Media covers up Occupy Wall Street coverage

Illustration by Hannah Swann

Shane Wade
Opinion Editor

Illustration by Hannah Swann

While the mainstream media covered the all-encompassing news about Facebook’s radical updates and the lackluster GOP candidates for the past two weeks, real news about police brutality toward the Occupy Wall Street protestors went unheard.

True to the name, protesters lined up and marched the length of Wall Street in a series of ongoing demonstrations aimed at protesting class warfare in the United States, greed and corruption by Wall Street businessmen that nearly brought down the national economy as well as a variety of other controversial issues.

The Occupy Wall Street protest that began on Sept. 17 and continues to this day is just one segment of a larger movement that seeks to occupy and protest in every major U.S. city.

With more than 80 protestors unnecessarily arrested, dozens of videos documenting the unnecessary brutality of the NYPD against peaceable, unarmed women and only a single report of an assault against a police officer by a protester, where was the outrage? Where were the news outlets?

Those that followed Fox News’ lackluster coverage of the story saw the movement boiled down to a two-minute dismissal by Greg Gutfeld, who referred to the protesters as “losers” and criticized them for being inspired by the Arab Spring. NPR’s executive editor, Dick Meyer, explained their lack of coverage as follows: “The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective.”

It should be noted that “Democracy Now!” – a daily radio program and the largest community media collaboration in the United States – estimated that 2,000 people were present on Sept. 17, the first day the protestors began their occupation. Time magazine later reported that more than 300 have been stationed since the 17th. Among the Occupy movement supporters are Dr. Cornel West, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Immortal Technique.

It’s easy to dismiss the movement as pointless and unsubstantial. To be fair to the media, reporting on Americans being violently beaten by police officers without provocation is rather drab compared to reporting on what Facebook’s latest update means or who Sarah Palin thinks is the GOP “Flavor of the Week.”

I empathize with today’s journalists. In the digital era of social media, it’s easier to follow the top trends than to risk reporting a story that people won’t care about and drown in mediocrity and irrelevance. But an excuse to be relevant isn’t a reason to be irrelevant. The hard news of real people suffering for a cause should always overshadow the easy news of manufactured origin.

So with 1 in 6 people living in poverty, students graduating college with degrees for nonexistent jobs and a rising national debt, media blackouts on serious protest do a grave disservice to the country and the people of America.

I don’t normally buy into conspiracy theories, but I’m certain that the silence by many news outlets was not accidental. It’s becoming obvious that there’s a concentrated effort to minimalize and undermine progressive or leftist movements within this country.

The slogan “We want our country back” attracts more fervent headlines than “We want our country forward.” The Tea Party movement was all but endorsed by Fox News, but the Occupy movement has no such corporate sponsor to support their endeavor. The mainstream media isn’t too liberal or too conservative; the mainstream media is too bought.

Obviously, there’s no use in telling the media what they should be doing, but at the very least, you and I can help contribute to the spirit of the movement and encourage healthy vigilance against corporate-endorsed complacency.

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