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imperialism & war | media criticism

When the U.S. attacks Iraq, and we're on the streets, BLOCK THE CORPORATE MEDIA

a call to arms to further liberate ourselves from oppression, and help free the world
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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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.



Are you completely insane? 19.Mar.2003 01:40


What in the world are you talking about???

The fact is:

The majority of Americans are operating under the belief (fed them by Bush and the mainstream media) that we are a small, insubstantial resistance. Even if coverage is unflattering, bad, or downright untruthful, Joe Schmoe sitting on his middle class porch drinking his middle class beer is FAR BETTER SERVED by knowing of our existance than not.

Nearly everybody I talk to these days doesn't seem to be aware of the most important aspect of what we do: We should all know that our actions WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES directly lead to the end of the war. However, by getting or smiling mugs on the mainstream national media as much as possible, we ENGENDER CLASS CONCIOUSNESS, and force, simply through others' awareness of our existance, some degree of consideration about what's going on. Joe Schmoe will do everything George Bush tells him to if we don't let ourselves appear on national media. But if he gets a dishonest, whitehouse-serving 15 seconds about us, it's AT LEAST POSSIBLE he'll stop and think.

On a personal note: I once (a copule of years ago) used mainstream media (in that case, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the most conservative, but widely read, paper in Northern New Mexico) as a tool in getting a small private college to abandon some of its War on Drugs style disciplinary policies. The article, frankly, was bloody awful. But its very existance put pressure where it was needed, and the letter I recieved from a Vietnam Vet in rural NM who'd read the article, made everything we do, and every second we futily bust our asses, totally worth it.

FBI to Detain "Disgruntled Individuals." 19.Mar.2003 03:54

This means people like you

With the nation back on high alert and officials warning that terrorists may already be planning major new attacks, ABCNEWS has learned the government will begin detaining dozens of suspected Saddam Hussein sympathizers in at least five U.S. cities this week.

Government officials fear Iraqi agents may have slipped into the United States in advance of the impending military conflict. They did not provide details on the identities of the suspected sympathizers or where they are.

"Iraqi state agents, Iraqi surrogate groups, other regional extremist organizations and ad hoc groups, disgruntled individuals...




Yes, corporate media is not to be trusted.

Yes, they often work with cops.

But a small minority are anti-fascist and we should learn by their reports who these are and give them the edge.

Also, how do you "block" even hostile media? Maybe move quickly to a different area. Attacking them or their camera lens would divert issue from unarming the war.

If cops are beating someone up, grab nearest T.V. camera, assuming you don't have your own, and make them record it. That Rodney King outrage was put on video tape did much to expose corrupt L.A. cops.

Chickenshit 20.Mar.2003 21:10

Aaron mitigated-disaster@db0.net

First you issue media advisories to get media attention, then you blow horns in microphones and verbally assult the reporters who are covering the story that you want them to. You march, they report. That's what you want.

Or, do any of you know what the fuck you want?

I'm against the war with Iraq. I think that Bush screwed this one up. But I'm also smart enough to know that throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the street is NOT going to give my point of view any credibility.

Want to know why Lars Larson & Company constantly harp on the ultra-liberal left as being reactionary and radical? Because groups like yours give him fodder on which to feed. Knee-jerk reactions lead to bad publicity. You folks of all people should know that.

Grow up.

you moronic idiots 20.Mar.2003 23:37

Zora Neale Hurston

How can you tell if someone is independent media or not? The size of their camera? Why do you have to hide your actions in a so called DEMONSTRATION where you're supposed to be communicating to the public? Why are you so afraid of what a camera will show? At what point does a media company become too large and therefore a leech? Have you ever considered that covering your protests is actually WORK (risky work at that) and there's nothing immoral with them being paid for it? Please consider eating a dick you dolt.