your interview with the guest yestereday spoke volumes. Mr. Graber the anarchist, you were giddy with affection.
David, you're wrong, plain and simple. You're just attacking WNYC for some personal reason.
Hi Brian,It seems this question is being asked in a divisive way, and suggests or feeds an assumption that not buying into tactics means not buying into the goals of OWS. I was out there last night and there were a multitude of tactics used. Maybe asking people which tactics they identify with would seem less suggestive?
What is clear to me is that people can identify with the motives and concepts and not identify with all tactics and that's not a problem. Coverage and focus on this diversity is what combats the kind of stereotyping and oversimplification of most mainstream media.
MichaelB, I saw that guy this morning, too! And you are absolutely right.
I was excited by the movement at the beginning but have become disenchanted with their lack of purposeful activity. True, they have drawn attention, but have they really done anything productive?
I am also against their adamant anti-capitalism (abuse of capitalism is the issue, not capitalism itself.) It is very naiive of them to want to overturn capitalism. Do they want socialism, communism? Have they lived under socialism/communism? I am sure not, for if they had, they would be praising capitalism, with all its foibles.
I'm not rich. I'm not a multi-millionaire. I'm just a nasty slum-dweller from Bushwick, and nothing will ever change that. But I'm not a moron, either. I know the difference between a fair deal and a freebie. If students loaded with debt are unhappy, then they should take it up with their teachers -- or better yet, ask themselves why they chose a Columbia or an NYU over a CCNY or a Baruch. I have a hard time taking seriously anyone screaming poverty while clutching a $200 i-phone. But in the end, if one wishes to reduce Wall Street's role in our society, one had better realize what Wall Street does: Wall Street deals in debt. The more people borrow from the banks, the more influence the banks accrue. So if you want to disempower the banks, just stop borrowing their money. Just stop using your credit card at Starbucks. It doesn't require a camp-out at the park, or blocking streets and bridges, or clashes with the police, or cheap camera-mugging tactics. It's really just that simple.
I don't agree with the caller who claims that WNYC is making heroes of the protesters in his portrayal of who the protesters are.
But I DO agree that underlying it all, WNYC IS sympathetic to the OWS movement.
The people didn't send abundant amounts of police to patrol the protests and make million$ in overtime. That was not a decision made by the 99%. Sorry, DAVID.
This guy deserves to be inconvenienced. He has nothing to offer.
Also, this nut is probably confusing NYC with NPR.
Bernie has nailed it. The companies on Wall Street will not change until they are made to. The regulators were asleep and the fix was in when Paulson, Geithner and Summers cried "Fire" and rammed through a bailout with no rules or giveback. Where was the Fed, the SEC and to stop this? And Congress?
I agree that wall street needs to be regulated, need accountability. But what I don't like about OWS is that they don't have any goals, there is nothing you can get behind or actually change. I get they just want to let their frustration be known, but why can't we actually instigate change?
Secondly I do like that they target certain people only, like Mayor Bloomberg, I think it makes the movement relatively worthless when you have leaders come on NPR to rant against the mayer for personal reasons, it just degrades the real feelings behind the movement. I don't think that the real problem is the millionaires, I think the problem is how our government, and us as people, let them get away with exploiting people to make these millions. I also don't think we should be 'anti-capitalism' but instead we should try to fix our system which is corrupted, aiming to have better capitalism.
Also there is no leader of OWS that I can get behind, most of the people I've heard that come on wnyc I really disagree with and dislike, they don't even seem to be that informed.
why even ask this question in the negative? Why ask about skeptics only?
this is a very biased approach.
I have been complaining about the discrepancies and inequalities in income & wealth to my friends for years, claiming it was unsustainable for a society and only getting worse.
But as with all historic left-wing movements, the educated elite come to the working class and tell them what to do, and where their interests lie. The working class take one look at the soft, clean hands of the young evangelists and dismiss them.
This morning on NY1, I saw a young "protester" interviewed about the events of yesterday. He had piercings through his lower lip, tongue, and nose.
It is images such as this that are a real turn-off for a lot of people -- they don't "represent" the average US citizen! They seem elitist, spoiled, callow, and out of touch with what everyday people truly have to deal with, and it ain't about partying, hanging out, hooking up, or doing drugs, etc.
An earlier sound bite from a protestor sums it up - she says they are going to let "the people who work down here [Wall Street]" know that we're not going to take it. Who do you think those people are? Workers! Working. Trying to make a living and struggle through each day. You are NOT gaining their sympathy by making their lives harder.
sitting in a park is not a protest.
I don't know what to think about OWS.
It is good to see people care about inequality about the inherent unfairness of criminals in the finance world getting away with economic murder because they fund our politicians.
But on the other hand, I can't get behind a movement who appear to be populated by the Hobo-on-Purpose dirty youth who gave up jam band concerts for Union Square and Ave A, who think by having a cute dog with them, that people will give them handouts. These are the people who basically mock our poor, mock our homeless, just like many in the 1% do.
If this movement was a more of a Depression-style populism, a Bonus Army, an old time Working Class revolt, then I'd support it more.
Also I don't want my subways interrupted.
I sympathize with their cause, but the idea that a society should be expected to conduct its business through direct democracy is absurd. OWS is going to need to translate their frustration to meaningful political action, and soon.
I am part of the 99%. I am unclear what has to happen to satisfy those protesting.
In principle I do support them, but the other day after the eviction, I heard the leader (I forget his name) say that "this has turned from an anti-Wall Street movement to an anti-Bloomberg movement," and that bothered me. I hope he only said that in the heat of the moment. Because I think the mayor has been reasonable, in the range of his duties. I want it to remain an anti-Wall Street movement, and not become someone's personal vendetta.
In one breath, Brian Lehrer and others say that the OWS participants don't speak with one voice, that their message is mixed with many themes. Then, in the next moment, OWS is accused to be speaking with one voice _not_ representing the 99%.
So which is it? The critics of OWS can't have it both ways.
I'm one of the 99 and Brian Lehrer does not speak for me!
and those DAMNED DRUMS!
any reaction against the immoral animals on wall st. who destroyed our economy is a good thing. BUT i don't really get it, to be honest;feel like i'm missing something. these mongrels on wall st. are only playing by the rules. the people that created the rules need to be called out. OWS should be on the steps of the capital and supreme court everyday, harrassing and demanding responsibility from the criminals in congress and on the court. campaign financing and the citizens united decision are at the core of this problem and that's where the energy should be directed.the behavior of those claiming to be part of the OWS movement yesterday should be ashamed of themselves. throwing batteries at cops? blocking the bridge which in turn just hurts real working people? harrassing those geting off the subway who are the real working people?leave nyc and get down to DC
I don't like that only when people are personally suffering financially do they put any effort into 'changing society.'
I heard one of the protestors chanting something about the NYPD being sexist and racist. Walking right behind her were two black female cops. That made me laugh.
I am sure someone will call in or post the ignorant comment about, "The little bit of sympathy I had for them is gone now that they made it hard for me to cross the street and shop." First of all, the 'they' or 'them' that you refer to are YOU. You are the 99% also, or you wouldn't be walking the streets of NYC - you would be in your private town car. Secondly, the protestors are not causing the disruption or the blockages, the police are. The police set up barricades.
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