Media Shift 'Blame and Frame' Strategy For Occupy
Immediately after Andrew Breitbart’s now infamous moment at CPAC 2012 where he addressed the black-mask clad Occupy protesters and demanded they stop raping people and covering up rapes, progressive media exploded at the opportunity to paint Breitbart as “drunk.”
Unbeknownst to the media establishment, Breitbart had achieved in one moment what many of us had been working on for months; namely, progressive media began to acknowledge the now frequent rapes and crimes young activists were experiencing at various Occupy encampments around the nation.
The discussion of Occupy rape had entered the mainstream. Regardless of the instant smears and attacks Breitbart endured, he had effectively prodded progressive media to inadvertently focus on the topic. Once the Leftist establishment realized what had occurred and that their efforts to bring down Breitbart had inadvertently played a key role in tearing down their Occupy darling, damage control was quickly implemented.
The Left’s attempts to reduce the damage they caused to Occupy manifested in several ways. First, many of us involved with Breitbart were called “rapists” by anonymous Twitter accounts. The second wave came as Current TV’s Keith Olbermann, the Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas, and MSNBC reject David Shuster began to promote that the rapes were somehow non-existent and “made up” by Breitbart himself. Olbermann even went so far as promoting the concept that the act of a 20-something year-old convicted sex-offender raping a 14 year-old child raped was “consensual” and acceptable.
Even left-of-center outlets expressed outrage at Olbermann’s effort to minimize the many rapes that had occurred at Occupy encampments. Veteran journalist Lee Stranahan provided a point-by-point debunking of Olbermann’s efforts to cover up Occupy rapes. The Current TV anchor quickly began to back away from his claims. Unfortunately, his conscience never produced the desire to admit wrongdoing to the public, his viewers, or the rape victims he pilloried by essentially labeling all of them liars.
Rather than progressive media admitting it was completely wrong and holding their rape apologists accountable, the effort to frame and blame went into full effect.
One example of the progressive media's “frame and blame” efforts came in the form of a recent interview and discussion with a Mother Jones staff writer named Josh Harkinson. Though Harkinson and I have had our issues, we’ve historically been able to discuss matters. To his credit, he was one of, if not the only, left-of-center Occupy reporter who acknowledged that Occupy sexual assaults were an issue as BigGovernment.com broke the scandal. In our recent phone interview, Harkinson didn’t focus on the fact that Occupy rapes had occurred. He also didn’t focus any anger on Current TV’s Keith Olbermann for having blatantly lied to cover up the movement’s underbelly. The focus of the Mother Jones writer was on Andrew Breitbart himself. Harkinson focused in on whether or not Breitbart “had good motives” for exposing Occupy rapes. He said he suspected Breitbart was attempting to “make the movement look bad” rather than “being a crusader for addressing rape in our society.”
I immediately asked why that was his focus. Why was this story turning into “What are Breitbart’s Motives for Shining the Light on Occupy Rape” rather than focusing on the rapes? This example of Leftist establishment efforts to reframe any wrong deed by a Leftist into an attack on the Right isn’t new.
Left media engaged in a similar effort to “frame and blame” Occupy violence previously. In fact, the best example I can offer is in regards to my own experiences with Left media.
At the time of the 2008 Republican National Convention, the Occupy movement hadn’t yet changed its name. They still called themselves the “Peace and Justice” or “Anti-War” movement. The same Lisa Fithian who was revealed as a core organizer for Occupy was also a core organizer for the far Left effort to “shut the RNC down by any means necessary.” Under the tongue-in-cheek name of the RNC Welcoming Committee, the Occupy predecessor spawned several bomb plots in the effort to prevent Republicans from assembling, celebrating their views, and nominating the McCain/Palin ticket.
The New York Times immediately stepped in and engaged in the “frame and blame” effort for the Leftist establishment. Rather than express outrage or concern that the Left had spawned bomb plots and engaged in an effort to prevent other Americans from exercising their rights, the story was framed as “activists feel betrayed.” Media instead focused on my motivations for being an “undercover operative” with the FBI. Public Radio International’s This American Life focused on what “made me feel the need to be a hero.” Much like the case with Breitbart exposing the rapes in Occupy, I became the focus rather than the offenses of the Occupiers. This is what Left media has historically done for their “Che” figures.
The rage and desperation exhibited by groups that formerly enjoyed a monopoly over what information society was allowed to intake and how that information was framed has reached new levels. The Breitbarts of new media and citizen journalism are ensuring a monolithic single perspective is no longer the name of the game. Speaking out, refusing to be polite about media cover-ups, and defending our pioneers will ensure Left media’s attempts to endlessly cover for their own will ultimately fail.
The Occupy rape and violence has been exposed.