The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters do not have a single message or specific list of demands, but they claim that big banks have too much power and take advantage of America’s middle class. However, the protesters are not alone: a Rasmussen poll reveals that 79 percent of the American people feel the same way.
According to Rasmussen, the OWS protesters chanted "Big Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Left Behind," as they marched through New York City last week. And in a national survey polling 1,000 Americans, 79 percent agreed with that statement. Only 10 percent did not agree, while 11 percent said they did not know.
"Americans continue to overwhelmingly believe that government and big business work together against the rest of us," said Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. "For many, the bailouts confirmed their worst fears about this unhealthy alliance."
The overall agreement with the protesters sentiments comes at a time where the OWS protesters have come under some criticism from the media, including CNN and Fox News.
CNN’s Alison Kosik tweeted that the entire purpose of the OWS protest was simply to "bang on the bongos, smoke weed!" She quickly removed the tweet, but not before several people were able to take a screenshot and post it online.
Fox News' Bill O’Reilly recently aired a piece in which "O’Reilly Factor" producer Jesse Watters went on the scene to interview protesters. The heavily-edited segment showed protesters giving unintelligible answers to questions like, "What would you replace capitalism with?" with scenes from films like "The Wizard of Oz" that provided a mocking response.
Fox News later took criticism for not airing an interview that took place between OWS protester Jesse LaGreca and an "On the Record with Greta Van Sustern" producer. LaGreca took the opportunity to criticize Fox News for what some perceive to be a right-wing bias.
When the Fox News producer asked LaGreca if he thought President Barack Obama could be blamed for many of today's problems, LaGreca said that most people are interested in "Jesus stuff" like "feeding the poor and healthcare for the sick," but that Fox News pollutes the discussion and hinders progress with distractions like Obama’s birth certificate and wedge issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:
"You know, I find it really entertaining that people like to hold the Bill of Rights up while they’re screaming at gay soldiers, but they just can't wrap their heads around the idea that a for-profit healthcare system doesn’t work," LaGreca said.
"So, let’s just look at it like this, if we want the president to do more, let’s talk to him on a level that actually reaches people, instead of asking for his birth certificate and wasting time with total nonsense like Solyndra," he added.
The pick-and-choose coverage from some media outlets could be having an effect on Americans’ perception of the OWS protesters. Despite 79 percent agreeing with one of the group's core beliefs that "banks got bailed out, we got sold out," according to one chant at a march last week, only 33 percent have a "favorable" opinion of the protesters. Twenty-seven percent have an "unfavorable" opinion and 40 percent have no opinion.
The stark difference between accordance and favorability could be in part due to the image of the protesters being predominantly young hippies who simply do not want to work or bathe, but would rather "bang bongos and smoke pot," as CNN’s Alison Kosik expressed.
"This protest includes everybody. There's people playing guitar, sure, but there are also people creating media centers and doing so much more," Mimi McDermott, a teacher in her 60’s, told The Christian Post.
"There’s young people and there's older people, too. This is an inclusive movement. It's for everybody. You just have to be willing to look at it more than just on the surface," she added.