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Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Outside Approved Channels"

Sept 28th, 2011

If a handful of Tea Party activists, with marching orders from a manufacturing and petrol conglomerate, show up almost anywhere, anytime and carry American flags made in China... well, by golly, that's "news." But, when more than 7,000 citizens without pre-printed talking points gather to protest systemized corruption and inequality in the heart of the most important financial district on the face of the Earth?

cue crickets...

For the most part, American news outlets have taken two approaches to the Occupy Wall Street action; disrespectfully dismissive reports or none. It is ridiculous. It was also thoroughly predictable.

Glenn Greenwald puts it succinctly:

"It's unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive andscornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street. Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists. That's just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges. As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it's going to provoke."

Whatever structural critiques can be made about the movement, an area where Greenwald and I don't see things eye to eye, the broad refusal to objectively report on the events in lower Manhattan is a betrayal of the most basic principles of journalism.

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