Category Archives: Politics
To say that mainstream media has been perplexed by how to report on the Occupy Wall Street Movement methods is an understatement, especially if you haven’t seen it in person. The AlterNet article from Sarah Seltzer, “Blatantly Biased Tabloids and Clueless Mainstream Media Keep Missing the Obvious Big Story at OWS”, is a telling chronicle of the divergence of participating in media and reporting it.
This excerpt is revealing “how quickly the Internet has allowed the horizontal, leaderless, goal-less ethos of the movement to catch on, so that first-timers marching to Times Square or Foley Square were already using the human mic (they’d seen it on YouTube) and carrying signs that said “The Movement is the Message.” Newcomers at GAs are embracing hand-signals. If all these people can understand and accept the direct democratic ideals of the movement, surely the media can.
The parallel to Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” is striking. What also is striking is that this model has worked to energize a movement in ways that vertical reporting and information dissemination has long yielded diminished activist mobilization. This is a worthwhile look: www.alternet.org/story/153001/blatantly_biased_tabloids_and_clueless_mainstream_media_keep_missing_the_obvious_big_story_at_ows/?page=3
Many tried and true media operatives were amazed, in 2008, at the speed and breadth of how the Obama campaign energized its base thru non-traditional media channels. While it was thought that the issues themselves would be enough to motivate a movement, the Obama campaign gave significant credence to the Marshall McLuhan phrase, “the medium is the message”. McLuhan’s 1964 book, “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man”, suggests that the medium affects society, not simply because of the nature of content, but also because of the framework of the medium itself.
In the midst of the worldwide financial distress directed at the feet of lower and middle class people, many traditional media types, organizations and activists have been amazed at the energy and effectiveness of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. While the narrative content of Occupy Wall Street has not been materially different from information offered from traditional activists, unions, or even progressive tv or radio talk shows, the medium has been radically different. Utilizing social media via mobile communication has created an energized, horizontal participatory model activism that has eluded the traditional organizations.
Clearly the talking head, top down approach to communication and message creation has its place. However in today’s environment, multiple hands-on mediums serve as an obstacle and filter for old style forms of communication and activism. Facebook, Twiiter, Tumblr and other social media are the order of the day for those who want to create a movement of change.
As such, many media activists, and unions in particular, have been quick to emulate the use of new age tactics to re-energize their base and invigorate their messages. Not only do they recognize the wisdom of having a new, younger level of participation, but they also see the threat of becoming irrelevant if they don’t adapt. This article from the NY Times speaks to some of these issues, and is a worthwhile look: www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/business/occupy-movement-inspires-unions-to-embrace-bold-tactics.html?pagewanted=all
An excerpt from The Nation, “This has been a year of agitation, from Wisconsin to Ohio to Washington. It has seen some of the largest demonstrations in recent American history in defense of labor rights, public education, public services. But all those uprisings attacked symptoms of the disease. Occupy Wall Street named it. By aiming activism not at the government but at the warren of bankers, CEOs and hedge-fund managers to whom the government is beholden, Occupy Wall Street went to the heart of the matter.”
A worthwhile look. www.thenation.com/article/163942/99-percent-rise
I’m not going to get knee deep in the slime of Anthony Weiner. Beyond the obvious deception to his wife and constituency, the loss of Weiner’s rabid voice on behalf of progressive issues will be incalculable. With enemies like this, the right-wing doesn’t need friends….
Per Alternet’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, “Weiner has been an ally, open and progressive on issues such as abortion, taxes and foreign policy. Most importantly, he’s been an important advocate of Medicare, of health-care reform, of the single-payer option when it was still afloat.”
Read the entire article here: www.alternet.org/news/151221/why_progressives_should_be_mad_at_anthony_weiner?page=2
Its not often that real mainstream sentiment is reported these days. However, the attacks on unions, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid have begun to take toll on what the media can effectively muzzle. Apparently, the GOP media machine has not been able to contain the backlash to the Proposed Republican budget.
Take a look at an article from The Huffington Post