Saturday, October 29, 2011

Corporate In-faux-mation vs Real News

Photo credit: Egyptian blogger Mohammed Maree,  journalist with
NEWS FLASH: This is what someone who refuses to be cowed by fear looks like. This man is part of a crowd marching from Tahrir Square to the U.S. Embassy in solidarity with Scott Olsen, and following the death in custody of another 24 year old victim of "security" forces; the gruesome details of Essam Ali Atta's torture and the grief of his family members are enough to deter anybody.

Once you have cast off fear, the authorities send their thugs to try and put it back into your heart. But it doesn't always work.
Source: Occupy San Diego Facebook post following arrests: "Stand off over the police wanting to wash the blood away."

I've been traveling to receive training for my job, and thus spending lots more time than normal in the belly of the corporate beast. Corporate hotels still love to leave a copy of USA Today to greet and orient you toward an approved version of what's going on as you step from your room each morning. Above the fold headlines on the day after Oakland's militarized police force cracked the skull of a young veteran of the Marine Corps and Iraq?  Municipalities are growing weary of the messy occupations (never mind the 99% growing weary of kleptocracy) and, “At last, honors for the first Black Marines.” 

The information control industries are counting on the fact that even if you avail yourself of the free internet connection, you're unlikely to stumble on authentic news unless
a. You read the Guardian, which is published in Great Britain; OR
b. You find your own news using RSS feeds, Twitter hash tags, Facebook shares, and emails from friends of the friends of your friends; OR
c. You get lucky.

The dissonance caused by the yawning gap between the approved version vs. what's really going on is too much for most of my fellow citizens. That chasm can be downright bewildering. For example, the livestream from San Diego Friday at 3:30am Pacific time showed riot police advancing on unarmed occupiers. The voiceover of the young camera operator was frantic with adrenaline and the injustice of it all, alternately pleading with police not to attack him, with his mom to call everyone she knows, and with the rest of us to witness (“1000 people are watching this right now!”) as police pulled down tents, smiling broadly as they fingered their enormous weapons.

Meanwhile, the Google feed of top headlines showed not a blip about San Diego, having only just caught up with the news about Scott Olsen that had galvanized the globe during the previous 24 hours. (Every once in a while the list of ten headlines from this particular spun news source is so deliciously ironic that I save it for posterity.) 
GOOGLE HEADLINES from 10/27/10
Obama's Messaging Diluted Off the Campaign Trail
Fox News - all 2105 related »
Verdicts reached in Anna Nicole Smith drug trial
CNN - all 707 related »
Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill, Panel Says
New York Times - all 606 related »
Moderate Governance by the Next Congress? Fat Chance
CBS News - all 5373 related »
Ky. Senate scuffle replayed in Democratic ad
Washington Post - all 409 related »
Voters decide if California marijuana legalization 'worth risk'
NECN - all 1395 related »
Microsoft Q1 results boosted by Windows, Xbox, Office
Computerworld - all 1489 related »
Another treasurer leaves O'Donnell campaign
Atlanta Journal Constitution - all 474 related »
Baby killed for interrupting mom's Facebook time - all 370 related »
Today, as I ate lunch at the Norfolk airport, the television above my head was frantically reporting on: the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor.

So I lurch around on the internet a lot, following threads down dark tunnels, hopping briefly onto social networking sites whose workings I only dimly understand. Guided only by my purpose – to gather information – and their purpose – to make that possible – I listen in on conversations I probably won't ever have, with people I probably wouldn't meet. For example, here was some interesting chatter on Reddit as Olsen lay still in his medically induced coma in Oakland's Highland Hospital:

[–]Ebolaking  As a fellow (Active Duty) vet as well, though never a Marine. I can't stand this hypocritical stance that the elected officials are taking this horrible event. Though I was never a Marine, he is a brother in arms. As a family, we must stand together. I do recall that when I took my oath of enlistment that no where did it say that I will protect corporate greed. I know for one, if shit gets out of hand, I stand with the people and not the corporate lackeys.

[–]mingus-nous This is what Mayor Jean Quan had to say about this "peaceful resolution"...
We want to thank the police, fire, public works and other employees who worked over the last week to peacefully close the encampment. We also thank the majority of the protestors who peacefully complied with city officials.
I commend Chief Jordan for a generally peaceful resolution to a situation that deteriorated and concerned our community. His leadership was critical in the successful execution of this operation. City Administrator Deanna Santana developed the plan and secured mutual aid from other departments and the State of California. She will direct departmental teams, including safety, public works, communications, to restore conditions at the Plaza so that it is available for public use.
Forget the petition, this woman needs to be physically removed from office.

[–]calebh70118  "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Gandhi
The British are providing the best coverage of Occupy, for some reason, so we've got the ignore part down. Fox News is providing the laugh track. And now Oakland PD has started the fight.
So let's fucking win.

And then I come across a news item like Egyptians marching from Tahrir Sqaure to the US Embassy, or the Bangor Public Library offering the occupiers space on their lawn after the city threatened to evict them at 10pm on Day 1. 

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