Mainstream media continues to ignore occupy Wall Street protest
// Cecilia Yus

The duty of the media is to report on as many local and global events as possible in a clear and unbiased way; to keep us informed on both sides of any event. However, in many countries around the world this is not the case. The media only covers what is in the best interest of whomever holds the most shares of the company, or reports on protesters with a negative bias based on principle alone.

A current example of this can be seen in the student protests of Chile. Over 100,000 students and citizens have been protesting against the high cost of education for public high schools. Students have been locked out of schools for over four months in the middle of the southern hemisphere school year.

CNN reports that schools have been back in session with police presence since Sept. 23. However, Chilean political science graduate Thiare Lizama-Cornejo says, “Classes did re-start in only the most high-end neighborhoods, but when faculty and students saw the police presence they walked back out before the school day was over. All other public schools and public universities are still locked out, and probably will be for a long while.”

Similar is the Israeli “Tent City” protest, which has been going on since early August and is protesting against the rising cost of living. Despite being one of the largest demonstrations in Israeli history, it has received almost no screen time here in North America.

Their media only reports on what the government tells them to. This type of situation would never happen in North America, right? Enter Occupation Wall Street in New York. According to the Atlanta Post, Occupation Wall Street is a multi-day, peaceful rally to expose “the disloyal, incompetent, and corrupt special interests, which have permeated our economy and government.”

The rally, which began on Sept. 17, has gone through over a week of protests with participants sleeping in a nearby park and holding demonstrations in the morning and evenings with little to no attention from any major news networks. When CNN covered the protest on Sept. 17, they published the story in their business sector, CNNMoney. The New York Times placed its Sept. 23 article in the regional section under the title, “Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim.”

Online news sites and some newspapers have been reporting on this protest, but most Americans and Canadians get their news from the television, and it seems those networks are not deeming the protest as necessary news. It wasn’t until violence broke out between the protesters and police that ABC News covered the protest as real news, keeping the focus on the clash and not the protesters' message.

Maybe there is a good excuse for this: maybe the numbers aren’t big enough, maybe the media isn’t taking the protest seriously. Both of these ideas are hard to believe, as some sources are placing the number of protesters at up to 5,000. Those numbers are expected to rise exponentially in the following days as the event builds momentum and a handful of New York labor unions join the protest.

The Atlanta Post reports a third idea for the lack of media coverage: the issue could be what the activists are protesting against. In contrast, the relatively tiny Tea Party rallies of Washington D.C., which were held in favor of federal spending cuts, received more than generous media attention. Yet in the past few months, the Atlanta Post reports a number of protests against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, police brutality, and government spending that have received no media coverage whatsoever.

Occupation Wall Street seems to have been inspired by massive public protests in Spain and Egypt, which, unlike the protests back home, have received more than enough media attention from networks in Canada and the US. If the event continues to grow, mainstream media will be forced to stop ignoring the event, and instead start spinning it back to the population.

// Cecilia Yus
Staff Writer

// Artwork by Miles Chic

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com