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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

12:09PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

“If Occupy Wall Street has done nothing else, it’s allowed us to see how lazy and inept our media is", Kilkenny said.

Amen! If people want to know what's going on in this movement they have few choices, but one is Keith Olbermann on Current TV. He has kept up with what is going on and has interviewed a number of participants. Check it out if you can.

12:04PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

NOTICE: A GENERAL STRIKE HAS BEEN CALLED FOR FOR THIS FRI., the 28TH!!!!! Now its time to ratchet things up! Don't go to work, unplug everything, spend time with yourself and your family (including the furry ones), love, meditate, laugh, sing, dance, dream, be and WITHDRAW YOUR participation in a system that is unfixable.

http://youtu.be/xV79ObObSh0

11:00AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

It's obvious,Mike C.,that the media coverage has you concerned about what Occupy is and what it isn't. It ISN'T part of or run by the Obama campaign.Nor is it run by the Democratic Party.One of the things many of us with Occupy are upset about is all the corporate campaign money infecting our politics across the board,and we're especially steamed about how the US Supreme Court worsened that with it's Citizens United ruling.One thing I'd like to see come out of this,looking to 2014-'16,is a completely new political alignment that relies on these people to people efforts as the only way around all that money. In the mean time I sure don't see the Republicans as a suitable choice for '12 .

And you ,Robin B.,are like the Sgt. Schultz character from the old "Hogan's Heroes" show when it comes to the Occupy protests: you KNOW NOTHING! The ones I've been to have not in any manner been drug or alcohol parties.If you've got a brain and choose to use it,it would be obvious that that's the last thing that's going to happen with all the cops present.And if what we're doing is allowing some homeless people a little extra food,GOOD! I'm glad SOMEONE is on their side! On the other hand,Robin B.,the first place for someone to get harrassed for trying to sleep-especially at night-is at a Occupy protest.

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