The Oregonian and Mass Media seek out and Interview PDX Indymedia about A-22
On Friday 8.23.02 Janie Her from the Oregonian attempted to contact the Portland IMC to discuss our coverage of and involvement in the protest. She was unable to contact anyone at the number and so called the global people. The message made its way to me and I was on it.
"You guys were the source for the protest!" says the Oregonian
I spoke with Janie Her from the Oregonian on Friday (8/23). This is my recalling of the question and answer period, but if you ask me questions below I can further elaborate and remember specifics, we spoke for a while. Her questions fell into a few camps
1. Who's running the show
2. Who set up the protest?
3. Who made trouble?
4. What the heck are you people?
The woman was very nice and kind, which got me on my guard. The whole time I stressed the fact that there isn't any official organ or voices of PDX Indy Media and I am speaking only as a contributor and volunteer.
She really pushed the first question. She asked me who we are, who are the leaders, who keeps it going, how do we make our money. I stressed that we the people are the media and though we have some volunteers, the vast majority of the posts are by participants rather than journalists in the true sense. The volunteers are those who mess with html, servers, and other various basic functions that maintain the site [sort of sexy activist janitors or something].
She really wanted me to say that a bunch of militant anarchist activists who organized the protest and set the mood of the event. The actual question was as follows, I told her that we presented a community forum whereby activists could have a place for organizing, planning, and meeting. She said "But you didn't just provide a medium for the community, you actually shaped the protest didn't you?" However, I would not yield. I said something like, no that's not correct. We provided web space where protest organizers could freely post but we didn't mastermind the thing. Though some of us took part in the planning meetings, it was solely as individuals and not as anything official. Moreover organizations often do their own press work via our site, and they are media in the pluralistic sense but not the official sense [namely because there isn't an official sense]. I then added that we take part in various external events as people do and since the open publishing policy holds it isn't media posting but rather regular people, witnesses, commentators, and anyone who comes in contact with or wishes to express the various experiences they had at whatever place they are. I said that depending on the flux of people involved we could be a right wing vanguard press, it is all up to the posters. We are the media, etc.
With the protest organization questions [which there were many of, maybe 3-5 questions coming up again and again, I wasn't saying what she wanted] I think she had the impression that we did it all. So I informed her that Indy Media was the medium for public discussion, and that the public utilized the space as the public. I said that various community members and activists spearheaded the groups. I added that we did participate, just like we do at all the events we attend, but not as "official" Indy Media organs, because there aren't any, but as individual citizens.
She asked me if we thought that people came to make trouble or were mostly peaceful. I gave a hard-line response to this. I told her that I haven't yet witnessed an altercation, which is true in my limited experience, where the protesters instigated violent action. I have only seen police attacking people to intimidate and abuse protesters. I said that as humans, sections of the population are prone to poor anger management tactics when they are attacked violently. Nevertheless the police know this and use it as a tactic to justify more repressive measures to crush opposition. This is a repeat offence by the police, and we see it again and again. Some recent posts have complicated my view and I think that we all have thinking to do about the subject, both on the level of practice and theory.
She asked where are money comes from. I told her that we don't receive money and hence aren't an active NGO-tax collecting body. She asked me, for god knows what reason, whether there is a central server. I explained that I wasn't qualified to answer that and she should ask tech.
I also brought up that this is a global movement of autonomous local Indy-medias located in cities around the world, with a little help from our global provider.
There is a lot we spoke about, prod me and I will spit it out.
More notes on the corporate media: On the CNN report of A-22 and the AP coverage there are latent references to Portland media and other vague references to us. The Oregonian was amazed at our coverage and called it the source. Given the explicit attacks via porn, spam, and viruses the day of [also the loss of connection for 12 hours or so] it is clear that some other forces think we are worthy target of attack. It could be CoIntelPro, Intelligence, or hard core right wing/hate radio listeners. Who knows? It doesn't matter much anyway.
The lesson to be learned is that we are on the verge of a great movement! The massive support of alternative media and distrust of corporate media [globally, locally, and at the protest] indicates the perfect time to persuade Portlanders, and set the stage for the rest for the rest of the country and world, to support and convert to independent non-corporate media. It is a long road but now is the time to act. I am starting to work for a coalition of independent press, radio, television, and web resources for Portland. We discussed it at the editorial meeting and others urged that it is a good idea that has surfaced but never acted upon. If you are a local press source, or are interested feel free to contact me or get started on bringing us together in a coalition to take back the media!
Also look forward to the NAB [national association of broadcasters, an evil massive media group, see the global Indy Media site] meeting when Portland alternative media groups unite to fight the corporate oligarchy's grip on the nation. It is in Seattle from sometime around the 15-17ish.
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