This past Saturday, anywhere between a few hundreds to as many as 5,000 protesters (depending on the source) flooded into Manhattan for Occupation Wall Street, a multi-day rally, which seeks to peacefully “occupy Wall Street” and expose the disloyal, incompetent, and corrupt special interests, which have permeated our economy and government.
Inspired by the massive public protests in Cairo and in Madrid, these protestors organized online, mostly through social networking sites, with a little help from the activist hacker group Anonymous. For the past three days, the protestors slept in sleeping bags in a park near Wall Street at night and held demonstrations in the morning. Today will mark the fourth day of the “occupation” where hundreds still remain beating drums, waving signs and chanting slogans such as “Wall Street is our Street.” Yet the three major cable news networks have devoted little to no airtime on this developing story.
Of course, you can watch the protest live online or you can read all about the details in alternative newspapers and online news sites. However, the mainstream media, which reports daily on the happenings inside of Wall Street have seemed to bypass all the action happening outside on the streets of the financial district. I mean when the youth in Eygpt and Tunisia decided to stand up and say they had enough, our media was there with round the clock coverage. So what’s up with that?
Perhaps there is a logical explanation on why the mainstream press, particularly the 24 hour news stations have chosen to ignore the protest – especially at a time when animosity for the Wall Street has reached fever pitch. Maybe the numbers weren’t big enough to warrant coverage? However, similar and yet sparsely attended Tea Party rallies in Washington, D.C, which were held in support of federal spending cuts, were rewarded with generous media attention. Yet in the past few months dozens of protests against the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, killer drones, no-cuts to government spending, police brutality and other progressive causes have been carried out and I didn’t see any of those rallies getting coverage.
It’s hard to imagine that the mainstream media has been intentionally ignoring progressive causes while giving attention to the rallies of the extreme right. But consider that when a broad coalition of black activist groups, which had been spearheaded by the Nation of Islam, took to the streets to protest the bombing of Libya and raise awareness of social ills domestically for the Millions in Harlem March in New York City, there was no media attention.
The same could be said for the Israeli Tent City protest, which has been happening since early August. Tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the streets in Jerusalem, Haifa and a dozen other Israeli cities in what they are calling a Million Man March to protest that country’s rising cost of living. And yet as bombings by Hamas makes news day in and day out in western media outlets, what is pegged as the largest demonstration in Israeli history since the Lebanon protest can’t get any place on the TV screen here stateside.
Any suppression of news is considered censorship and by ignoring antiwar and other far-left protests, not only is the mainstream media missing important stories and failing to act as the watchdog for the 1st through 3rd Estates, it is also propagating agendas, particularly corporate, right and centrist political agendas, which seeks to suggest that there is no visible opposition to the U.S. wars and other international and domestic policy issues. This is why it is so frustrating for those in the far left, progressive and even the black nationalist communities, who have to sit and listen as pundits and commentators spout off about the lack of appeal for their causes within the general public when the unpublicized and unreported reality suggest something totally different.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.