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The ‘Media Circus’ of Occupy Wall Street Coverage

The ‘Media Circus’ of Occupy Wall Street Coverage
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NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Megan Tady. Megan is a writer for Free Press. Prior to working with Free Press, Megan was a national political reporter for In These Times magazine, a staff reporter and editor for The New Standard, and worked extensively as a freelance journalist.

Big news: The establishment media are finally picking up on the Occupy Wall Street story. In fact, Occupy Wall Street coverage increased to nine percent of the overall news hole from Oct. 10-16 — up from two percent two weeks prior. As Jon Stewart of the Daily Show said, the media dial has gone from “media blackout” to “media circus.”

Increased airtime and column inches, however, don’t necessarily equal quality reporting. Protest coverage has consisted mostly of reporters and news anchors making sweeping generalizations about a “hippie movement.” Media watchdog groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting say stories have been short on actual facts and long on criticism of the protests. From interviewing scholars and “experts” to speak for the protesters instead of talking with the legions of folks at the encampments themselves, to pinning the movement on a few scantily clad youngsters, the media are fumbling to tell this story in a quick, seamless sound bite.

But why are the mainstream media botching this? And if the mainstream media aren’t telling the full story, who is?

The Botch Job

To be fair, some mainstream reporters and commentators have produced lucid, elegant and instructive coverage. But for the most part, the media appear confused, dismissive, and patronizing of a movement that is sparking action across the nation.

The reporting we see is a result of larger problems. Mainstream media, owned by only a handful of corporations, has evolved to defend, rather than report on, the companies that fund and own it. A movement that is indicting major corporations for corruption, greed and scandal is therefore attacking mainstream media outlets. We’re asking reporters to bite the hand that feeds them, and most are willing to risk only a nibble, if that.

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26 comments

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9:17PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Mainstream media is the circus.

8:44PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

We need more of us CARE2 people e-mailing their friends about OWS. I take it most of us are more or less moderate/liberal and have a wide range of like minded friends. They know us, if we speak our truth to them about OWS in our hometowns, etc it will have a ripple effect. Just today, I got an e-mail from a friend who didn't know OWS was about. Good opportunity to send her some links about it. We can set an example.

7:55PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

@ Mike C “ You are protesting the wrong place:” No, it is the right place whether or not corporate suckholes like yourself are happy about it.

7:54PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

For Independent unbiased coverage Watch LinkTV on Dish Newtork (Ch 9410) or Direct TV satellite. Also internet web site DirectTV.org check out Amy Goodman Democracy Now "The war and peace report"

6:40PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

I applaud these people. Already, without leaders, platforms, etc. they have forced the media and politicians to at least pretend they care about people, fairness, and jobs. I hope they can sustain themselves through the 2012 election. They are providing some small barrier against the tsunami of untraceable money.

4:55PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

OWS has not been co-opted by Obama (though he's trying), nor the Dimocrats (though they are trying). There is just as much criticism of Obama at OWS as of the Repiglicans. This is a truly independent, truly democratic movement.

I'm not at all surprised that mainstream media hasn't a clue. Mainstream media has been clueless for years; all they ever do is read the handouts given them by corporations and their corporate spinmasters. All you have to do is look at the way they handled the BP/Halliburton oil blowout in the Gulf to see that in action.

2:22PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Thank you for the information

12:35PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

This is a true grass roots protest that cuts accross all ages, sexes, races, and religions. It will grow.

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should fall on their swords. It is the underlying cause of the financial collapse and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. Yet, this nation does nothing, not even demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the UN-AMERICAN activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire in the U.S., and as an end result, destroying the U.S. marketplace while still demanding BUSINESS ENTITLEMENTS and protections for themselves.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not replace enough jobs to keep up with the hemorrhaging loss of U.S. jobs from out-sourcing over seas. Neither party will do anything about it unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs. If nothing is done we will deserve what we get and it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

12:21PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

It's the same here in the UK. The media are very patronising of the protesters and focusing on anything that diminishes the actual message. For instance their latest move is to go on about how these 'horrid protesters have even caused a cathedral to close its doors for the first time since WW2 meaning that the church is losing £22,000 a day.' If only they would focus on the real issue and listen to the protesters instead of whining about the church losing money (one of the biggest and most corrupt corporations in the world!!).

12:11PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

If you want a better World you have to work for it. The last mid terms is what happens when you stay home. This is really a center Left Country the Left is starting to wake up.

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