Seattle: The view from London

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at SPAMsinectis.com.ar
Fri Dec 10 05:52:50 MST 1999



Jim, this was very good.
As journalist and analyzer of media I agree, point by point, with your
description.
Media system works in the same way as well in the imperialistic world as in
the semicolonial world.
And the explanation that the independent press has given, in my country,
about Seattle is something as " it was a struggle between NGO and the
bureaucrats", and explanation that was coined by the paradigmatical
"progressive" press, Le Monde.
Un abrazo revolucionario
Julio Fernandez Baraibar

----- Original Message -----
From: Craven, Jim <jcraven at clark.edu>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>;
<leninist-international at buo319b.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 1999 2:56 PM
Subject: RE: Seattle: The view from London


> Response (Jim Craven)
>
> When I was in Seattle, I had working press credentials as a result of
being
> an Editor of a bilingual (English and Korean) monthly magazine. My
> credentials were the same, in terms of access, as anyone from Newsweek or
> Time or of and of the other media. As a result of that, as was my
intention,
> I circulated among the press--print and tv--to check on what their focus
> was. Suffice to say that from some of the conversations I had with members
> of the press, no one needed to give them marching orders as to what to
cover
> and not cover in the same way that economists working for bourgeois
> institutions and academics in academia rarely need to be given explicit
> orders as to what is taboo and what is permissible, what is acceptable and
> what is heresy etc.
>
> For the bourgeois press, the bourgeois academic or bourgeois institutional
> hacks, or bourgeois entertainment media the "Spiral of SUCKcess" is clear:
>
> 1. Not asking nasty and taboo questions or allowing nasty and taboo
levels,
> parameters, angles of debate and analysis, or covering taboos subjects
> except within narrow and prescribed parameters, leads to PREFERRED ACCESS;
> 2. PREFERRED ACCESS leads to the "BIG SCOOP/HIT/GRANT"
> 3. the "BIG SCOOP/HIT/GRANT" leads to WIDER EXPOSRUE
> 4. WIDER EXPOSURE leads to "NAME RECOGNITION/RATINGS/MARKET
> SHARE/PROFITS/OBSCENE SALARIES"
> 5.NAME RECOGNITION/RATINGS/MARKET SHARE/PROFITS/OBSCENE SALARIES lead to
> even more and enhanced PREFERRED ACCESS which leads to...
> (excuse the linear arrangement).
>
> And this Spiral of "SUCKcess" works downward as well as upward in the
cases
> of the heretics who dare to step beyond the permissible and into the
> taboo--all clearly understood with a wink and a nod. Did anyone see even
the
> words "imperialism", neo-imperialism, "imperialist hegemony under
neoliberal
> globalist facades","imperialist social systems engineering under the
facades
> of IMF/WTO/World Bank austerity and structural adjustment programs" or
"What
> sovereignty, what freedom, freedom for whom being challenged by WTO?" etc
in
> the bourgeois press? And Frankly, even in the Independent Media
Consortium,
> there was a whole lot more coverage of people running around in sea turtle
> suits than interviews of experienced leftists seeing and interpretting the
> world and events through genuinely leftist paradigms and experience.
>
> So when interviews were done, the press went after the big names, the
> "controversial" like Buchanan, the designated "experts" (see the Rolodex
> syndrome or having ready-made and "certified" "Experts" cuts down costs of
> access and coverage, homogenizes the coverage and allows no one of the
> "mainstream" press to get scooped by a bigger name) and then spent any
> remaining time looking fro something freaky and bizarre to film as
"teasers"
> to lure in audiences for the more "in-depth" coverage by the talking heads
> at night (also designated "experts" via the Rolodex syndrome). The big
> unions were portrayed as basically representing narrow parochial interests
(
> a lot of truth to that), the "peaceful and responsible" demonstrators were
> portrayed as being even "patriotic" in their concerns about WTO and U.S.
> "sovereignty", portrayed as essentially buying into the system, and with
> good reason, but having some problems with WTO, keeping American jobs and
> not allowing these magnficent U.S. "standards" and "policies" vis-a-vis
> "human rights", "worker safety", "child labor", "environmental protection"
> and "worker "benefits" to be eroded by WTO, driven by Third World
> Oligarchies (no mention of where they came from and who put them in power
> and has kept them in power) driving a "race to the bottom" or to the
lowest
> common denominator in all of the above-mentioned and other areas.
>
> The "China out of Tibet" demonstrations got nice coverage but no mention
of
> of U.S. and Canada out of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in the Americas or
no
> mention of out-and-out genocide going on in the Americas and elsewhere (by
> any reasonable interpetation of Article II of the UN Convention on
> Genocide); Jimmy Hoffa Jr got some nice coverage but no mention of the
> Teamsters leadership having a long history of betrayal of workers,
> corruption and whoring for the ultra-right and giving the ultra-right some
> standing in the "union movement".
>
> The Independent Media Center did a better job of covering some of the
stuff
> that the "mainstream" dared not cover and from angles they dared not cover
> but their own coverage was limited by some of the limitations of some of
the
> Independent press. They had a lot of focus on issues that are indeed
tied-in
> with the totality of imperialism (gay/lesbian/homophobia issues,
> environmental concerns, endangered species, punk/anarchist rebellion,
> "labor"/"environmentalist" "unity" etc, all of which was needed and
> valuable, but real leftist perspectives remained marginalized--and
sometimes
> demonized--among some of the "independents" as well.
>
> Bottom line: I certainly wouldn't be reading "Der Sturmer" or the
> "Volkischer Beobachter" for an understanding of
> Jewish/Roma/Gay/Trade-Unionist/Soviet/Slavic/Communist histories, issues
or
> perspectives and the likes of the New York Times and CNN are barely any
> better IMHO.
>
> Jim Craven











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