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The Grammar of Our Demands: The Zuccotti Park General Assembly and the Media
Gilbert Vanburen Wilkes IV, PhD
Royal Road University
Royal Roads University
On October 16, 2011 a U.S. centre-right website titled 'Big Government' released a cache of email correspondences purported to consist of a discussion between Occupy Wall Street organizers and journalists about how to develop a coherent message to connect with wider U.S. audiences and interests groups on the model of the U.S. Tea Party movement. The email cache is available here: <a target="blank" href="http://owsmail.dc406.com/">http://owsmail.dc406.com/</a>. The writers at 'Big Government' intended to discredit both the journalists and the Occupy Wall Street Organizers by showing evidence of collusion. For the purposes of this study the email cache becomes the data to develop a description of the value predicates, which means the way that either side in the discussion develops its understanding of the issues at hand, and address the question of how those issues should be presented to the public. Textual analysis of key words and word collocations using computer concordancer tools provide the empirical basis of the study. The object of the study is to provide insight into the professional practice of journalists confronted with the special case of reporting on a community that resists, on its face, the propagation of a coherent message as this contradicts Occupier practices of direct action through bottom-up direct democracy.
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