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On Protesters: Media Thoughts on the Lack of Protest Preparation

by Lori Fuller Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 8:32 AM

Thoughts from a credentialled media personage on the lack of preparation by protesters, and encouragement for future actions.

Having been part of the media which was able to go on the opposite side of the fence (as well as someone who spent most of their time outside the fence, because it was really boring inside the fence), I can honestly say that you didn't miss anything over there.

Sure, there were all sorts of politicos in there. There were lots of cops, of course. Heck, Monday night I was first in the media masses stuck against the wrong side of the fence (and trying to fight my way out to the side where everything was happening), and had to dodge Secret Service goons.

But outside of the media lounge (where the free food was), there was little worth reporting on that wasn't covered by the major corporate television stations. And if you had the audacity (like me) to be from a print media, you were just screwed - you weren't important enough to them.

So sure, I sat inside the fence. You might have seen me, in fact; I spent a couple hours on Tuesday night sitting on a concrete barrier, watching the Iraqi sanction protests. I got to listen to a reporter from KABC phone in her radio report; I got to write a couple of articles, and I got to take notes on the way the world worked.

Don't feel bad if you didn't go in there. Every time I walked into the complex, I felt like taking a nap. And once, I did. After all, I was print media - who wants to talk to a newspaper? It was all about CNN and NBC, MTV and FOX. There was more talk inside of the protests outside, and a bunch of nervous media types.

You know, although it didn't bother me too much (heck, half of the folks in the protest pit looked like my friends), the attitude and appearance of the protesters scared the bejeezus out of the vast majority of the media inside the Staples Center.

Are you really, truly wondering why nobody reported on your causes? If you are, listen up for a moment.

It's because the media was afraid of getting killed by people with bandannas pulled over their faces. People with large signs and big sticks. People who had no fear when cursing the cops, who literally asked to be arrested - and succeeded. Think about it for a moment.

Do you REALLY want to get your point across? Don't scare the media. Include them, invite them. Talk about everything you believe in (one issue at a time, though!), tell them your life story. Tell them of protests you've gone to and people you've met. The media loves stuff like that.

Teach the media. Explain the roots of the causes. Tell them who Mumia is - heck, until I went online, I had no clue because none of you protesters would bother telling me. All you would say is to free him, and that meant nothing to me.

Tell the media why you feel that Gore and Oxy are tied together with strings of cash. Hand out information with bibliographies or with some form of contact information. In fact, issue press releases which don't sound like a manifesto, and you'll probably get them published.

There's so many things that could have been done, should have been done, by you protesters. These are but a few things which pop into my head initially. Be coherent; pick your issues and plan your words. Create catchy phrases which truly keep your message in mind, rather than reusing the same "Whose streets? Our streets!" which means absolutely nothing to those who are reporting on the issues.

Don't slam me - I was a protester, too. I dropped the camera for a while during the police brutality protest and walked with friends, joining the people who were demanding that Leonard Peltier be freed from an undeserved prison sentence. (And if you want to know about Peltier, I'd be glad to tell you.)

But I'm media, through and through. It's my life, it's my love. And yes, I wrote about you protesters. Not that you helped me any - I had to go to D2KLA or other sites to find anything to help me with articles. And I wrote favorably about you (compared to the corporate media).

I'll shut up, and clamber down from my soapbox now. But please, consider this little thought that I will leave you with:

If you instantly assume that all are against you, shortly your wish will come true and they truly will be. Don't let that happen - the fight that you are fighting is too important to silence it by stupidity.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Media/Protester preparation Jeremy David Stolen Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 3:13 PM
Which side of the fence are you (we) on? are jay Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 3:45 PM
The media has had every opportunity to get it michael eisenmenger Saturday, Aug. 26, 2000 at 1:41 AM
If I have but ONE request Tommy the Terrorist Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2000 at 10:41 PM
Re: Media/Protester Preparation Lori Fuller Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2000 at 6:35 AM
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