September 6, 2012 : Media Meltdown!
File Under : No Sh-t... is that lower than the Kardashians? Visions of protesters upstaging the convention, cops and guardsmen clubbing and kettling joined-together occupiers mobbing the streets of Charlotte - all fail to materialize. DNC and RNC stage nearly identical spectacles : entirely locked-down affairs, leaving citizens intent on forcing their issues left on the surrounding sidewalks, in the rain. Or hemmed in to now ubiquitous protester pens.
The prospect of facing, much less challenging, the military-police show of force, is daunting to all but the most hardy activists, such as Code Pink's Medea Benjamin, present in Charlotte as in Tampa. Huffpost
Still some brave souls soldier forth, in an attempt to engage DNC delegates eager to get inside. Instead they end up in a shouting match with the Prez' union supporters who resort to chants of “Four more years,” even as the two groups had made common cause the night before at a Charlotte workers' rights church service.
“I’m a little disappointed,” says an OWS organizer. “I feel like there’s certainly enough people who are upset right now. Congress has a 9 percent approval rate.” Ny Times
Down South, Occupy talks resurgence and Occupy 2.0. Activists admit the lack of a public space, a direct consequence of a nation-wide police crackdown, hurts turnout. Still, working groups continue to focus on the core issues : student debt, foreclosure, and the abduction of the democratic process by the super-rich and their PACs.
“All we did was think about how to regain our space, and we lost the 99 percent." says Amin Hussein of OWS NPR
Conventions now cost tens of millions – on security alone – and feature soaring rhetoric, accompanied by a series of de-contextualized images – designed to evoke emotion and adhere to the principles of modern advertising. Establishment media must play along, or cede the audience to competitors. Blogger Ben Smith's incisive view of the modern convention cuts to the heart of their operation and their nearly symbiotic relationship with establishment media. buzzfeed
Policy details are typically off the table, except when ex-President Clinton has a large audience at hand. Among the pundits, there's no denying it, Bubba can still give a great speech. Unless you have to sit through the whole thing, as captive delegates did. Time
The messy details surrounding the Clinton Administration's own contribution to the US' growing wealth disparities, aggressive financial deregulation, and the ex-President's constant cozying with Wall Street Lords Robert Rubin, Sandy Weil - and others who considered legislation such as the Glass-Steagal Act detrimental to their global banking profits - all squarely off the table in the post-speech love fest.
Bubba is not only a useful instructor to the current crop of Democrats. According to Republican commentator Alex Castellanos, he "moves them toward the center." He can educate the current crop of spoiled brat Republicans in the same direction. In other words, dress your stimulus for the financial sector up in good 'ol populist language and you're in. huffpost
The true meaning of a candidate's “move toward the center”
- bandied about by politicos, pundits, and pooh-bahs – is a move toward the power establishment, particularly the Lords of Finance, and away from the
wings, whether its far right evangelicals or OWS hippies. It always hurts to buck the trend and be on the fringe. Nonsense about getting independent voters is cover for the necessary establishment embrace of the candidate, a topic covered wholly by Michael Ritchie's The Candidate
Allison Kilkenny transcends the recurrent noise and steps beyond convention walls to hear the vox populi outside, taking a dig at establishment media in the process. Which this space will only applaud.Kilkenny routinely goes deeper with issues-based reporting – nearly a thing of the past – as opposed to chronicling bland election narratives. Thenation
Amidst the largely self-serving speeches of convention pols comes the curious spectacle of what Rove tracker Craig Unger terms the media's “self-destruct” - on full display, as it happens, during convention time.
Chris Matthews thus comes fantastically
unglued in front of the iconic Tom Brokaw, who is left to stare and
wonder “what the f—k?” It's a curious liberation, one that owes
a debt to Occupy for changing the terms of the discussion. Onlookers cheer the rare display of chutzpah from a
media desperate to retain relevance amidst shifting cultural mores. (video above)
It puts establishment media in the curious position of navigating a
treacherous terrain between the whims of their sponsors - the perception of taking positions is bad
for business and alienates certain demographics – and adopting a
more critical tone.
William Rivers Pitt cheers the development, skewering the pretense of media "objectivity" : “When someone like Chris Matthews can summon enough outrage to - gasp - actually be a journalist on television, you know a Rubicon has been crossed.” truthout
RNC's naked attempt to grab back the Executive Office by any means necessary may prove too much for certain reporters, such as Soledad O'Brien, who of late has become an irritant to the powerful.huffpost
Those seeking less filtered convention-fare may check out blogger Erin Gloria Ryan, who nails RNC and Citizen Romney with several well-timed jabs, noting what she calls the candidate's default acceptance speech expression : “wincing, blinking rapidly, and tipping his head to the side.” Expect a new facial expression to be programmed for the upcoming debates. jezebel
Blogger Kevin Gosztola offers updated reports – and photo journalism, at some personal risk – from outside DNC, covering a protest broken up by police.
Greenpeace and Occupy converge uptown in Charlotte to rally at Duke Energy in favor of Clean Energy. Wbtv.com
At least one Obama delegate takes umbrage at convention protests. The altercation takes on a racial hue as the delegate, himself African-American, refers to black protesters of the Prez as “Uncle Toms.” politicker
Beth Buczynski says some of the flack Occupy gets is unfair. Their bum rap comes simply because they were unable to solve the country's problems quickly enough. Still Buczynski says all in all, near the eve of Occupy's first birthday, they should be thanked.
"The American worker has begun to remember her value in our economic system. Groups formerly divided by the 1%’s politics, the police officer, the solider and the protester, have begun to recognize that they are all members of the 99%." care2.com
Richard Brodsky follows suit, noting the entire gist of DNC is to– at least in words - align itself firmly with the interests of the 99%. huffpost
The reality of Occupy is that many of its members and primary organizers are fed-up former Obama supporters, disappointed by the Prez' perceived tilt toward financial interests. Call it the polar opposite of the Chuck Norris' “Thousand Years of Darkness” forecast. huffpost
The martial artist and former actor, last seen in 1980's b movies and late night fitness ads, sticks it to the prez in spite of the code of honor that forms the basis of his self-created martial arts system Chun Kuk Do.
The code includes such tenants as :
4. I will look for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile.
5 .If I have nothing good to say about a person, I will say nothing.
Speaking of Texas Rangers, twtter and blogosphere abuzz over the infiltration of Occupy Austin by undercover Police.
Amidst accusations of law-breaking by Occupiers (see Cleveland) dailycaller and exposes by muckrakers truthout of police infiltration of Occupy, the latest story suggests a carefully planned set-up so that Austin police could arrest, then charge, occupiers with felonies rather than simple misdemeanors. The beleaguered Austin Police Chief is “blocking” those who question his motives on twitter. Reason.com
The Chief doesn't deny knowledge of the plan, but says he was not “aware of it existing on this level.” Which begs the question : how many other operations are instigated by undercover cops without the full knowledge of their superiors? Austin Statesman
Occupy Austin, not surprisingly, is less than thrilled with the officers display of initiative kvue.com
Finally, as if police infiltrators, camp crack-downs and endless surveillance weren't enough, this space noted the appearance at RNC of Occupy Unmasked, the Mark Cuban backed film that purports to reveal the hidden connections between the criminal conspiracy that is Occupy and its plot to re-elect the Prez – all with organized labor backing. (This while occupiers protest the Prez and the DNC backs away from organized labor) Salon
The film is now being screened behind enemy lines at DNC.
Unmasked filmmaker Steven Bannon is also the director of The Hope and the Change. both films appear to have the common goal of mirroring Sen minority leader Mitch McConnell's stated goal of organizing his party around the central principle of defeating the Prez in 2012. Which is kind of what the accuse Occupy of. breitbart.com
Mouthing any fantasy is okay so long as you have the audience - and the megaphone. To that we say - Amen! Anything goes in “the echo chamber.” Each group listens to adherents to its own party line. Facts are left out. No more talking an issue through and reaching points of agreement.
Call it the early Occupy sophomore slump. Every year players come into the majors and for a brief period of time, maybe a year, feast on pitchers who don't yet “have the book” on the batter. Eventually, someone figures out the pitch - or sequence of pitches - to get the hitter out. Most plateau and remain marginal players, while the greats readjust and continue to hit. And of course even they fail 7 out of 10 times.