THE BLOG
11/04/2011 08:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The "Whitening" of Occupy Wall Street

Rush Limbaugh called occupiers: "Lazy, Spoiled Rotten, 99 Percent White Kids." Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin described the movement as "mostly white." Several newspapers ran front page stories highlighting an alleged lack of diversity within the occupy movement. Slowly, it seems, a media consensus is building around the narrative that the Occupy movement does not represent minorities, including the Latino community.

Yet across the country the reality is quite different. From Los Angeles to New York, Latino presence has been felt and heard loud and clear. Carrying different banners, from labor to immigration-all with the common theme of fighting corporate greed and abuse-the movement is much more diverse than what is seen on TV or what is read in the headlines. So why is it that the media is downplaying our communities' involvement? The occupiers themselves have a thought or two on this:

It is for no other reason that news media distrust is on the rise. It effectively contravenes what the Occupy movement is supposed to be all about. So it comes to no surprise that the likes of Limbaugh and Buchannan are driving the narrative of what this movement is and what it is not. They build the frame and corporate media follows.

Their interest is to present a lazy, disorganized, unclear, isolated, small, ethnically monotone movement-one which they advocate as bound to quickly dilute. The key element here is that it is precisely this media that is working actively to dilute it. By effectively censoring Latino voices, for example, from within the movement they portray Occupy as not "really" representing the majority (or the 99%). The goal is clear: Marginalize the movement and show that it is merely a "few" causing a raucous. Exactly what Limbaugh, Malkin, Buchannan truly want. Media is being hijacked by the same elements which Occupiers are riling against.

Undoubtedly the next step will be a blackout. They will present it as an "old story," something that "wasn't real" and that is no longer "worth covering." This will be to their detriment, of course, not only because the movement is very much "real" but because it doesn't really need the publicity that corporate media alleges to provide. Occupiers are diverse, savvy and motivated enough to democratize media in itself.