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Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Haverford Commencement Speaker Uses The Podium to Criticize Protesters on Two Campuses

haverford graduation tweetRobert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley was supposed to be the commencement speaker at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Instead, William Bowen, former president of Princeton University did the honors. Students protested Birgeneau’s selection, so he became the latest in a string of commencement speakers who backed out of the commitment. The students were fired up over the former president’s handling of students who protested on the Berkeley campus as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the New York Post, 40 students and three professors voiced opposition to Birgeneau’s selection. “The group wanted Birgeneau to apologize, support payments for victims and write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position on the events and ‘what you learned from them,’” the paper writes.

“I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of ‘demands,’” Bowen said. And that’s not all.

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Billionaire’s $100M Central Park Donation: PR Win?

Yesterday New York’s Central Park experienced one of its most notable events since the installation of Christo’s temporary art project The Gates in winter 2005: billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and the Paulson Family Foundation donated $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy. According to Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News, “It is believed to be the biggest single gift ever made to park land.”

The New York Times reported on the rationale behind Paulson’s philanthropy: at Tuesday’s press conference announcing the donation, Paulson said, “Central Park is among the most deserving of all of New York’s cultural institutions. And I wanted the gift to make a difference”. The funds will be evenly divided between the park’s endowment and capital improvements.

Paulson joined the Central Park Conservancy board in June, and he has supported the group for 20 years. According to Forbes, this gift far exceeds Paulson’s earlier philanthropic commitments, placing him “in a league with several of his most charitable peers atop New York City’s alternative asset management universe.”

Conservancy officials expressed delight at the bequest–president and CEO Doug Blonsky hailed the gift as “transformational,” saying it will enable the park to break its cycle of restoration and decline.

Paulson’s financial career has also experienced several ups and downs. He founded his hedge fund management company, Paulson & Co, in 1994 and became a billionaire in 2007, making most of his money by shorting subprime loans and effectively rooting for the collapse of the real estate market.

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Was Occupy Wall Street a PR Failure?

Today a number of Occupy Wall Street supporters were back in downtown Manhattan planning to surround and block access to the New York Stock Exchange; dozens have already been arrested, but you probably won’t hear too much about related events in the week to come unless you follow politics closely.

Why? Because the public at large seems to have moved on—and so have many former supporters. Some members of the movement would like to re-take their place in the spotlight, but from where we sit it looks like Occupy’s moment in the public square has all but come and gone.

On the first anniversary of the original Zucotti Park gathering, everyone’s asking: What went wrong? What went right? Without commenting on the ideology behind Occupy, we’d like to examine the group’s PR strategy.

One thing can’t be denied: Occupy got the world’s attention, and it inspired American media figures to spend more time discussing income equality and the effect of wide-scale financial crimes on the general public than ever before. History has taught us that acts of civil disobedience, especially when coordinated and executed on a large scale, can quickly attract the interests of the outside world. All international news organizations reported on Occupy, and the phrase “We Are the 99%”, however you may feel about it, had real staying power.

The real problem lies in the follow-up, however.

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Jay-Z Was Never Really into Occupy Wall Street

See, we thought Jay-Z was totally cool with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He certainly didn’t have a problem co-opting their message for his own benefit last year when his clothing company, Rocawear, started selling T-shirts labeled “Occupy All Streets.”

And yet, after reading his interview in last weekend’s The New York Times style magazine, we don’t know if Hova’s heart was ever really with the folks who made so much noise down in Zucotti Park. Here’s the key quote:

“I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know? Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.” Hmm.

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Occupy Movements Making Their Mark on Language

Occupy movements here and abroad have had a big impact on language this year. Etymologists, both professional and amateur, are having a field day looking back at the terms and phrases that have taken hold in 2011. Many of the terms that they’re highlighting are related to the income disparity topic that has roiled citizens around the globe and driven them to protest.

The New York Times took a look yesterday at the terms “99 percent” and “one percent,” analyzing how they’ve made their way into political speeches, marketing, and everyday talk.

And this week, dictionary groups at Oxford University Press both here and in the U.K. declared “squeezed middle” the global word of the year.

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‘Adbusters’ Branded Occupy Wall Street?

According to a New York Times article, the #OccupyWallStreet hashtag came into being on July 13, when Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters, and his colleagues created it. There was also this story on the Canada-based magazine’s site on that day. Soon after, the poster at left was designed.

The name of the story is “The Branding of Occupy Wall Street,” and since the movement got started, Adbusters has continued to talk up OWS, which falls in line with the magazine’s anti-consumerist focus. But it’s interesting that the Times gives so much credit to Lasn and Adbusters for branding a movement that media and critics have said for months has abeen hard to pin down.

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Revolving Door: Media Coverage of OWS, Ryan Gosling Protests, and More

The media was a big presence during Occupy Wall Street’s “Day of Action,” which also marked the two-month anniversary of the movement. Some of the coverage was had the same level of confusion that was present on the ground.

Newsweek/The Daily Beast had some high-profile departures this week.

The Early Show is being overhauled with a new studio and new talent, including Oprah’s friend Gayle King and media vet Charlie Rose. Chris Wragge, who was brought in from WCBS/Channel 2, will not be the primary host of the show starting next year but has a contract through 2014.

And Jim Romenesko‘s resignation from, following criticism from the site’s online director Julie Moos over “questionable attribution,” sparked plenty of discussion across the media.

Ryan Gosling fans are pissed off that their guy wasn’t chosen to be People‘s Sexiest Man Alive. Fans protested in front of the magazine’s offices to let the editors know that they made a mistake putting that other gorgeous man (French-speaking sexy master Bradley Cooper) on the cover. We’ll call it a dead heat. BuzzFeed organized the faux-test.

Joy Behar‘s HLN program was cancelled.

More media moves after the jump.

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Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Catch Heat for Nighttime Raid, ‘Media Blackout’

Photo: Michael Moore

Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are catching major heat for a “media blackout” that has resulted in the expulsion and arrest of journalists who have been covering the evacuation of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park.

Reporters from the New York Daily News, the AP, Mother Jones, local site DNAinfo, and other outlets have reported instances of physical confrontation with the police, officers taking press credentials from reporters, and otherwise being barred from covering activity.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the media from getting the word out, and doing it in a way that makes the Mayor and the police look even worse.

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Bloomberg Presser: Says OWS Protesters Can Return, But Must Occupy ‘With Their Arguments’

At first, protesters resisted the police calls to leave. Photo: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

At about 1 a.m., New York police moved in to Zuccotti Park and forced Occupy Wall Street protesters to leave so that the park could be cleaned. According to NY1, after about 3.5 hours, the park had been cleared and has since been power cleaned.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg just gave a press conference where he explained that the protesters were to be allowed to return until lawyers for the protesters* took legal steps that prevented the park’s reopening indefinitely.

Mayor Bloomberg just wrapped up of a press conference where he explained that the decision to clear the park for cleaning was ultimately his.

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Rocawear Decides That Occupying All Streets Was a Bad Idea

People love Jay-Z and his Rocawear clothing brand. But people did not like the fact that they decided to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement to turn a quick buck on sales of a t-shirt. After appearing for sale on the Rocawear site, the offending garment has been removed.

The t-shirt, first seen on Hova in a photo with Russell Simmons, caused problems when the company revealed that none of the proceeds from the sales of the shirt would go to fund the movement. In a statement, Rocawear said, “Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement.” Well now. At least they weren’t trying to spin it some way or another.

Both Animal NY and the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog say they’ve tried to contact Rocawear for a follow-up post-removal statement but haven’t gotten one.