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Crashing the Corporate Media


Three friends and I hijacked CNN's live coverage of the Wisconsin recall election (link at bottom). Easier than it sounds. We dressed in business attire, donning robber masks and clutching bags of money to signify the criminal corporate class. We kept back until the reporter went live, at which point we stormed him. Shaking our moneybags over his shoulders and beside his face, we began singing "Corporations forever, corporations forever / Corporations forever, for the billions make us strong!" to the tune of that song that goes "Glory, glory hallelujah!"

The reporter seemed to not appreciate having his droning voice punctuated with signs of life; this, of course, was indication enough that we were doing something right. As it turned out, we were: several minutes later, we had friends telling us they'd seen us on national television. Several days later, I learned Jon Stewart's The Daily Show had picked up on our clip.

After interrupting CNN's coverage, a columnist from the Cap Times asked me why, if we were proponents of democracy, we had interrupted the reporter's speech. I told her that corporate media should not have any more 1st amendment rights than corporations. The Cap Times reporter was very hung up about our having interrupted the CNN reporter without having heard what he said. In my view, we can be quite confident that media subordinate to a corporate business structure is going to report only on what the main shareholders of that corporation approve of. After all, a corporation is, by law, required to put the profits of its shareholders first and foremost–certainly well ahead of the truth. And when a handful of people own most of these media corporations, it's fairly obvious that these individuals will have editorial oversight on what gets reported. Ask yourself: how many corporate media outlets were adequately skeptical of Bush's assertion that Saddam had WMD? How many corporate media outlets questioned the honesty of Enron's accounting? Or questioned anything about any major corporation, for that matter–be it Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or most recently, JP Morgan Chase? Herman and Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" provide strong empirical support and clarification for the corporate media's subservience to other corporations.

Hopefully I've persuaded my readers better than I did the Cap Times reporter, who made air quotes with her fingers whenever she said the phrase 'corporate media'. Patience is useful when dealing with experts.

Us crashing CNN's live coverage of the WI recall. (Start at 1:00 in).

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