VIDEO: Newsflash, FOX, Wall Street Runs Washington

FOX News host Stuart Varney had Occupy Wall Street protesters in his sights this Halloween, chiding occupiers and union activists for what he sees as a double standard.

Varney bristled when I turned the tables on him, asking why FOX consistently celebrates Wall Street instead of exposing the bankers’ many crimes.

According to Varney, activists are happy to go after the 1 percent, but only if they are Republicans. Exhibit A for FOX is the bankruptcy of MF Global Holding, a virtually unknown investment firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. Varney suspects occupiers haven’t targeted the ex-governor because both occupiers and unionists are soft on Democrats.

A moment of fact-checking shows Varney’s whole framework falls apart. Mayors like Oakland’s Jean Quan have a different view of whether occupiers are soft on Democrats. Quan’s liberal credentials are solid, but her heavy-handed decision to have police raid Occupy Oakland left 24-year-old Iraq veteran Scott Olsen in critical condition and sparked a one-day walk-out by thousands of students, teachers, and city workers. Democratic mayors from Boston to Denver have also clashed with occupiers.

When FOX isn’t attacking unions and occupiers, it’s celebrating the concentrated economic power they're protesting.



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Case in point was the 10-minute puff piece on October’s stock market performance that preceded our interview. Will FOX help us figure out how many more MF Globals are out there betting billions and putting the banking system at risk? Don’t bet on it.

It’s too bad Varney declined my invitation to the next General Assembly to raise the idea that occupiers join unions to target Corzine. It wouldn’t be a tough sell. Union activists in New Jersey already have plenty of experience hounding him from his days as governor, and his days as Goldman Sachs CEO only add fuel to the fire.

But the deeper problem is FOX’s effort to slot protesters into the Republican-Democrat divide, which misses the whole point of the “Occupy” phenomenon. It doesn’t matter which party is in power—for more than a generation Wall Street has called the shots in Washington, turning our economy into a playground for the super rich with the rest of us locked outside the gates.

Occupiers rightly recognize that fighting each other over the crumbs is the wrong approach. They’ve put the spotlight back where it belongs—on the bankers and the billionaires who drove our economy off a cliff three years ago, and who are back to making money hand over fist while the rest of us suffer.

Mark Brenner is the former director of Labor Notes and is currently an instructor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education & Research Center.