Perspective isn't one of the media's more reliable attributes; thus our impression that the Occupy Wall Street movement is both massive and influential.
We hear it, we read it every day: a storm of outrage, a swell of protesters, a torrential collectivity hammering the mighty but unjust few. This, we're informed, is change in manifest action -- the power of agitation.
But then there's this, from the New Republic's Walter Shapiro, who recently spent a few days "in-country":
What struck me was the sincere and good-natured smallness of it all....
[A] Tuesday afternoon Millionaires March up Park Avenue ... attracted about 500 mostly middle-aged, union-affiliated demonstrators. And in late Wednesday afternoon’s drizzle, 400 temporary residents of Zuccotti Park tried to march the roughly eight blocks to Wall Street....
This is not the 1967 Pentagon March or anything like it. Nothing I saw in New York this week justifies the current level of the-whole-world-is-watching media coverage.
Even if it were comparable to the '67 Pentagon March, we should remind ourselves of how many more years the Vietnam war dragged on.
I've always been puzzled by street protests, American-style. The ones that turn violent merely alienate the true masses, while the chronically peaceful ones merely earn officeholders' indifference.