Even a rather non-observant person would have noticed by now that the Occupy Wall Street protest is being ignored by the mainstream media, or at least not taken seriously. Corporate-owned media knows its masters well.
Death and Taxes has been down to the Occupy Wall Street protest and assemblies a number of times since its inception on September 17th. In that time, most of the reporting has been done by independent media—they can be seen everywhere at the encampment. And when corporate media does decide to get involved, it conveniently reports around the time of an arrest.
Keith Olbermann, for his part, took the mainstream media to task last night on his show for their laughable coverage, calling it “media hypocrisy” and sending his own crew to cover the occupation. Michael Moore echoed his sentiments on Olbermann’s Countdown last night. Tim O’Reilly (founder of O’Reilly Media), a free and open source advocate, watched as a Fox News reporter baited protesters, then stepped in to state he owned a $100 million company and thought that Wall Street got away with a crime.
Is it not telling that Olbermann, pushed out of a job by a media corporation in MSNBC, is essentially the only one in the mainstream reporting on the occupation?
And, what is it about the occupation that isn’t garnering the attention of the mainstream media?
Well, it could be that it’s simply not sexy or crazy enough—it doesn’t have the violent stakes of a Libya or Egypt. Also, the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t have the crazy quotient of the Tea Party’s most extreme members, and neither does it have the humor, danger and theatricality of the ’60s protests led by the Diggers, the Yippies and the Weather Underground.
Could Occupy Wall Street use some of that theatricality and danger? Perhaps. However, having been down to the occupation and spoken with some of the participants, it’s very clear that they are attempting to build the movement through the general assembly and by getting their message out on the internet. And they are working hard for it to be taken seriously because they know that many millions of Americans are on their side. Except, they aren’t being taken seriously.
To an extent they’ve been successful, though: occupations have sprouted in San Francisco and now Cleveland, for example. But, this doesn’t garner enough internet traffic or television ratings for corporate media.
There are a number of articulate individuals at the occupation, and it’s rather obvious that the media could get a number of inspired interviews from the participants if they were inclined to do so.
Instead, we get continuing coverage on the field of brain dead Republican candidates and the smoke and mirrors game that is the government’s debt crisis debate. There’s very little discussion in the mainstream media about what can be done to fix a system that will continue inflating and popping bubbles by engaging in various forms of financial and political crookery.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters, on the other hand, have ideas and are intent on highlighting the mechanisms at work within the perpetual boom/bust cycle that is the American economy and democracy.
One of their main messages would appeal to many hundreds of million of viewers: That the wealthiest 1% of Americans own 40% of this country’s wealth and that the other 99% of fighting for the scraps.
We are the 99%, but good luck getting the mainstream media to emphasize that in their debt coverage or fixation on Republican candidates.