Occupy Wall Street protesters complained early on of a media blackout (mass arrests put paid to that problem) but according to emails between organizers dumped by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart this morning, the group’s early attempts at media outreach were fraught.
Before the occupation started on September 17th, one member of the group apparently gave an unflattering interview to the Village Voice [EDIT: The activist was Will Russell and this is the interview. He suggested there were divisions between the anarchists involved in planning OWS and other organizers] prompting another activist to write:
“rule #1 of all activist media work is you don’t badmouth other activists to the press. I mean I know a lot of you guys are inexperienced but this is beyond obnoxious.”
Another thread was started with guidance on how to keep protesters on message when talking to the press. The advice? Practice a 30 second sound bite with a friend and don’t deviate from it. When journalists pull their favorite trick of clamming up and letting you ramble on, resist the temptation. One organizer wrote:
“always always always stick to talking points. acknowledge questions, but then always go back to the talking points. there is a reason politicians do this and we should filter what we say to the media so our words can no be twisted or used against us.”
If that fails, one member of the group suggested “pull the dada ninja trick”:
“Sample Dada-Ninja Interview Technique:
“Interviewer: Why are you here?
“Dada-Ninja: The gravitational forces of the moon have ruined the taste of my coffee. I came down here to put pressure on the worldwide calorie-free sugar lobby, with their astrophysics and the scent of air fresheners. It’s all about the waves and cocoa beans! We need to stop it.”
That certainly sounds like enough to put off even the most intrepid reporter.