by Hans Eisenbeis
It’s not often that professional journalists and media pundits throw up their hands and admit they have no idea what’s going on, but that’s essentially what has happened in the last three weeks during the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Respected brands from the New York Times to CNN to Fox to MSNBC have substituted sarcasm and dismissiveness for reportage, and the coverage has been decidedly ageist. Instead of doing their jobs, Gen X and Boomer commentators have given a big generational thumb of the nose to Millennials camped out in New York City’s Liberty Square. To which we can only say: Don’t dis the kids. They will bury you.
Hence boob-tube pundits and politicians have been quick to belittle the Net-driven movement as vague, decentralized, unrealistic and (gasp!) more a street party than a political party. And the Occupiers have, for their part, seemed to revel in not answering questions, essentially saying “It’s an angst thing. You wouldn’t understand.” But Occupy Wall Street’s premise is actually simple. A huge percentage of Americans who have, until now, remained either silent or ignored, have one serious grievance: despair over the growing disparity between the rich and everyone else.
Americans have a lot to be angry about, and there’s reason to believe that government and corporate America are not doing enough about it. Smart brands that care about teen and 20something markets are looking past the “kids these days” headlines to ponder the real personalities behind Occupy Wall Street. Because if there’s anything really surprising or confusing about the movement, it’s this: What took them so long?