Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
July 7, 2012
"The revolution will not be objectively reported." --Richie Alexandro, "Meet Me at Zuccotti"
During the July Fourth hoopla...
We learned Tom Cruise may be getting divorced.
They held another hot dog eating contest at Coney Island.
Hundreds of revolutionaries made the scene at the Occupy National Gathering from June 30 to July 4 in Philadelphia
Which of the above has garnered the least media coverage?
The American corporate media has utilized its entire arsenal in dealing with Occupy Wall Street (OWS). In roughly this order: It was ignored, treated as a curiosity, and then out came the big guns. Occupiers have been portrayed as slumming rich kids, drug addicts, rapists, selfish, lazy, unwashed, and inevitably: terrorists.
These days, the anti-OWS media tactic of choice is an implicit news blackout... with the occasional derisive obituary thrown in for good measure.
On the last day of the virtually ignored National Gathering, Julie Zauzmer wrote a brief, condescending piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Besides informing readers that Occupy was known for "its lack of a unifying demand or a recognized leader," Zauzmer focused on meetings that didn't start on time and on all the alleged dissent with the ranks of "roughly 200 protesters."
(Classic media ploy: underestimating crowd size. Those on the ground told me the Occupier count reached as high as 500-600.)
Mic Check: The pervasive and willful distribution of misinformation is typical of life within a society dominated by a corporate-run press.
“There is an odor to any Press Headquarters that is unmistakable: the unavoidable smell of flesh burning quietly and slowly in the service of a machine.” --Norman Mailer
Whether you label them liberal or conservative, most major media outlets are large corporations owned by or aligned with even larger corporations, and they share a common strategy: selling a product (an affluent audience) to a given market (advertisers).
Therefore, we shouldn’t find it too shocking that the image of the world being presented by a corporate-owned press very much reflects the biased interests of the elite players involved in this sordid little love triangle.
That’s why every major daily newspaper has a business section, but not a labor section. Why at least once a week, those same newspapers run an automobile section, but no bicycle section.
This is why when the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops, it makes headlines. But if the global extinction rate rises, it’s questionable if it'll even make the papers (and if it does, it’ll be buried in a small item on page 23).
If you created a blueprint for an apparatus that utterly erased critical thought, you could make none more efficient than the American corporate media -- and please don't fall into the trap of only demonizing Fox News.
A major component of the free press illusion is the notion that some media outlets are more liberal while others are more right wing -- belief in this myth further limits the already limited parameters of accepted debate.
Mic Check: The media is as liberal or conservative as the corporations that own it.
"History is not happenstance; it is conspiratorial, carefully planned, and executed by people in power." --George Carlin
The article I cited at the top is merely the latest example from a long history of downplayed dissent. Coverage of protests and demonstrations is usually a tepid combination of low crowd estimates and footage of police arresting “violent” protestors. This combination -- corporate propaganda and State repression -- is a time worn tradition.
For instance, widespread protests in the 1960s led President Lyndon Johnson to conclude, “The weakest link in our armor is American public opinion. Our people won’t stand firm in the face of heavy losses, and they can bring down the government.”
Clearly, our perception of that era had to be purified.
“The antiwar movement has been so thoroughly discredited,” says H. Bruce Franklin in Vietnam and Other American Fantasies. “One would never be able to guess from public discourse that for every American veteran of combat in Vietnam, there must be twenty veterans of the antiwar movement.”
One reason for this is, again, media misrepresentation. Protest is often depicted as a hobby for affluent white college students -- a minor detour on their road to Yuppiedom.
Not true, says Franklin: “A Gallup poll in January 1971 showed that 60 percent of those with a college education favored withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, 75 percent of those with a high school education favored withdrawal, and 80 percent of those with only a grade school education favored withdrawal.”
"Don't ya know, we're talkin' about a revolution. It sounds like a whisper." --Tracy Chapman
Of course the mainstream media distorts and/or ignores OWS. That's their job and it's a waste of time and energy for us to expect otherwise. They've been given the keys to the public (sic) airwaves and we don't yet have the means to change that. We do, however, have the means to circumvent this model.
Mic Check: We can't yell louder than the professional propagandists of the corporate media but we damn sure can whisper more effectively.
The media can't be "fixed" any more than all the other dying institutions (banking, health care, education, etc.) can be. So, I say: Let the corporate press rot while we utilize our resources to create an entirely new model.
To help make this happen, we need more of the 99% to join us and thus, must reach out far and wide, keep whispering the truth, and continue working to model new alternatives.
If we build it, they will Occupy...
It will require both outrage and outreach for us to outlive the corporate pirates (and the politicians they fund) who have hijacked our future. Keep yourself informed and inspired, but most importantly, to counter media misinformation: #OccupyOutreach24/7.
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