Question of the day: Does the recent violence at Occupy Wall Street protests risk eroding public backing for the movement (even if heavy-handed police tactics are partly to blame for the mayhem)? Steve Kornacki has a good take at Salon. Pointing to two contradictory polls, one showing people souring on OWS, another pointing to continued support, he concludes that the chaotic scenes – which of course the media has played to the hilt – probably are turning some people off the Occupiers. But: Sympathy for their (vague-as-they-are) goals – income inequality, political corruption/gridlock, Wall Street excess, the general economic shittiness of life in America circa 2011 – remains strong. But he adds this caution:
The risk for OWS is that clashes with authorities and more reports of disturbing activities at protest sites will continue to turn swing voters against the protests and that this will distract from the broader message behind the movement and overwhelm the very real progress that OWS has achieved in altering the political debate.
In other OWS news
• A second Iraq vet has been reported injured after protesters clashed with police in Oakland this week. [Guardian]
• Following on Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s increasingly hostile rhetoric toward the Occupiers, protesters in Zuccotti Park are bracing for an eviction notice. [The Atlantic Wire]
• That pointy-bearded Guy Fawkes mask you keep seeing has become a symbol of OWS [AP]
• The New York Times public editor kicks of a discussion about how journalists should cover the movement. [New York Times]
• South Park takes on Occupy Wall Street, with Cartman as the hated 1 percenter (see below). [The Week]