A Protest and a Media Blackout


Imagine a protest in a nation’s capital that results in the arrests of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, attempting to draw attention to an active political controversy. If we’re to believe anti-government activists in Venezuela, the fact that the television did not cover an event is proof that the government is stifling the press. 

But this demonstration happened in Washington, DC, not Caracas. The hundreds of protesters were arrested in front of the White House, where they were urging the Obama administration to reject the climate-wrecking Keystone XL pipeline.  And according to a search of the Nexis news database, the protests hardly made a sound in the corporate media. 

There was a brief mention on CNN (3/3/14) : “Hundreds of protesters were arrested outside of the  White House Sunday in a massive demonstration against the Keystone oil pipeline.” The same was true on ABC‘s Good Morning America (3/3/14), where viewers were told that there was 

a chaotic scene at the White House Sunday as hundreds of demonstrators chained themselves to the fence and spread across Pennsylvania Avenue, refusing to move. They were protesting the proposed Keystone oil pipeline extension, claiming that it would damage the environment.

The hometown Washington Post appears to have skipped the protest for the print edition,  running a short piece (3/2/14) on the Post Local blog; the New York Times also ran a Web-only piece (3/2/14).

One of the more thorough reports on the protest came from the independent media; Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman (3/3/14) explained that the protest “could be the largest youth sit-in on the environment in a generation,” and interviewed a climate activist.

As we’ve pointed out many times before, some protests are evidently much more important than others

 

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