Jesse LaGreca: The Smartest Man on Wall Street?

occupy Jesse LaGreca: The Smartest Man on Wall Street?

Jesse LaGreca (Photo via the Daily Kos)

When Fox News turned their cameras on the 31-year-old Daily Kos writer Jesse LaGreca last Wednesday, they didn’t know what they were in for. Not only did Fox producer Griff Jenkins get schooled all over the Internet —  forcing Greta Van Susteren to respond on why they didn’t air the footage of Mr. LaGreca’s statements  — but suddenly the somewhat haphazard movement was given a clear and distinct voice.

“Fox News wants to laugh at us,” Mr. LaGreca told us in a phone interview Tuesday evening. “To say that we’re unruly, that we’re to be laughed at….because that fits into their narrative, which is that only free markets can save us. Only unregulated capitalism can save us. And anyone in opposition to that needs to be attacked and marginalized.'”

Mr. LaGreca certainly does not fit into the media’s stereotype of the obtusely disenfranchised ne0-hippies that have been camping out at Zuccotti Park. He’s been a freelance writer for the Daily Kos under the name MinistryOfTruth for the last three years and is one of their most frequent writers and commenters. He’s a member of various subgroups on the site, including their Anonymous forum, Environmental Foodies, and the Progressive Policy Zone. Mr. LaGreca is no East Coast liberal either: though he currently resides in New York, it’s only been for a month. His previous homes were in Colorado and Illinois. He does not (as far as we know) have health insurance. He is subsidized for his writing mostly by a Paypal link he set up on his articles. He is articulate, with framed arguments that have obviously been rehearsed in advanced. Not only is he the face of “The Budding Stars of Occupy Wall Street,” according to the Atlantic Wire, but his presence is large enough to inspire its own legion of fans. (We noticed that he had a larger Twitter following than our personal account.) Basically: Mr. LaGreca is Fox News’ worst nightmare.

“Their first question was whether we were inspired by Greece,” said Mr. LaGreca, referencing the the way the network would lead protesters to inflammatory answers, “Which had a couple of incidents of student violence…It’s a running meme in the right wing media: that if we don’t do something about our economy we’re going to end up like Greece. But the only thing we can do is what Fox News has been showing us since the day Obama was inaugurated.”

Mr. LaGreca is not, like the media has portrayed some of the protesters, a brainwashed Obama-ite. His Daily Kos article from August is a scathing critique of Obama’s nomination of Sen. Mike Lee’s general counsel for U.S. Attorney of Utah.

When asked if he would be willing to go on Fox News and finally get to tell his side of the story, Mr. LaGreca surprisingly demurred. “I don’t want to go on with anyone who has a history of misconstruing people’s statements. There’s certain networks that I have an obvious bias against. But there are people like Keith Olbermann, Dylan RatiganJim Axelrod, who was a total gentleman. I’m willing to give anyone a fair shake. I’m willing to talk.”

Despite being a very vocal member down at Zuccotti Park, Mr. LaGreca denies speaking for the Occupy Wall Street movement. “I’m not a spokesperson for anyone but myself,” he tells us.

Okay, but does he have any advice for those watching the watchmen; i.e. protesters on the lookout for cherry-picking media reporters?

“One: be camera ready. Have your camera on you so if there is a media slant, you can capture it. Two: have a coherent message. Tell people exactly why you are here…not what other people are doing. The overarching theme here is that people are being screwed, but that can’t be summed up in a soundbite-ready statement. However if you tell the media your personal story, it’s the most touching, the most effective way to communicating to people why they should be here as well.”


  1. dgbee says:

    I guess I just don’t get the ‘nightmare’ aspect of his comments. He’s no Obama-ite because he opposed a nomination to an ineffective justice dept? Huh? Say again? Well, little did we know that if we draw a circle around this guy we’d find the politcal center!

  2. Beautiful…just beautiful.

  3. Igglesbee says:

    I know Jesse personally, and he definitely doesn’t have health insurance. Perhaps the NY Observer could offer him a job with benefits? 

  4. That dude is awesome. The Faux News lacky didn’t know what hit him. lol

    POLL: Did Fox News just get owned by Jessee LaGreca?

  5. Themomcat says:

    Jesse as no health insurance and could use a steady job with benefits. He’s talented, intelligent and certainly articulate, give this man a job

  6. Neroett says:

    I’d be skeptical of anything I’d see on cable about the protests at this point. Occupywallstreet has been going on since September 17 and I recall learning about it a few days prior to that. I’m a nursing student in San Antonio with very little free time, mind you. The point is, the media could have been there from day 1. Now they’re reporting, in print, garbage that makes the protest seem unorganized and lacking of direction. I wish I could stand with you guys; thank you to the NY Observer for being one of the few sources of good information on this.

    Please remember to support Net Neutrality as well. :)

    1. Anonymous says:

      Of course, also be wary of any group, union, legislature, politician, celebrity, etc… who may try to co-opt.  Not this time.

      1. suzannnicole says:

        cough cough Ron Paul cough

    2. Anonymous says:

      I would be a little more than skeptical. I would flat out not believe anything I see on the Big Media outlets. They are corporate owned and their interests run counter to those of Occupy Wall Street. Consider, for example, NBC and its affiliates are owned by General Electric which received a Wall Street bail0ut. Also, consider that Jeffrey Immelt is the CEO of GE and sits on the board of directors for the New York Federal Reserve bank; the very bank that handled the bailout of General Electric. The game is rigged!

  7. Anonymous says:

    aaarggghhhh….it is not “THE Daily Kos.”  It’s just “Daily Kos.” 

    great article, though.  go jesse!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jesse…you deserve a medal for your takedown of Fox News.

  9. Derfalcon says:

    Please take a moment to correct the spelling and grammar in this piece and provide us with Mssr. LaGreca’s twitter handle via link rather than simply referencing that it is more popular than your own (which is also not linked).

    Thank you.

    1. Jenny Jinx says:

      You can find him @JesseLaGreca 

  10. Ragenx says:

    Yes He Is.

  11. MsC says:

    I saw that interview and i think i love Jesse where do we find more Jesse?

  12. MsC says:

    I agree Neroett, not only FOX but most main stream media pick up and run with the “dirty hippy” photos and try to perpetuate this unorganized, uneducated, and lazy stereotype of #occupywallstreet. I would be standing with you all as well if I didnt have to work full time to not be able to afford health insurance and live paycheck to paycheck trying to keep my family fed and the lights on. I wish I could be there, I dare them the give me a mic.

    1. EnoughIsEnough says:

      Nothing personal to you, you are the American norm; but if folks like yourself who can’t afford to take the time to do it at risk of losing everything that’s left, you won’t have much of a job or insurance to worry about anyway. The time for action for all of us is not after our rights are removed. It’s when they’re in danger but are still salvageable.

  13. EnoughIsEnough says:

    Thank goodness the “cutting room floor” is also known as “the Internet”. You can’t believe everything you read online, but you can’t believe anything you see on the ‘news’.

  14. Angelo R. Mozilo says:

    Wow, he criticized a U.S. attorney nominee? Now that’s totally unorthodox. Josh Marshall, call your agent. And too courageous to go back on Fox–speakin’ power to truth all over the place

  15. Angelo R. Mozilo says:

    Wow, he criticized a U.S. attorney nominee? Now that’s totally unorthodox. Josh Marshall, call your agent. And too courageous to go back on Fox–speakin’ power to truth all over the place

  16. Nadeem Ahmed says:

    People are mad because under Bush and TARP we socialized bank losses (i.e Tax Payers payed) and the profits were Capitalism (the bankers kept them) and then under President Obama when he tries to help the middles class FOX news screams socialism!   The Tea Party freaks out and the GOP congress puts a hold on anything that will help the American people.  The hypocrites in the GOP need to go, and the  Dems need to get rid of those in their party who side with the GOP on every turn.

  17. Anonymous says:

    DailyKos is just one of Many groups supported by Billionaire george soros, who is on video stating that he is ‘god’, and Wants to Destroy the USA in order to have One World Government. 

  18. Sharon White says:

    Most if not all of those so called “Touching stories” are made up by rich kids who have never had to do a day’s work in their live.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Bullshit. I’ve talked to easily a dozen people in the last 48 hours who’ve worked for a living all their lives and are screwed now or are in fear that the job they are now working may vanish with no replacement. I’m including three police officers in that number, a mason, a janitor, teachers, nurses, retail businesspersons, bakers, cafe owners. This is at my local occupation. 

      I talked to a recent college graduate who was going to purchase a backpack because he was going to be homeless in a few days. A young, well dressed, well spoken man who can’t find ANY work. Everyone is having to work harder to get less in the way of food, housing, medical care and job security. Except large corporate CEOs; they fail and get multi-million dollar golden parachutes paid for by the U.S. government bail-out money. Oh, and their most pampered lackeys of course. 

  19. Sharon White says:

    Giving more of your money or the super rich money to the government is not going to help…the government gives your money away to companies that are going bankrupt ….Obama is wasting our money and flushing it down the toilet.
     The Republicans have a plan to help small business get back to doing what they do best….Small businesses create JOBS.

  20. Catmama44 says:

    He sounds extremely uninformed of the facts.  Another soundbiter!   The reason more people gave coverage to the Tea Party is because they had a simple cause that people understood and related to.  Lower taxes, less government.  This cause has no clearly defined goal.    

    1. Zach says:

      Memory’s short. When the Tea Party formed it was just as much a blob as OWS. Except OWS didn’t go global and include even more people.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if he’s the smartest, but he’s quick on a Fox Smackdown.

  22. Tess Elliott says:

    Been reading this man’s work for a the last year and am glad to know his voice is downtown. It is so obvious that the forces of those who want to shut it down are gathering, witness the horses in Times Square ramming people, and the really nasty herding of humans with nets on the Brooklyn Bridge. Mr. LaGreca is the intelligent, sane, done-his-homework witness that the whole country needs to dispel how the media is treating this, or refusing to treat it. Am still waiting for Obama to stop all this compromising and remember what he told the people who worked very hard to elect him. Instead, we have Feds raiding Amish raw milk producers at gunpoint, and wars we can’t afford. How much crazier does it have to get?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Give that man a job and health insurance, then give him a frigging medal for integrity. America’s fanatically conservative element hates intelligent people who express opposing viewpoints. Fox will never air the interview because they simply don’t have the stones to admit the truth. We are the 99%.

  24. Joe BlackMan says:

    Well all I know is that I hope they’re not setting Jessie Lagreca up to be some kind of leader of the occupy movement, I won’t be supporting any so called transformative moverment that simply replicates the current hierarchical order and has a predomoninantly “articulate” white middle class leadership.

    F that.

    I want all inclusive  representation,  horizontal decison making  rather than top down,  and for all the movements activites and actions to be conducted openly.

    If not this movement is just another bust. 

  25. K says:

    From reading the transcript of the little interview between Mr. LaGreca and Fox News, it is very easy to shred what Mr. LaGreca had to say.  He is not the smartest man on Wall Street that is for sure.  

  26. Msmarshas says:

    Great telling of a very good story

  27. Thomas Paine says:

    That man is awesome.  He speaks the message so well.  We all need him so much.  Keep being a leader Jesse!

  28. Judi Hewett says:

    I’ve been intriqued with OWS from the beginning. I keep thinking this might be something really big and then I saw an interview with this guy,
    Jesse LaGreca on Ed Schultz. He’s good. The movement is starting to focus.
    Our elected officials better listen up. These folks may not have the bucks, but they have the numbers.
    I feel a wave.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Give Jesse a job?  He already has one.  He has my permission to represent us, the 99%.  We simply couldn’t find a better spokesman.  He’s faster than the speed of light, and his answers are like reading a 10 page explanation about whatever the question is, but he puts it in simple language for anyone to understand, in 2 or 3 sentences.  He is a dream come true.  One thing though, I hope that he takes the cap off.  It’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s a distraction.  We need to concentrate on Jesse and what he’s saying.  Please don’t worry about Jesse’s finding a job.  I was once a casting director… he’ll have all kinds of agents begging to represent him for 10%, but please Jesse,  stick with us for a while.  We need you. 

  30. I love the Civil War Union cap. He is sending a message to the Tea Party/Republicans from Dixie trying to tear this country down. Way to go Jesse!!  Now that’s psychology on these people.   

  31. Are you Kidding me? says:

    I can’t reply to just one person on this because so many of the people who have responded agree with one another. Jesse is a shitless layabout that dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and didn’t have the maturity to get his life together when he was young and now blames corporate America for his inability to prosper. High School is not difficult at all… And if he is so brilliant as all of these people have responded then why has he not made his fortune in the world yet? I find his attempt to get a job now as the Robin Hood of high school drop outs appalling. These protestors are a joke, people who feel entitled to something when nothing in this world comes free and attack those that have outworked them their entire lives. The title of this article is absurd and almost laughable. I have a classmate from highschool that was in the learning support program and is “slow” because of his low IQ  but because of his strong work ethic he has a decent job with health insurance. He’ll never be rich but he has done the best with what God gave him. This guy is a joke to be considered “intelligent” and he should get a job with a News Company when he, like almost all good journalists, goes to college.

  32. Mabra0900 says:

    Run Jesse Run!!! Finally an articulate observer of Occupy and a voice that could challenge the blowhards on Fox. RUN JESSE RUN!

  33. denmiester says:

    The common american, such as Jesse, should run for President and change our system from within….