David Brooks Gets Occupy Wall Street and Al-Qaeda in Same Sentence

New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a tedious column today (10/11/11) about how the real radicals are the centrists, not the Wall Street occupiers. (Read Dean Baker to see what Brooks is getting wrong.) But this jumped out at me:

A third believe the U.S. is no better than Al-Qaeda, according to a New York magazine survey.

How would someone “survey” a leaderless, ever-shifting mass of protesters? I am not sure, and it’s not really what New York did. They asked a series of questions–some of them obviously cheeky–to 100 activists at Liberty Plaza. As you can see:

Rank yourself on the following Scale of Liberalism:

Not liberal at all: 6

Liberal but fairly mainstream (i.e., Barack Obama): 3

Strongly liberal (i.e., Paul Krugman): 12

Fed up with Democrats, believe country needs overhaul (i.e., Ralph Nader): 41

Convinced the U.S. government is no better than, say, Al-Qaeda (i.e., Noam Chomsky): 34

It’s not surprising that activists at Occupy Wall Street say they identify more with Chomsky than with Obama, regardless of whether you put a description that doesn’t reflect Chomsky’s worldview next to his name. It’s hard to believe that the magazine took this very seriously anyway. But it does provided Brooks with useful anti-protester fodder for his column defending the top 1 percent.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.