Missed Connection: Right-Wing Media Come Up Empty After Trolling Craigslist For Paid Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Desperate to discredit a growing movement to hold Wall Street accountable for exploding income inequality, right-wing media figures have turned to trolling Craigslist.

For years, the Working Families Party has used the popular website to recruit canvassers to organize communities and engage in traditional grassroots lobbying -- often using hot button issues as a way to catch the eye of potential workers.

Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, tells Media Matters:

This is a standard job description for our entry level canvass job. We hire canvassers year round to knock on doors and discuss our agenda with voters, including job creation, public financing of elections, reigning in Wall Street greed, and a lot more. And any one of our canvassers can tell you that these issues -- the same issues the Occupy Wall Street activists are trumpeting -- are resonating with the people they talk to at the doors.

Since late September, the Working Families Party has been tapping into the mounting anger at Wall Street to recruit workers.

Harry Siegel at The Village Voice explains:

The latest twist came today as bloggers took note of what to the uneducated eye appears to be a run-of-the-mill Craig's List ad of the sort that left-leaning groups like the WFP and NYPIRG have run for years, under some topical banner, to find kids willing to take low-paying, rather lousy canvassing jobs. The ad, for $300-$650-a-week "immediate hires," ran under the banner "FIGHT TO HOLD WALLSTREET ACCOUNTABLE NOW! MAKE A DIFFERNENCE GET PAID!" [sics all around]. It reminded me of the Voice classified that resulted in a miserable summer at 17 begging door-to-door for the Sierra Club.

"Gateway Pundit" Jim Hoft and Hot Air's Ed Morrissey have tried to portray those ads as evidence that the Working Families Party was "paying Occupy Wall Street protesters."

Fox -- no friend to the Occupy Wall Street movement -- was quick to amplify that messaging:

astroturf

And on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh got in on the fun:

TJ Helmstetter, communications director at the Working Families Party, made clear that the claims are outright falsehoods, telling Media Matters:

We support the Occupy movement wholeheartedly, but we're not paying protesters to be in the park. That's a myth.

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