2. When talking to the media they usually appropriate words you use and twist the message. Most writers and media outlets have a particular angle they want to take regarding an issue or article, either to advance an agenda or because they think that it will garner the most readers.
3. Readers, audience, etc are all treated like consumers. “the message” is also treated like something up for consumption, which means it usually can’t contain the gritty details, the impact, and the power mechanisms at play. This is because power needs to be preserved so that people continue consuming media as spectacle- so they stay distant and reinforce the disconnect between the immediate experience of oppressed people. To some extent the media, like the nonprofits, are the mediators of our oppression. They frame and contain our movements, keeping us within the paradigms of power so that no structural change is possible. Because structural change is not marketable for profit-makers, though it’s necessary for the collective survival of our poor communities.
4. The media usually does not get involved unless there is some sort of controversy. To those who care about maintaining the status quo, subordination, marginalization, and power relations are not controversial, they are just good business. If the police or the politicians are creating legislation, the media is more likely to get involved because they want to cover the agenda of those in power. The people these policies affect is considered opinion, and therefore less valuable or credible than those creating the policy- who are trusted because of their positions and ‘qualifications’ (read: privilege and access). The narrative favors those who create our conditions, rather than those who experience them directly (as oppression).
5. The media loves to referee a good fight because conflict in a particular light is marketable. They tend to cover protests in a particular format, especially when the police intervene to suppress protests that try to escape symbolism and enact offensive actions against commerce, profit, and paradigms of power. When the police escalate, the protesters behavior is usually scrutinized while the media panders to a very polarizing narrative that usually blames the people for police escalation thus justifying state violence. If the media even chose to include them in the first place, the social and economic factors that outrage our people and cause resistance (or refusal to disperse) are no longer mentioned as the media focuses on the conflict or ‘riot’. Always careful not to term it resistance or uprising. The initiating factors of these conflicts, which are usually police escalation and repression, are ignored in favor of focusing on the tactics of oppressed communities further demonizing their position. Similar to policy makers, the police narrative is usually immediately trusted and run as ‘news’ despite the terror caused by police. The media, like the police, operate together to protect property and criminalize people.
6. Corporate mainstream media will come to you for a story. Sometimes they will ask for people to contact, for leaders, for the message you want to convey. They may also respond to press releases or try to present the issue at hand as fairly as possible to both sides. They pretend neutrality, when in cases of oppression, neutrality isn’t possible. But “keeping the peace” and preserving the politics of containing struggle (rather than authentically documenting it) very much is. This exchange encourages and pushes political managers and media liaisons to frame their struggle in a certain light, appealing to the media or usually appealing to the moral ‘integrity’ (read: passivity) of the middle class, whose comfort always has to be catered to as a bottom line. This bottom line erases the conflict of our people and causes us to pretend our conditions, and the responses of our community, are not as drastic as they are. It causes our movements to be wrapped up in a politics of respectability and appearances, of erasure and management, rather than recognizing the violent symptoms and reality of our current system. These ideas rely on the media to reach the public and garner ‘support’ while determining actions then becomes about whether the illusive mass will be ‘alienated’ by our actions, effective or not.
7. To certain groups and autonomous individuals who do not believe in waiting or gaining mass to aspire to insurrection (immediate conflict in the streets, either with people or property, usually by refusing to disperse). Who do not negate property damage. Who do not negate conflict with the police, political managers and society as it stands, the media very often plays the role of the enemy. Instead people wish to go straight to the source, to take streets and outreach to the people in the streets themselves. This is because the media at the very least manages the narrative, and usually does more than the police could dream of in terms of criminalizing resistors who do not take a for-profit, appealing to the media, pleading and passive stance in regards to their struggle.
8. Some groups and actions are not meant to include or be included by the media. Not only do protesters not want their faces or names shared with a growing surveillance apparatus, but more and more the cost of coverage outweighs the elusive ‘benefits’ of appealing to indifferent masses. Actions taken are not just valued based upon whether they were covered by media, favorably or not. The action has value for those who participated in it, in solidarity with other resistors, for the effect upon material property, whether it can be replicated, toward long term sabotage and resistance, with less visible and more subversive disruptions. Contingents may choose to dissociate from the media, to exclude them from spaces knowing what their coverage comes with- containment and neutralization of our resistance. Others may choose to target the mainstream corporate media, or sabotage their equipment, to keep them from using footage to selectively frame and manipulate conflict. Or from using their footage to aid the police in targeting and repressing resisting communities.
9. The media carries representational power. It is a medium that dilutes and appropriates our resistance. It tends to censors our ideas or presents them in palatable ways that other people feel safe to review and judge without ever considering their privileges, and the perspective of those mis represented by such media. To some degree, media will always be representation in some form and cannot be trusted to communicate what it was like to experience a situation, action or event. Reported media and investigative journalism are sorely lacking in areas of resistance in the United States and should be explored more via report backs, first-hand accounts and debriefs. There are some good thought-and-action provoking forums sharing critical content being created by active groups. However, more often than not these ‘alternative’ spaces or pages become overrun by more theatrical spectator-type tactics, like meme generation, that demands less critical thought from our communities and promotes the same type of media-disconnect that mainstream corporate media benefits from. Popular media usage of the resistance and commercialization of radicalism or even the ‘front lines’ is a growing market breaching the mainstream that tends to glamorize and romanticize struggle, with no input by actual participants, usually for-profit of the creative (and uppa) class. What does it mean when the media is used to both criminalize and commercialize our struggle?
10. This is why making our own media in different mediums is so important, for resistance. Articulating our own theories, our own struggle, our own perspectives about our resistance without a for-profit narrative. We can shift from a culture of content-sharing, to content-creation, making space and building networks and alternative structures/alliances with other resistance groups/regions to promote and focus on our own stories and narrative. If we engage in their social networks and media sites, it should be to agitate and delegitmize their authority over our resistance. We can share their articles, if we want, without promoting their sites by using blog sites like Tumblr to share content without supporting the source. We should be self critical about how we mediate our own struggles, whose perspective is valued, and very very careful not to participate in criminalizing tactics even if we disagree with them. The state has enough power, it doesn’t need our help in defining resistance as only passive or appealing. We are told it is to dangerous to speak, and these are dangerous times. Both of these are true. But leaving our resistance in the hands of the media, or even framing our actions according to the dominant media structure, is more dangerous with our silence.