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Inside the Beltway

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PARSING THE OCCUPATION

The inner workings of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement are emerging: Is it a spontaneous grass-roots group aglow with 1960s-style righteousness or a well-organized machine with much infrastructure? Occupy Wall Street grew out of an initial summertime effort by Canadian-based Adbusters, an anti-consumerism activist group of "culture jammers" who deny persistent, rumored links to George Soros. Now, on their official one-month anniversary, the Wall Streeters claim responsibility for 1,500 protests in 82 countries and are actively seeking online donations.

But wait. Media provocateur and investigator Andrew Breitbart reveals that high-profile journalists such as MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan and Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi are helping the organization craft its public image. Mr. Breitbart has published a confidential email list of these generous journalists at BigJournalism.com; the list itself was provided by a private researcher. In a rebuttal, the aforementioned Mr. Taibbi called Mr. Breitbart a "notorious right wing cybergoon" but dismissed the relevance or importance of the leaked material.

"How long are we going to pretend that this is a 'grassroots' uprising?" counters Dana Loesch, editor of the BigJournalism site.

The answer? For a while. "An important part of what sets the Occupy Wall Street movement apart is its leaderless organizing and organic growth. No one person or organization leads it. That's also why no one person or organization can stop it. No one person owns it. We all own it," says Gregg Ross, political campaign manager for the 1 million-member Democracy for America, which has just launched an online "Occupiers Journal" for members "in the middle of all the action."

MONUMENTAL VEGAS

Quick. Cue the glitz, glamour and sound bites. It's time for Republicans to get in touch with their inner Elvis at the CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference presidential debate Tuesday, staged at the va-va-voom Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. We're talking a 45,000-square-foot set, complete with a "chandelier of stars," an audience of 1,500 rabid political junkies and CNN news host Anderson Cooper as moderator.

"Look for a dramatic, open setting" says a source. "Look for issues that are important to the nation but of particular interest to Western voters. Wayne Newton will be a guest of CNN for the debate, and Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello, currently starring as 'The Phantom' spectacular here, will sing the national anthem."

Mssrs. Cooper, Newton and Crivello have much company. Anchors Wolf Blitzer and John King are among the dozen CNN correspondents sent to wrangle the event, which begins at 8 p.m. EDT. A four-day Republican conference follows, featuring all the candidates and a proverbial cast of thousands - and yes, Occupy Las Vegas, the Silver State wing of the aforementioned protest group. They will rally against the debate on Tuesday, "march the Vegas Strip" and set up their "occupation" by Friday.

THE MEDIA PRIMARY

The amount of information is mind-boggling. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press prevailed upon a Harvard University-developed computer program to analyze the tone and content of 23 weeks of presidential election coverage from "more than 11,500 news media outlets." Republican hopefuls were rated according to their ratio of positive and negative press, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared the big winner. His coverage was 32 percent positive, 20 percent negative and the rest neutral.

"While Barack Obama may not have been formally campaigning for re-election, he was by far the leading newsmaker in the past five months," the study says, noting that the president racked up six times as much attention as his GOP rivals, but the stories were "unrelentingly negative" in nature.

"Using the computer-assisted analysis, only 9 percent of the coverage about Obama was positive while 34 percent was negative. The majority of the coverage (57 percent) was neutral or primarily factual in nature. Even the two Republican candidates with the most unflattering narrative - Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich - had more positive treatment at 12 percent and 15 percent positive respectively."

See this monster "Media Primary" study here: http://www.journalism.org/.

RE: THE 38th PARALLEL

A U.S. delegation journeys to Bangkok on Tuesday to begin negotiations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to resume recovery of the remains of American servicemen missing in action from the Korean War. More than 7,900 people remain unaccounted for.

Robert J. Newberry, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/missing personnel affairs, leads the team, which includes representatives from the State Department, the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the U.S. Pacific Command and the United Nations Command-Korea.

"Accounting for Americans missing in action is a stand-alone humanitarian matter, not tied to any other issue between the two countries," a statement says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 26 percent of Americans say they are "extremely enthusiastic" about the 2012 presidential election.

• 35 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of conservatives, 26 percent of Democrats, 24 percent of liberals and 46 percent of tea partyers agree.

• 67 percent of Republicans say they could "change their mind" about their preferred candidate.

• 33 percent say they will "definitely support" that candidate.

• 66 percent are "satisfied" with the Republican field for 2012.

• 26 percent of Republicans say they're most likely to support Mitt Romney, 25 percent support Herman Cain, 13 percent support Rick Perry.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,007 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 14-16; the sample included 416 Republicans.

Leaks, creaks, squeaks to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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