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.