Doing the math on coverage of the Tea Party versus coverage of OccupyWallStreet

It’s becoming obvious to many that the media ignored the #OccupyWallStreet protests at first and is still somewhat reluctant to cover events nation-wide.

This fascinating graph shows the coverage of the Tea Party in 2009 versus that of OWS in 2010.

What is most striking is that the red line (the coverage of Tea Party events in 2009) is an almost perfect “logarithmic” curve…a curve generated by the equation y=log(x)+K where K is usually zero and always constant. Whereas the blue line (the coverage of Occupy Wall Street in 2011) is close to zero until late September 2011 and then becomes a linear increase (y=x).

A logarithmic curve starts out promisingly if you’re interested in increasing the value of y: almost exponentially (y=x**2). But then it flattens out to y=K where K is a constant. For example, there are a lot of primes close to zero (2, 3, 5, 7, 11…) but later on, as Gauss proved, they converge to a roughly constant rate.

But the coverage of the Tea Party events doesn’t have to increase and can stay at a constant level, or it may collapse at some future date.

The interesting fact is that the Tea Party coverage so neatly conforms to y=log(x) whereas the OWS coverage is ragged and more natural-looking.

We can hypothesize: the TP coverage is push coverage, where editors decide to cover, whereas OWS is pull and driven by events (such as police rioting and attacks on innocent people) and reporters who’ve been themselves on the scene and beaten by police.

“Push” coverage can be expected to manifest a more mathematical pattern because editors form a small set of like-minded people.

In prestige newspapers, the readership of which is declining but older and wealthier, the TP rallies reinforce the rather low haute bourgeois opinion of the petit bourgeois: that such clerks and jerks are useful idiots at best and guaranteed to raise a laugh what with their highly symbolic guns, misspelled signs, and crazed expressions. Editors at the Times and other media have probably assigned increasing numbers of reporters and authorized an initially increasing number of stories on the Tea Party hoping to divert their readers.

Whereas OWS was just another boring left-wing demonstration and precoded as some sort of hangover from the Sixties, an era that the truly au fait claim as theirs, when they showed their virtue, but which they’ve outgrown in a gesture like that of Sergei Prokofiev’s rejection of high Modernism or TS Eliot’s conversion. Therefore the coverage bumped along the bottom until around Sep 25 when rioting policemen maced innocent women.

Editors are still loth to cover OWS and still need coverage that meets the criteria “if it bleeds it leads”. But not only are beat reporters pushing coverage. “Talkback” and “comment” sections of modern Web based editions are also creating pressure. On the New York Times they are running about 99% in favor of the representatives of the 99%.

Here, a ranking of online comments (by number of approvals) attached to Gina Bellafanti’s disgusting 23 Sep article patronizing the protesters, most of which were posted after the women were Maced, shows again 99% in favor of the spokespeople for the 99%.

The “Sixties” are used by people not even there as a point of reference and in a way that displays ignorance and intellectual flaccidity. Gina Bellafanti was born in 1965 yet feels like a real journalist when she writes that a female protester looks like Joni Mitchell.

The message, from people not born early enough to actually experience the 1960s, is that “we”, the au fait, the gratin, the nomenklatura, got over “all that” and that “they” are merely copying “Joni Mitchell” like deluded fools. But in actuality, the au fait, the gratin, the nomenklatura were not part of the movements of the 1960s and instead more or less cowered at Princeton delaying coeducation until 1972 whilst students at state colleges put their bodies on the line.

Actual information, knowledge and I daresay wisdom is receding from the au fait, the gratin, the nomenklatura at the speed of light and their focus on a particular protest or critique is becoming inverse to its worth as they are sucked into the black hole of what George Soros called (in 2005) the “bubble” of American supremacy.


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