Controversy

Occupy Wall Street: Are protesters being paid?

Conservatives insist that a Craigslist ad from the liberal Working Families Party proves that the Left is hiring protesters for $350-$650 a week

A reader at the conservative blog PowerLine has spotted a Craigslist ad from New York's progressive Working Families Party, which is apparently looking to hire people for $350 to $650 a week to "fight to hold Wall Street accountable." (See a screenshot below.) The "immediate hires" must be "outgoing, articulate, dedicated, determined," and "energetic communicators," the ad says. But "this is not a policy job! Through direct action you will be shaping NY state politics for the next 20 years." Outraged conservatives read this as liberals paying people to attend the Occupy Wall Street protests. Is this proof the Left is secretly bankrolling the movement?

This sure looks like Astroturfing to me: The ad doesn't specify what you're supposed to do for $350 a week, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. But "the headline strongly suggests that the position entails getting paid to protest," and "'direct action' usually means protesting." The most obvious explanation, then, is that "WFP wants Astroturfers, presumably to join other Astroturfers," on Wall Street. It would be interesting to know how many of the occupiers are already on WFP's payroll."Political party paying Occupy Wall Street protesters?"

This conspiracy theory is just "silly": This isn't the first right-wing attempt at "'exposing' the secret liberal money behind the Wall Street occupation," says Harry Siegel at The Village Voice. But it might be the dumbest. The ad's obviously the kind liberal groups like WFP "have run for years, under some topical banner, to find kids willing to take low-paying, rather lousy canvassing jobs." If any of these conspiracy-mongers had bothered to call WFP, they'd look much less foolish now."Right-wing sites succumb to silly Occupy Wall Street conspiracies"

The protesters are pro bono — and anti-Obama: "Occupy Wall Street is confusing to many Americans," not just right-wing bloggers, says David Weider at MarketWatch. But after talking to participants for a month, I can say with certainty that "not one is getting paid to protest." Quite the opposite: Many of them "have sacrificed income to march." And there's one more way I know they're not paid Democratic shills: Almost every one "complained about Obama and how he's pandered to Wall Street interests.""5 myths of Occupy Wall Street"

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