Many big-time newspapers have run mocking pieces by political pundits about the Occupy movement, denigrating it as confused and chaotic. In USA Today, for example, right-wing pundit Cal Thomas recently opined that "to the extent anyone can understand their core message," the occupiers "apparently despise business and capitalism."
Well, no, Cal — they despise corporate greed and political corruption, and their core message is really quite clear: The bankers, bosses and others who make up the richest 1 percent of our society are further enriching themselves by knocking down the 99 percent.
Maybe an up-close example of this would help Thomas see what the majority of Americans — who support the Occupy movement — are experiencing. Look no further than the very newspaper chain that's paying him to pontificate so cluelessly.
Gannett, which owns USA Today and about 80 other papers, is a financial and journalistic wreck. In the past six years, its stock price has collapsed by 750 percent, it has fired 20,000 employees, stripped its newsrooms of their ability to do serious reporting, and cut the pay of remaining journalists while insisting that they work longer hours with less support.
Craig Dubow, Gannett's CEO since 2005, presided over this debacle. He's now out, but he wasn't fired (as you or I would've been for such a failure). No, no — instead, Gannett's board of directors handed Dubow — get this — $37 million as a go-away gift. This cushion of luxury came on top of the $16 million he was given in salary and bonuses during the past two years — as those workers who produce the product were being dumped and the corporation was tanking.
So, Cal, that's the reason so many are in the streets and in support of what the Occupiers are saying. Can you relate? Probably not.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.