Tuesday, October 18, 2011
#occupy the media
At this point I do not know what to expect from the #Occupy Wall Street movement, but I do admit to being greatly amused at the way tit is making the conventional media squirm, now that that group has decided to cover them at all. Part of the reason I haven't been writing as much lately is that other people have been doing a damn good job of saying something similar to what I want to express about all sorts of stuff. On this topic Matt Taibbi has two great posts that address media coverage of OWS.
Why Occupy Wall Street is Bigger than Left vs. Right
Why Rush Limbaugh is freaking out about Occupy Wall Street
Essentially Matt says the OWS message and sometimes their lack of message doesn't fit the conventional media formula. He's right and even before I read his take on the issue I was almost more interested in watching the media response than watching the protestors themselves.
Conventional Media in the US, and I'm including here Fox, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, etc., has done this country a great disservice by selling out or perhaps just capitulating to the idea that the way to frame a media story is to polarize it, to line up two and only two arguments on the so called left and the so called right (I love their "so called" short hand disclaimer that these terms aren't perpetuated by them but by others) and let two representatives of each end of the political spectrum go at it. Then at the end of story they offer up a sort of "You Decide!" question to the audience. It is as if some stories have no right or wrong answer- as if banks receiving 10 trillion dollars in taxpayers dollars should or perhaps should not be able to give more than a hundred billion dollars out in bonuses the following year. You decide!
Or perhaps some stories can't have more than two perspectives. I fault all the major media outlets for this but I come down hardest on NPR which pretends not to have biases while the growth mantra of economics is built into everything money story they cover. There are never any stories about economics that aren't based on the idea that not only is it grow or no-grow but that grow is the best case economic scenario. I'm not permoting any particaulr alternative here in this post, just pointing out that such a perspective would get no air time on theirs or any other conventional media program. Ask Diane Rehm about staedy state economics and she'd look at you like you'd just grown another head.
And that leads me to another way in which it is fun to watch the media fail to figure out what to do with OWS- the group has of yet no clear demands or agenda. It is as if the media is annoyed that OWS won't get on with it and publish a hard and fast set of wants and a list of leaders who will lobby for those wants. So that the media can give the right and the left a chance to fight about the OWS set of wants and demonize the OWS list of leaders (You decide!) and then move on to the next media story.
Like I said I don't know what if anything the OWS movement might accomplish. Personally I'm happy to let them do what they say they plan on doing for a while OCCUPY. It's interesting enough to watch the media squirm at this point. I'll leave you with a question though. What if a group of largely young, largely disaffect youth learn how to organize through consent and were ready to respond to the next big revelation of corporate and governmental corruption, mismanagement or out right theft? This is what has the 1% concerned.