Wednesday, July 04, 2007

sadly, yes

If I thought it would help, I would take to the streets. But this commenter @ Greenwald's place explains the futility of it all:

In fall '02 to spring '03, I participated in two massive protests (DC and NYC), and several smaller ones. I even gave a speech at a well-attended rally on the overwhelming likelihood that there were no WMD in Iraq.

As a private citizen and organizer, I spoke to the local media and appeared on a newscast. I organized local efforts to peacefully hold vigils, marches, and rallies. I helped run bus trips to the bigger protests in DC and New York (I did not live in DC at the time). I engaged counter-protesters with reasoned debate, and in my daily life presented an intelligent and well-reasoned case against the war to advocates of the war. While participating in one vigil, I was assaulted by a drunk war supporter, who questioned my nationality and saw my peaceful opposition to a grossly over-marketed war of choice as an affront to America itself.

I remember being consistently crestfallen at the miserable coverage that even the massive rallies garnered. The media grossly under-reported the numbers, relegated the story of over 500,000 people protesting in the nation's capital to newspaper back pages and broadcast side notes. When they finally did cover a protest, they invariably fixated on "Dirty F-ing Hippies," socialist/communist groups, anarchists, giant puppets, and profane picket signs. Every time, my feelings of great purpose and significance - marching in a sea of thousands - succumbed to feelings of betrayal and unfairness by the only institutions that could take the protest messages and images to the broader public. Outside of the protest cities themselves, I was shocked at how few even realized there had been hundreds of thousands peacefully marching against the invasion of Iraq. Fewer still understood that the few altercations that erupted were caused almost wholly by overzealous policing, which I personally witnessed on more than one occasion.

The experience left me bitter, as I watched with increasing sadness and anger the government stomping toward war unimpeded, dragging manufactured public opinion behind them.

I learned a powerful lesson - that without healthy media institutions, a million protesters of all walks of life and political persuasions could not register their opinion in the national discussion. I realized that, in our new system of mass-market, unidirectional media communications, the tactics of yesteryear would not work. With the exception of a notable few national gadflies like Cindy Sheehan, grassroots protest is ineffective without sympathetic (or at least fair) media coverage.


If a tree falls in protest, and there are no TV cameras there to film it, it does not make a sound.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Maalox said...

Pantsing these media whores during a regularly scheduled broadcast isn't a good plan either.

Cut to stock footage and get security in here STAT!

Even still I think Karen Hanretty's attitude would be entirely different with her cooter on display to the beltway elites.

Naked news or Meet The Press?

5:54 AM  

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