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Mainstream media vs. Occupy Wall Street – the battle

Published time: October 12, 2011 20:40
Edited time: October 13, 2011 00:40

Wall Street protester holds up a sign at Zuccotti Park where hundreds of other activists are living on October 11, 2011 in New York City (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

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While the mainstream media criticizes the demonstrators for being anarchist hippies, corporate media outlets don’t actually go into the crowd that much to listen to what the frustrated people have to say.

­Reporters go live from across the street. TV satellite trucks are on stand-by for violence and arrests. The independent and foreign channels are the ones covering the important issues from within the action. RT’s Anastasia Churkina takes a look at media coverage of Occupy Wall Street.

Step 1 – Ignore. Step 2 – Ridicule. Step 3 – Undermine. That’s the approach some media outlets seem to have been taking when it comes to Occupy Wall Street.

“The real big thing that this movement needs to do is to appeal directly to the millions of people who are direct victims of what has happened since 2008,” said editorial columnist and author Ted Rall.

This has been tough to do through mainstream media outlets.

“America is all about having your voice heard. No matter how stupid that voice may be.”

“It’s a joke. They just want to have a party. It’s their lame excuse to have burning man, right? It’s a joke."

These are some of the many criticisms from corporate news channels while covering the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“The media in America, it’s a joke,” counter argued comedian Travis Pinon.

“We’re not hippies, we are not trying to have an excuse to party around. These are working people. People actually come from work, come here, and volunteer their time,” explained one of the protesters, Rafael Moreno.

Showing up at the protest without the network’s logo, FOX News Channel has spear headed operation Undermine Occupy Wall Street.

“All they have to do is take a shower and then get a job, if they went to college,” said host Bill O’Reilly in his show.

FOX’s coverage has seen a hit below-the-belt approach prevail.

“They are going to chop up whatever you say, and they are going to leave the truth on the cutting floor, and they’re going to run with whatever pushes their narrative,” said protester Jesse LaGreca.

It’s no secret that it’s the corporations, protested against at the encampment, that own the big TV networks in the US.

“People are standing up against corporations that actually run the media. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as a collaboration of corporation and government. Welcome to America, guys! That’s what it is. This is fascism at its finest,” said comedian and protester Travis Pinon.

Little interest in substance or analysis has been shown, like exploring why Americans have been driven out onto the street.

“When they’re like, 'Why are you down here?' And I say, well, the name of the protest is Occupy Wall Street. I think Wall Street has something to do with it,” said Jesse LaGreca.

Media coverage peaked when arrests started taking place.

“After there are clashes, then there is media interest, and that’s when all the major networks seem to get kicked in,” said camp volunteer Aaron Wynhausen.

“They openly mocked protesters here as dirty hippies, uneducated fools and drug addicts and potential criminals – and they don’t know what they’re talking about, frankly,” said protester Chris Cobb.

Some of the bigger networks prefer to keep their distance from the demonstrators. It’s mostly the independent and foreign media who are deep in the action.

“It’s really funny. Every day at around 4.30 in the afternoon, TV trucks start arriving from every different channel. It’s like when one black bird lands, they all land, and they’re all here to do what used to be called SLRs – silly live remotes for their 6 o’clock broadcast,” said media critic and filmmaker Danny Schechter.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been protesting for over 3 weeks, but reporting on America’s mainstream network screens on what it’s really all about is yet to catch up.

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