By Daniel Perin
For years I have known, as I am sure you have as well, that what makes the headlines in print and other media is whatever is negative, brutal, sensational, or titillating. What usually does NOT make the headlines is the TRUTH of what is behind the news.
Efforts have been made from time to time to produce a media outlet based on the “Good News.” It has never worked with the possible exception of The Christian Science Monitor.” Even they have trouble keeping it positive. I would guess we all don’t want to waste time reading the bland items about a boy scout helping a senior citizen across the street. Because of that bent of conscience we look for more sensational items.
Now we are facing one of the most important social events of our time—the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. Not only are Occupy events happening across our country, there are correspondent events around the world.
How are these events being reported, locally and nationally? My experience is that once the first shine of interest is past the news media began looking under rocks (or in tents) for someone, anyone, doing something, anything, that was detrimental to the movement. Every kind of protest will eventually attract the hoodlum element, those persons with pent up rage they had no place to vent, or others who had nothing better to do than raise hell. Wonderful! Just what the TV reporter was looking for—a broken window, a blocked street, someone with a used needle (could have been for a legitimate diabetes need, but probably not). The result is that the six o’clock news, always known for its sensationalism back to the 60s, could lift its ratings by appealing the prurient appetites of its audience.
Unfortunately, as reported above by Sarah Seltzer, what is missed by media is the background story, the principles that are being stated by those engaged in the camp outs, general assemblies, planning and yes, even cooperation with the police and other authorities. In Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams has made a gallant effort to recognize the validity of the OWS event while at the same time protecting the rights of individuals and businesses not engaged in the event. He has had a difficult time of it and in all likelihood will have a price to pay. Fortunately, he has already decided not to run for re-election, so he has somewhat less to lose.
I have watched the media reports—TV and the Oregonian—and it appears that slowly they are picking up more about the uneasiness of the general public and the inconvenience of dealing with those seeking to have their voices heard and RESPONDED TO in a meaningful manner than they are to the OWS voices. Change is often inconvenient. Get over it! Can you honestly not see that our current government is broken, unable to operate and provide the legislation, opportunity and guidance that will generate jobs, financial recovery and physical well being to the citizenry?
The train of American Democracy is slowing and will halt altogether if we do not act to change the regulatory laws governing our financial institutions that have raped the public and then spit on their crumpled bodies by rewarding corporate executives with exorbitant bonuses and perks. Both political parties are bought and paid for by the K Street lobbyists in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court has made it possible for incredible sums of money to pour into political campaigns across the country without anyone knowing where that money is coming from. We no longer have a country with “one person, one vote.” What we have is corporate ownership of our legislative bodies.
Fortunately, the elections held Tuesday, November 8 demonstrated the outrage of the public over what Republican majorities have tried to do since the 2010 elections. Ohio voters overturned Republican Governor John Kasich’s anti collective bargaining law. Other union busting efforts defeated. Voter suppression tactics defeated. Birth control as murder defeated. It looks like there may be hope for change after all.
I am not saying that any of these issues should not be open for debate. I am only arguing for transparency and getting rid of the conspiratorial efforts of moneyed interests in our political system. There are legitimate questions about the role of government in the lives of individuals. Some issues will never be finally settled to the satisfaction of everyone, but we MUST get back to the individual having a voice in the policies and actions of their government. To me this is mostly what OWS is all about and I, for one, encourage the voices speaking out, acting out, on my behalf. I support their effort to self-regulate as they present their views. I support local government allowing for a place for protesters to stand their ground and present their case.