TheWrap visits the scene more than three weeks into the protest and finds celebrities and lots of disorganization
Ladies and gentleman, Kanye West is in the building. Or in this case, outside of it.
The outspoken rapper paid a visit to the Occupy Wall Street protests Monday afternoon, led by rap mogul Russell Simmons. Simmons was there to appear on Reverend Al Sharpton’s radio show, which the MSNBC primetime host was broadcasting live from the park.
The media spotlight on the movement has not faded and celebrity interest hasn't abated. Organization, however, is still lacking and political goals still need unpacking.
As the protests enter their fourth week, and copycat demonstrations proliferate as far as Fort Myers, Fla. — population 48,000 and change — media attention continues to grow. But that attention is often uncontrolled as the organization continues to find its footing.
“We are supposed to talk a lot more than we do,” one organizer who declined to be identified told TheWrap. Speaking from behind the information desk about the relationship between the movement’s different bodies, he added “We’re still organizing so much.”
As one stands at the various stations of the movement’s epicenter, there is a constant sense of organized chaos.
The media spotlight has been unrelenting. As TheWrap made its inaugural trip to the protests' headquarters in Zucotti Park, various representatives of the movement related a ceaseless onslaught of cameras and interview requests.
A press officer named Mark told TheWrap that he spends almost every moment he's there either being interviewed or arranging interviews; a more recent recruit said she'd already lost track of how many times she’d spoken with the press.
Cameras greet “occupiers” as they wake up, even before they get the chance to grab a bite to eat or smoke their first cigarette of the day.
And that is why the likes of West, Susan Sarandon and Michael Moore trudge down here. The more attention the movement gets, the more opportunities it gets to spread its message and the more likely it is to have an impact.
But to have that impact, does it need more coordination in the form of, say, a political affiliation or association? Does it need to be the Tea Party of the left wing?
“The Tea Party wants to use the standard political channels to get candidates into office and really pressure the Republican Party with their presence,” Mark said. “We’re trying to create a social movement that will be independent and autonomous in our own objectives.”
As a movement still in its infancy, it holds a core ideology but no political aspirations. It has found a theme with endless potential for mainstream adoption — anti-greed — but has yet to turn that into concrete proposals.
Does it need them? For now, its representatives say no.
So how does the media respond? Do talking heads glorify the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon and its brazenness or do they point out the flaws and potential pitfalls?
At such an early juncture, it may be too early to render judgment, but damn it if the media does not try anyways. And at this point, securing that attention is half the battle.