The Wall Street protest, which started on September 17, 2011, had been planned for months. What started as a peaceful march onto Wall Street by 2,000+ protestors last week then morphed into a sit-in, as planned. Those passionate and dedicated in their efforts to send an important populist message to Americans, as well as to Wall Street, showed up determined and prepared. However, the protest has now been turned into a violent circus by those so good at doing such things, the American corporate media.
The Wall Street protest’s message was straightforward and could be boiled down to a calling-out of Wall Street as a symbol of corporations and the rich, who (with the help of politicians) protect themselves no matter what, while displaying a shocking lack of concern over the hardship faced by millions of regular people. One of the protestors on September 17th, there at the site, clearly stated, “You need a scorecard to keep track of all the things that corporations have done that are bad for this country,” notwithstanding the fact that American corporations hold 2 trillion dollars in cash, waiting for the next election while the country suffers massive unemployment, actions that are not merely unpatriotic, but treasonous.
But right on cue, even before the march had begun the city had closed down many sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. This undertaking wasn’t going to be made easy by the powers-that-be.
Initially our corporate media placed small news stories about the peaceful protest here and there, miniscule in breadth of coverage and misleading when they did occur. The media worked slowly but surely to portray people trying to make a difference as wild-eyed incoherents who were aimless and unorganized. As of this week, what was found reported in the media was, overall, negative, dismissive and superficial, and then – BINGO – came the arrests.
With those arrests came a sigh of relief from media offices around the nation, as the media had finally found its “hook”. They would now be committed to turning the public against the Wall Street protest, rather than ignoring it or simply talking the whole project down. Believe you me, they will not be letting go of this tantalizing overall theme any time soon, and it will work.
To understand media math, one only has to sum up that it takes 2,000 “Occupy Wall Street” participants to equal a tiny fraction of discontented Tea Party members at a townhall event. In fact, the bias of the reporting of the Wall St. protests, when compared to the Tea Party advertising campaign underwritten by the majority of the corporate media owners, should give anyone an additional clue that the media has, for years now, not been our friends, nor will they ever be. More important to note, what is reported is seldom by accident, but by design.
The Tea Party phenomenon, in stark contrast to the Wall Street protest, was brazenly built-up and slickly marketed by the corporate media itself. It’s debut starred Wall Street media figure Rick Santelli, who initiated a rant on the corporate media channel he worked for, CNBC. The rant he became famous for encouraged a protest centered around the fact that the Obama Administration had dared propose measures offering a lifeline to help ordinary citizens on Main Street, who were losing their homes due to the mortgage financial meltdown. Although some mistook the Tea Party rant as a call to protest the bank bailouts (which occurred in 2008), that was never its intent, and Santelli made that clear at time.
Michael Barrone, a conservative writer, explained it quite well in his nolstagic tribute to Rick Santelli, over a year later.
“The government is promoting bad behavior,” Santelli began. The object of his scorn was the Obama administration’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan providing aid to homeowners delinquent on their mortgages.
“This is America!” Santelli declared. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”
Granted, the words are not as elegant as those of Thomas Jefferson or John Adams. But the thought is clear. Santelli was arguing that the people who, in Bill Clinton’s felicitous phrase, “work hard and play by the rules” shouldn’t have to subsidize those who took on debts that they couldn’t repay.
The true story, of course, came from less powerful media sources, that, shall we say, have nothing to do with corporate owners. A citizen writer explained it this way back on March 5, 2009:
In reference to Ricky the Ranter on CNBC and his Chicago Tea Parties protesting the mortgage holder bailout plan as “unfair”, these protest occurred this weekend. From all accounts, very few “protestors” showed up anywhere, and for all intent and purpose, the venture appears to have been a bust.
In the meantime, some internet bloggers have been digging into this rant/protest story, because to many progressives, it felt too forced, phony and rehearsed, to say the least (did you check out Ricky’s appearances all over MSNBC the following day? Let’s just say you are lucky if you missed them)… and this is what investigative bloggers have unearthed to date –
Robert Johnson on PBS’s Bill Moyer’s Journal puts it this way, after he read the Playboy article which first raised suspicions of the possibility that the Right Wing organized Chicago Tea Parties that Rick Santelli of CNBC incited were perhaps not the spontaneous grassroots activism that we have been led to believe, but rather a preplanned drama a la Brooks Brothers Protest of Election 2000.
Ever since, the Tea Party Movement has been pumped up as a powerful political factor. It played a significant role in limiting the reform negotiations in the Affordable Care Act, by cowering many Democratic Blue dog congresspeople to vote against a key element of the original plan, the public option. The “movement” was also partially responsible for the loss of the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, which ended in GOP hands. The 2010 defeat of Democrats all over the country is directly attributed to the Tea Party’s fanaticism, but was only made successful via a generous and relentless helping of national media coverage (while the media also worked hard to dampen Democrats’ enthusiasm). In other words, what started as a rehearsed televised rant against a new administration that was attempting to help people who were suffering the most, ended up bringing Republicans back to power in our national politics and in our state legislatures. This, then, resulted in other extreme actions of union-busting, the systematically diminished value of our teachers, firemen and police officers, and the lay-offs of 500,000 government employees,adding to the unemployment numbers – a GOP wet dream for their “One Term Plan” for our current President, and the never-ending assault on anything our President proposes to help this country. Again, all brought to fruition by one rant cultivated by the so-called mainstream media into a well-financed movement. That, folks, is the true breadth and strength of our mainstream media. That is what they do.
Personally, I’m always taking aback by those who allow the media to continuously manipulate us, divide us, and set us off on one another. It is with dismay that we witness leftists who don’t support President Obama using biased media sources to support their arguments against this administration, while actively dampening down Democrats’ enthusiasm as we head into a crucial election. They simply do not recall, and perhaps simply don’t want to, exactly what actions the Obama administration took that got the Tea Party movement started. They would prefer to call President Obama a corporatist and blame everything negative on him, rather than realizing that they have been played by forces measurably more powerful than the President himself. Maybe it is because, in their hearts, they know that the corporate media is such a power, and they are too afraid to confront it, and so turn a blind eye as to what it is that the media does, apart from a weak-throated complaint now and then when they are the party aggrieved.
I do admire the tenacity and resolve of the group of protestors who are participating in the protest actions of the last two weeks. I urge us all to support this group of citizens trying to make a difference, with our attention and our donations. Their cause is a noble one, although sadly doomed. It is doomed not for what the protestors have done wrong, or not done, but because of the subject they have chosen. The media will simply not allow this movement to resonate, and the corporate media owners will do whatever is in their power to make certain that the message of the Wall Street protesters is never clearly understood. Instead, the media, in the way of their choosing, will extinguish this movement categorically and totally, no matter what we do. The media fully understands that it only needs enough of us believing their propaganda at any given time, which is how they are able to operate so blatantly in front of our very eyes.
As I have in the past, I will again suggest that the next protest organized by those who say they care about our future has got to be against the corporate media. They are the ones we need to call attention to. They are the ones hiding in the shadows, working on keeping us too distracted to notice how easily they manipulate so many of us . We wear their puppet strings, while we act unaware, mostly out of convenience.
Look, there are still many on the left who would insist that the Obama administration go after members of the Bush administration for all that it did, most which could have only been accomplished via media duplicity. I would suggest that instead of spending so much time scorning this President, which is like cutting our nose off our face while putting a plastic bag over our head, we instead turn our ire where it belongs – upon the media – and stick to it and demand accountability as forcefully has we have been demanding it from one man. I’d love to see us hold the power-hungry manipulative SOBs responsible, just for once!
Let us organize a massive protest that they can see from their skyscraper windows, no matter where they are located. This kind of numerous, syncopated action would be much harder for them to ignore. If we are going to make a difference in this country, we have to aim at the proper villains, instead of doing little more than continuing to attack those who may be our only saving grace during this era in history. The Wall Street protest could work more effectively if, placed in a specific, strategic order, we had taken on a corporate media protest first. To date, we haven’t.
So will we continue to falsely believe that speaking the truth to power means allowing the biggest power of all to manipulate us into oblivion? It is our choice. We need to get started like yesterday! I can’t do it on my own, but I would certainly participate BIG TIME, so count me in. That’s one. How many more?