|Although an Activist myself, I work (for now) in the Canadian mainstream media, and get frustrated every time I see a protest covered. Yes, the mainstream does take steps to ignore what is being said.
However, there are things you can do to counteract this:
In the weeks leading up to the protests, call the GM or News Director of local TV stations, and ask to be interviewed. If they accept, great. Now, show up with something to say, and the FACTS to back up those words.
If denied, thank them anyway, then call all your friends, and hold a NOISY rally in front of the station. Call the station's competitors, and when their cameras arrive (and they will) talk to them.
The same goes for after the rally. If you don't like what the media did, make them aware of that. Make them accountable for their actions. If they will not speak to you, call all your friends ...
At the protest itself, SEEK OUT THE CAMERAS. Talk to the reporters. They are looking for the easy story. They're lazy people, and generally not the smartest people alive.
You must make your views easily accessible to them. Befriend them. They're just people like you and I. Ask their opinions. I guarantee a lot of them have never even considered the bigger question. Find a way to get through. Give them a solid sound bite, something they can use.
To most sheep-reporters, we are just angry kids with too much time on our hands, and bad attitudes. You must educate them.
Insist that they get a wide-shot of the crowd. The camera lens can be very narrow. It's one thing to say "a hundred thousand people", and quite another to show it.
Besides creative protest signs, CARRY FLAGS, not for the country that is, but for the country that should be, the one you were PROMISED. Take away the enemy's ability to label you "unpatriotic".
If the cops rush you, cover up in the flag. What a different picture it would make, if the police had to beat and arrest people through the flag. You must learn to use the media. We are playing a game with rules the enemy has devised. We must find ways to bend these rules.
If the cops walk in formation, beating on their shields, know that this is a tactic of intimidation. Stand strong, together, and beat in unison with them. Demonstrate your resolve to all those cameras.
Dance and sing to the beat. Change their intention for them. Deflate the situation. Steal their power.
In retreat, never run away. This makes us look weak. Bite your tongue against the searing pain of the teargas, ignore the trembling of your hands, and walk calmly away.
We need A LINE OF DISCIPLINED ACTIVISTS, between the police and those who would resort to violence. A line that will not be moved. Tell the police that you will return the degree of respect given to you. Nothing more, nothing less.
"If it bleeds, it leads" is a very real concept. Be Gandhi for a day. Be proactive in preventing violence. Explain to those who want to fight, that their energy would be better put to use in some other capacity. Lord knows, I understand the anger and frustration they feel, but violence hurts our cause. The message gets lost.
Act as if your every action is watched, because it is. Make your core beliefs the impetus for your every word and deed.
We must not scare the People. This only hardens them against us. Violence is what the fat men in suits desire. Don't let them win.
TALK to the People, the bystanders, the gawkers. Ask them if they enjoy the world created by an unchallenged Elite, the unopposed Right. Ask them if this is the world they wish to leave for their children. Make it personal, because it is.
And remember, that you are the Majority, and you are right. There are millions upon millions who support you.
Truth is on our side. We cannot fail, unless we fail to act.
To a better world?
P E A C E . . .
Street Protests and the Media
By Jordan Thornton
Posted on the Independent Newswire as a comment on 20 April 2002
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