Monday, December 10, 2007

Bourgeois? Cash or Check Only!

• Spreading the word about systemic oppression and privilege: $50.

• Spreading the word about unrepentant capitalism, with a press packet: $100.

• Watching radicals take to the streets in the pouring rain to protest the fuzz: Priceless.

That appeared int a Tacoma News Tribune (TNT) article, where a reporter showed up last weekend for the Northwest SDS Convention at the University of Puget Sound but "Alas," says the TNT, "we were unprepared for the shunning that Tacoma Students for a Democratic Society had in store for our bourgeois reporter." It has been in the tradition of SDS to charge bourgeois media a flat fee if they would like to report on SDS convention activities. Independent media get in free. This caused rife in the 60s as it does today.

Bourgeois media have no interest in reporting on radicals' activities in a promotive sense. It is a for-profit activity, and this changes the face of the news, since important demographic members and corporate sponsors make their decisions. The TNT says they came to convention to "spread the word", while the words they intend on are spreading are dismissive and give bad publicity.

On ownership, the TNT is owned by Fisher Communications, which owns many right-wing news group in the Northwest, and caters to the professional military class. Radicals in the past have often been grateful for any coverage from bourgeois sources. But bad publicity can hurt a movement more than promote it, so understanding the reasons and interests of corporate media is essential. The workshop I led at the convention, by the way, that the TNT said was "ironic"--the one titled Understanding Media.

A curious article is perhaps better than an article which attempted to explain the article in the language of 'universal separation'. In the end, the TNT in hindsight seemed as though they regretted being oppressive "toady" spectaclists, and wished they could see what the democratic society we speak about might look like:
"We had a hankering for one of their organic, vegan doughnuts from Seattle. (Bear claws? No chance.) And we anticipated our first visit to a 'gender-inclusive restroom.' (You never forget your first time.)"

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