The connections between corporate media and corporate power have been well-documented, as has the increasing consolidation into fewer and fewer hands of all commercial media, including TV, radio and newsprint. In sum, corporate media is owned by or strongly connected to the military industry, and serves those masters first and foremost. "The truth" (and yes, there really is such a thing) is not their concern. It might be that a few reporters here and there actually believe they are trying to do the best thing for the world with their work and to be honest and fair, but these people are kidding themselves. Those few who do try to push the envelope have their work heavily edited or find themselves out of a job. |
As the U.S. government slams a brutal attack onto Iraq, these issues are coming to the forefront. Only Fox and CNN will be allowed to broadcast coverage of "the war" and everything they broadcast will be vetted first by the military. Don't expect any truth. The lack of good coverage of peace and anti-war actions will also pervade. There's no reason to think anything else will happen. As a Florida appeals court declared in February of this year, "it is technically not against any law, rule or regulation to deliberately distort the news on television." The corporate media exists to engineer opinion in favor of ruling class elite interests. It is not our friend and never will be. It will always do more harm than good to us and the causes of justice and freedom.
Therefore, starting when we march out from Terry Shrunk Plaza on the day the attack on Iraq begins (which will be any day now), we must block the corporate media from covering us. Here are a few reasons to do this:
- They cannot be trusted not to work with the cops
In arrestable situations like we will be facing, the corporate media have no problem with broadcasting or otherwise reporting on illegal activity in a way that will put us at risk. As activists, we should know better than to film or photograph people in compromising situations, or to not make the footage public if we do. (At least, we all oughta know this by now.) The people who are taking risks to actively resist the imperialist power of the U.S. need our support and one vital way of doing that is to protect their identities. The corporate media doesn't care about this concept. Thus, they are dangerous to us.
- They are leeches who profit off of us
They are making money off of us whenever they broadcast or publish stories about us. As anti-capitalists, we cannot let them do this. As plain old self-respecting human beings, we should not want to be taken advantage of like this. Why should they make a buck off of our beauty and effort? They should not. Some media outlets, like the Willamette Week and the Mercury also profit from the crass objectification of women by taking pages of soft-core porn advertisements in their back pages. Against patriarchy? Then you cannot support the weeklies.
- They are arrogant jerks
We've all seen how they are at actions, sticking their lenses in our faces, not identifying themselves, cooperating with the police, approaching us with a snotty agenda from the get-go, and just generally acting like they have some divine right to push themselves to the front and disrupt our actions. Sometimes, they even assault people. (A fellow media activist was assaulted by a corporate media reporter on the Morrison Bridge on March 15. Here's three links to stories about an AP reporter who attacked an activist in July, 2001: 1, 2 & 3.)
- WE can tell our story better!
Most importantly, WE can tell our story much better ourselves. If you were going to convey a personal experience or idea to a friend, would you a) seek out a third-party who claims to be "impartial" and "objective" but who always picks sides and makes you look bad to tell the story for you, or would you b) just tell the damn story yourself? Put in these terms, it seems ridiculous that we have a news media at all. Certainly, a large number of people are reached by the corporate media, but if they are being fed lies, then does it matter? Isn't it better not to be covered at all than to be covered badly? Who can better tell your story than you? No one.
- Building a world that's GREAT
If I had a nickel for every time I've heard an activist describe a corporate media story about their event or issue as "not so bad", I'd be able to pay portland indymedia's bandwidth for a year. These not-so-bad stories are often the result of horus and hours of "media work" involving meetings, arguments, arduously-crafted press releases, and -- too often -- are built on a watered down message. You know what? I'm not an activist to make a world that's "not so bad" -- I want a world that's GREAT. Why settle for less? Especially when you get nothing out of it and they make money from it? Fuck that noise.
PLAN OF ACTION
So when the war breaks out and we are out on the streets involved in arrestable situations and creative acts of resistance, we must BLOCK the cameras. Stand in front of them. Hold up signs. Put out your palm. Follow them around constantly. Use four letter words loudly so they cannot broadcast the audio. Take a minute or two to get in their faces and yell at them. Tell them how they're full of shit and are helping to prop up an evil dictatorship that's killing thousands of people and you don't want them there. Don't let them off the hook. Make them move constantly. Tell them to go the fuck away.
Such nonviolent direct action against the corporate media is for our own protection and the safety of people we love that we keep them away. The half a dozen or so no-so-bad stories they produce each year do not make up for the heinous and damaging lies spread the rest of the time. They are worse than cops because even though they aren't just spraying you in the eyes or knocking you on the head or dragging you away against your will; they are filming all of it in order to make money for their military owners, and convincing the public that it's okay that this shit is happening to you, and scaring people away from resistance and self-liberation. The media is what keeps people from breaking their chains because it makes them afraid to try. If we are serious about changing the world, blocking the corporate media is something we must do. There is no room in a GREAT world for corporate media. And while they do their dirty business, it will be impossible to create it.
FUCK THE CORPORATE MEDIA