Guest Column: Why the media blackout of the Wall Street protests?
By Dewaine Nelson
Along with my father, who is in his 80s, we have been news junkies for many years. We share and discuss many topics, from abortion, economy, politics, to wars, etc.
Sept. 27, 10 days after the fact, one of my Facebook friends posted an article about Wall Street protesters. The protest had started Sept. 17. According to the article, around 200 people had been arrested. The article did not mention what the people were protesting. I never heard of any such activities that were going on prior to the Facebook link.
I asked my father if he had heard anything through his TV news and newspaper sources. He had heard nothing through these mainstream news outlets.
A few days later, my Facebook friend sent another link where 700 airline pilots were marching on Wall Street and protesting the Wall Street wealthy class. Surely, I thought this would make the major news media if this many airline pilots were protesting.
My father and I sat through the news that night flipping from ABC, CBS and NBC channels, waiting for something. Nothing was mentioned from any major news source.
At first, I believed the Facebook links. A few days later, with no news from any of our trusted mainstream news media, I start wondering whether I had fallen for an Internet hoax.
I searched the Internet, looking for information about the demonstration. Only unknown sources were talking about the protests. A few videos, however, seemed to prove what was going on.
Through my Internet source, I learned it was a protest march and sit-in. It was a class warfare struggle. It was pitting the middle class struggle against the rich class luxury.
For the next several days, there was no mention of any protests going on in New York City. It was like nothing was occurring. Surely, I thought the news media would not ignore a protest demonstration where several hundred were demonstrating in our largest city and a couple hundred people were being arrested.
Finally, Oct. 1, literally two weeks after the protest demonstration started, I received news from CNN that a protest demonstration was occurring. By then, thousands had converged onto Wall Street. Additional protesters descended on Boston and Los Angeles. Middle class and young people were demonstrating against the unfairness that our society blatantly had turned toward.
Thousands of foreclosures, bankruptcies, high student loan debt that was incapable of being repaid and loss of good middle-class jobs, all while the federal government had literally given trillions of dollars to the wealthy financial businesses. That the government had no clear-cut plan to solve these issues was finally causing many people to take matters into their own hands and demand positive action.
The demonstration was started through the Internet social media network. There was no formal development. It was a leaderless demonstration started by frustrated college students and young adults. They tweeted and Facebooked their friends. Several mentioned they were inspired by the Arab Spring demonstration in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria.
I, many of my friends and many other Midwesterners have been affected by the hard economic trend for the past several years. It irritates me to hear from national leaders and economic gurus about how the economy has climbed out of the 2007 Great Recession. We hear how the stock market has rebounded, and the GDP is rising while people cannot find work. It is maddening to hear about Wall Streeters making more money than prior to the Great Recession while reading about more and more people losing their homes.
I sympathize with the protesters on Wall Street. I understand the frustration, and demanding a change to the status quo, where the wealthy are getting wealthier at the expense of everyone else, is certainly called for.
The scariest thing to my father and me was not that there were big demonstrations going on but that the major news media had a news blackout. Was it a self-imposed blackout, or is some other group or government agency imposing the blackout?
The major news media have become big business. Perhaps they did not want the average citizen questioning their authority.
What is the agenda of the news media if not to inform their public customer? How could the United States, with its talk of freedom of speech, be a model for other countries to follow but yet not cover such an important event at home? They carry international stories of far less importance.
Questions should be in everyone’s mind. The standard news media have been put on notice that they no longer control the people. The Internet has changed the rules of the game.
Dewaine Nelson, of Rockford, is owner of Solergy Alternative Energy Solutions.
From the Oct. 5-11, 2011, issue