This weekend protestors in Seattle took to the streets for International Workers Day and in solidarity with Baltimore’s struggle against police brutality and the white supremacy system that is entrenched in this country. I tried to find proper live news coverage of these events on various media websites as they were occurring but I couldn’t find anything in my search for actual investigative journalism that gets at the root of things, like The Real News Network, Democracy Now or Hard Knock Radio. Instead I found, later on that evening, what I call “distance or disconnect reporting” which was literally reporting from helicopters to show how the police formed a block around them and carolled them down streets pushing them where they wanted them to go. It was a “them” and “us” mentality. The newscasters had these attitudes like, here they are protesting AGAIN. Look how great the police did this year in controlling those crazy people, with their years of experience, they finally figured out a great plan to deal with this once a year May Day nonsense.
It was like they were corralling animals and the disconnect was massive. For the news to cover it that way really shocked me. I would have expected some interviews with protestors ON THE GROUND or to explain the meaning of May Day, to give some balance to the coverage at least. I didn’t even see anything during the day except to say to expect traffic because they were expected protests. Which by the way, were going on at that moment. I couldn’t find coverage of it which I thought was unusual. It wasn’t until the evening for the “anti-capitalist” march did they show some coverage and only from helicopters and it was all bad. Maybe it was there and I missed it? I kept checking their websites but couldn’t find any “live” coverage.
When I went to print media, I found they started with the bad stuff and then they praised the police and then finally they interviewed some protestors.
In the live footage I did see, not once did I hear the newscasters talk about why they were protesting. I was yearning for actual participation from the Seattle media and political community to, I don’t know, act like adults and maybe find some real solutions by taking responsibility and addressing the issues, talking to the people who have grievances, get to know people instead of portraying them as the bad guys. I guess I’m spoiled by the independent media I watch. How dare I expect regular main stream media to have proper reporting.
The bay area has Hard Knock Radio, New York has Democracy Now and luckily, Baltimore has The Real News Network. If only we had a Real News here in Seattle that actually engages with its citizens instead of trying to divide them between the haves and have nots. Every city needs one. Then maybe we could actually make progress in helping real people with real problems. At least we have Socialist City Councillor Kshama Sawant which is more than some cities could say.
Here is what Seattle could have done to address issues within our community. Start a dialogue and continue to have it until problems are solved. Media can be part of the solution if they would, pardon my french, get their collective asses out of corporate control. No disrespect to the French.
Now, without further ado…here is that town hall meeting with real people with real thoughts and ideas. May there be more throughout the country.