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Commentary ::
The Media and Emotions
03 Aug 2004
Modified: 04:43:20 AM
A little rant about why watching the news will never cut it.
Every night last week I would come home and watch my comrades (and sometimes myself) march through the streets of Boston, rally across the city, or hold a bazaar on Boston Common. Even when the media did use one of the many interviews they filmed, I still wasn’t satisfied. After being warned by the government that “terrorists” may attack their vans, the media seemed to be even farther on the enemy’s side than usual. I watched reporters tell of how one protester was thought to have been holding a Molotov cocktail, and though these reporters were there on Thursday during the Pirate Bloc of around 100 pirates, nobody mentioned that the “accelerant” was supposed to be a pirate hook. The reporting made it seem as if the protester carried the hook to try and look like a Molotov, though it was quite obvious that he was marching with the pirates. I also didn’t see any footage of protesters explaining what happened during the chaos Thursday, though I saw some get interviewed (meaning that though some reporters try to get a fair story, it isn’t up to them whether or not the footage is used, and more often then not, anything that casts dissenters in a positive light is scrapped).
The media dominating the edges around the effigy.
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I came home and listened to outsiders tell me how we had spent our day. I remember one major station reported that the police were very restrained during the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar on Tuesday, though I was more fed up with Boston Police that day then I ever have been in my years of activism here. The police consistently rode threw our crowd on horseback, in cars, and especially on bikes for the soul reason of demonstrating their power and implanting fear in the participants. This was made quite obvious by the ride-throughs about once every two minutes at sometimes, and a few times crossing the grass, proving that they weren’t “just passing through.” There were two helicopters constantly overhead, drowning out our music and speeches. Also, all the coverage of the bazaar simply said that there was a bazaar, how many people were there, and that many of the people were anarchists. I didn’t see any reports mentioning why we were having a bazaar or anything about the tables or activities from there, from juggling to free food, from art to a car running on vegetable oil (I did read some good coverage of the bazaar, most notably in the Boston Globe by Jenna Russell).
When protesters were shown, they were not portrayed as intelligent, but rather as insane for wanting to protest the Democrats. The question I was asked the most by reporters wasn’t “Why are you here?” but rather “Are you going to vote for Kerry?” or “Do you think the protests are going to be wild and raucous?” Unfortunately, violence seems to be the only story most reporters are looking for. Rather than showing 30 kids walking around singing “twinkle, twinkle little star” with a police escort (which would cast us in an intelligent, witty light), the media chooses only to show us when we burn an effigy or when they pause to mention that many of us are anarchists. And the only reason we get airtime at all is that they haven’t found enough “celebrity sightings” to cover. Extensive coverage and dialogue was dedicated to all the speeches given at the Democratic National Convention, unless, of course, they were coming from outside the Fleet Center. The media perpetuates the idea that only politicians can change politics and the only way to have change is through the system.
Besides the standpoint that protesters are crazy, there is an inability to capture the emotions of the people. The vigor with which the makeshift drums are beaten is no apparent to the television viewer. The gigantic sense of unity with complete strangers is not done justice on the airwaves. You cannot tell how serious and desperate we are from a video of us chanting. The ability to hold hands with someone you have never met (who lives across the country) while you play Ring Around the Rosy as street theater is not evident in the media. More importantly, none of the reasons we do any of these things is examined, but rather the editing and censoring discredit the fact that we do them.
This is why we need to be the media.
The media is state run:
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This is why IndyMedia is so important. It allows people like me to express how we feel in full. There isn’t a cutoff so that my article can fit in the newspaper: there isn’t a restriction on who can contribute. We all can, because IndyMedia is us. On the other hand, reading IndyMedia and visiting this site is not enough. Even here it cannot be conveyed all the emotions and feelings of actually being there. Get yourself involved; there is no other way to truly experience things!
We are lovers:
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This work is in the public domain