I have been puzzled by the fact that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) according to CNN, the source of all news and rumors, is on its 24th day. Is it my perception, or is it that reporting of protests outside the USA gets a totally different kind of media coverage?
I do not know. But when Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria (Arab Spring 2011) started their revolt, the mainstream media were on fire with the news. With OWS, the same mainstream media is reporting rather subdudly. It is a trickle on my twitter stream, and frankly it seems that nobody gives a damn. Have we, the rich westerners, gotten disenfranchised to this point of just not caring about what is going on on our front porch (Wall Street)?
Let’s have a look at what the main headlines are on the hour:
CNN/US: Main headline “Bullies just not preying on the weak:” A new study commissioned by CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” found that the stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn’t reflect reality in schools. Comforting to see is that the second line on the front page and first item on ‘US top stories’ is indeed the announcement of the 24th day of OWS. But then it is all business as usual. Where are the in depth stories about the protests? Should it not be on the front page on the website? But it is on the front page, down at the bottom, in “iReport” as one of nine boxes alongside “Sports Illustrated.” I stand corrected, not!
New York Times: NATO, gulf shrimp, election, budget deficit, and by the way, an headline down the page Protesters Offer Help and Risk for Democrats. The first paragraph is a revelation: “Leading Democratic figures, including party fund-raisers and a top ally of President Obama, are embracing the spread of the anti-Wall Street protests in a clear sign that members of the Democratic establishment see the movement as a way to align disenchanted Americans with their party.” Is anybody out there listening to these people? Am I the only cynic left in this world that only sees self-interested instrumentalist purposes in what is being reported?
The Washington Post: Almost makes it important and dedicates a navigation tab to Occupy Wall Street. However on its front page, Afghan detainees are being tortured according to the UN, and you have to scroll down and really look for it to find the tab and a banner that you can click to find out what is being reported. Meanwhile, the readership also seems much more interested in Demi Moore’s latest romantic foils that anything that has to do with protests and government. To save grace, this newspaper does publish Eugene Robinson’s opinion that albeit on the conservative side, still manages to echo some of the discontent “a nation where the rich have become the mega-rich while the middle class has steadily lost ground, where unemployment is stuck at levels once considered unbearable, and where our political system is too dysfunctional to take the kind of bold action that would make a real difference.”
At Le Monde, the french are preoccupied with their own elections, and a few minor disarrays in the land of centralism and accelerated social decay. In their international section, we learn about a resurgence of cholera in Haiti, that the Liberians are having an election, and Juppé is flirting with the Syrians while the Copts in Egypt are burying their dead. Ouch! Nobody really cares about the troubles on Wall Street.
The Swiss NZZ front page is dedicated to the calamities of the weather, the workings of Ukrainian justice and politics, and of course, what the hell is wrong with the banks. Down at the bottom of the page the Swiss have their own OWS to worry about, “Occupy Paradeplatz.”
But that was a short snapshot of the web versions of some of the mainstream dailies that I occasionally read. However the media landscape is fragmenting at a rate that can only be welcome. Citizen media – a mad name by any measure – is popping up allover, and nobody can really keep up, so their voices are difficult to detect from under all the background noise. Still, if you care to dig, it is there: Livestram,Twitter (suspiciously quiet), John Perry Barlow (awake as ever), Gawker (almost anesthetized towards mainstream), and Lawrence Lessig (as uncomfortable as ever), to name a few off the top.
Good morning America, you are dying in your sleep. Sweet dreams!
PS: The rich westerners are on a drug induced sleep. Democracy has become empty rhetoric, and government a consumable.