Tuesday, 14 December 2010
A different headline for either of these pictures would be "Anarchist trapped in photographer circle jerk" because both show how protests usually involve far more media bods than they do feral, mindless, thuggish, yob, anarchists. This is sad because it makes clear non-violent protests don’t count as news or at least not front page news anyway (peaceful protests being relegated to page 24 besides the sudoko and/or the second last item to be followed by a youtube clip of a skateboarding squirrel).
Rather media organisations, both public and private, have a clear angle they impose on all protests. Furthermore, they will only pay top dollar for anything in keeping with said angle. Hence essentially trivial gestures (oh look he’s broken a window just like that drunken sod did down Swindon high street last Saturday night) are hunted down then amplified until they drown out the actual issues being protested about.
This is interesting when you think about it. A public protest is by definition both a gathering of the public and an attempt to influence public opinion. In practice, doing so requires media attention and given the media will only respond to stories, images, etc. of violence, i.e. they tacitly present an incentive to be violent, it appears complicit in the whole process.
That’s probably a tad philosophical in a moral maze kinda style, it’s much easier to simply assume journalists and media organisation owners are for the most part the snidey cunts you think they are.
The other people violence serves of course is politicians and the police because it gives both a good get out clause. Hence politicians can grandstand about feral thugs and the need for water cannon to distract from what was actually going on and the police can hope Mr and Mrs Moral Outraged from Peterborough are too busy being morally outraged to notice officers continuing to cover up their numbers so they can wallop people with impunity, the far, far, far, far greater number of protestors than police that get smacked about and the tactics developed as the latest student protest wore on for dealing with people in wheelchairs (no tactic / tactic).
Indeed, the Metropolitan police in particular have an incredible track record for publically shitting all over victims of their own incompetence. The usual approach sees unnamed police sources briefing journalists off the record about so and so being a bad ‘un, the longest running example of this being the treatment of Colin Stagg in a lets not try and influence potential jurors/cover up our own failure to catch anyone type style. More recently there was the death of Ian Tomlinson where after each and every press release issued by the police to paint thems in as good a light as possible was contradicted by pesky facts, unnamed sources started mentioning a laptop might need to be looked at, nudge, nudge, dodgy stuff, eh? etc..
Hopefully that some ugly auld tart sat on piles of inherited cash got touched by an oik will prove enough of a distraction and Alfie Meadows won’t be subject to any of the disgusting, taxpayer funded self-serving character assassination usually dumped on victims of thuggish police incompetence. And water cannon eh? Is that distracting spin or an expectation of more protests I wonder?