The cold weather may have really cut into the crowds "occupying" two public spaces in the nation's capital, but The Washington Post doesn't care about crowd size. It's still publicizing some sort of protest juggernaut, like a ski resort manufactures snow when none has fallen. The Post's Sunday front page was dominated by the headline "LOVE AMID THE TENTS." The biggest "news" of the day was casual sex, hippie-style.
Post reporter Annie Gowen proclaimed that "As the Occupy movement enters its fourth month locally, it has spawned two full-service camps, more than 100 arrests and an ongoing constitutional debate over the right to free speech on federal land. But a combustible combination of youthful energy, enthusiasm for shared ideals and tight living quarters has given rise to something else: Romance. Lots and lots of romance." The bolded part was italicized and sprawled above a four-column picture taken inside a tent looking out.
The Post also puts its photographers and videographers on this manufactured publicity line. We get captions like "Occupy D.C. protester Jacque, right, embraces his wife, Turtle, outside the Franklin School at 14th and K Streets NW."
A two-minute video apparently gets its news value from watching Occupiers play "Red Rover, Red Rover" in the park. Sam and Sara talk about how they don't go on dates, but are really fulfilled by organizing a "community G.A.," which no one explains.
Gowen's front-page somehow tries to find newsworthiness in a smattering of smooches among revolutionaries:
More than a dozen couples have emerged after three months of outdoor living, including one pair who got engaged over the holidays. As with Occupy encampments on Wall Street and across the country, there have been many more casual hook-ups, bruised hearts and unofficial entanglements.
Medics at both D.C. protests routinely hand out condoms. At McPherson Square, there are also pregnancy tests — at least one of which has come back positive. Indeed, Occupiers are beginning to joke that a string of Occubabies may appear come June...
Occupiers say that friendship forged during the movement can turn into something more in an instant, sparked by a lingering hug or a flirtatious glance. At McPherson, the exhausted and chilled protesters often fall asleep in group "cuddle puddles," which are supposed to be platonic. Until they’re not.