Media Silent as Thousands March on Washington DC, 400 Arrested

Claire Bernish | ANTIMEDIA

Livestreamers captured the crowd chanting, “Where is CNN?”

Washington, D.C. — Over 400 people were arrested on Monday as they participated in Democracy Spring at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. — but, unsurprisingly, corporate mainstream media completely missed the mark, devoting a mere 30 seconds of inaccurate coverage to the event.

Democracy Spring describes itself as a movement to “take back our democracy” by employing “mass nonviolent action,” such as a week of sit-ins, on an “historic” scale. While Monday’s mass arrest of no less than 400 people — including journalists — certainly were historic, cable news outlets’ coverage essentially ignored what was happening.

As The Intercept noted, CNN completely skipped coverage of both the sit-in and the arrests. “MSNBC mentioned the protests for approximately 12 seconds, while Fox News mentioned the arrests and discussed the protests for about 17 seconds.” Even worse, the two outlets narrowly skewed their reports, describing the massive movement’s targeted concern as “voting rights issues.”

Though the massive protest movement’s goal to conduct a “bold intervention to turn the tinder of passive public frustration into a fire that transforms the political climate in America, that sparks a popular movement that can’t be stopped” certainly includes voting rights, cable news’ misrepresentation trivializes Democracy Spring’s rather significant intentions.

CNN later attempted to rectify its error with a brief article online, and a few mainstream outlets — NPR, Al Jazeera, and CSPAN — did devote serious attention to the protests, but cable news bills itself as ostensibly specializing in U.S. political news, explained The Intercept. So where was the coverage?

Social media acted as the de facto news agency, as Twitter exploded the hashtag #DemocracySpring — tweeted well over 136,ooo times — and posts to the organization’s Facebook group and event page circulated widely. Alternative and independent media, as usual, also provided coverage from and of the protest and subsequent arrests.

But there are several reasons for the cable news’ attempt to shovel Democracy Spring’s newsworthiness into the dustbin. Perhaps most telling remains the oft-quoted statistic that 90 percent of media in the United States — including the aforementioned cable outlets — are owned by a mere six corporations. Considering corporate influence via its infusion of cash in politics, Democracy Spring’s stated intention of wresting back control of the political process from “big money” makes it a prime adversary of the very news outlets which should be covering such a politically-vital event. This is why virtually every activist and independent media journalist you will ever encounter call those big ‘news’ outlets the ‘corporate media,’ with their so-called professional journalists beholden to report what those outlets’ owners dictate as newsworthy — and to ignore what isn’t.

Indeed, challenging the status quo and removing the corruptive influence of the incestual relationship between politicians, media conglomerates, and their corporate overlords comprise the bulk of what Democracy Spring stands for.

So though it’s not shocking that cable news failed miserably in its journalistic duties, it must also be noted 277 million Americans continue to rely on corporate media for their news and information. While that has been changing, with both social media and reputable independent media taking a direct stand against the corporate-political narrative, the arrests of over 400 concerned advocates of democracy in the nation’s capitol probably went completely unnoticed by tens, if not hundreds, of millions.

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Activist Bernard Alvarez poses with retired police captain-turned activist Ray Lewis.

Democracy Spring continues this week with sit-ins and protests. According to the organization’s website, over 3,500 people have signed on to risk likely arrest in order to have their grievances addressed — whether corporate media feels that’s newsworthy or not.

To wit, before the arrests began, livestreamers captured the crowd chanting, “Where is CNN?”


This article (Media Silent as Thousands March on Washington DC, 400 Arrested) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credits: Bernard Alvarez. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

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