RNC Protests Will Neither Help Bush Nor Hurt Kerry
by Chris Bowers, Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:02:32 PM EDT
And the same thing could happen here. Second, as with Johnson, Nixon and Reagan, it hardly requires an act of imagination to prepare for the possibility that Republican conservative spies and thugs will infiltrate these protests and cause the violence themselves, with the knowledge that it will be blamed on the protesters and their cause.
I would be surprised if they don't do this, but of course, it will be years if not decades before we ever found out that those crazies who wanted to start fires and break windows were actually right-wing operatives. The media will treat this possibility as beyond the pale, just as they did when the CIA and FBI did it to the antiwar movement under both Johnson and Nixon, and when the FBI did it to the anti-intervention in Central America movement under Reagan.
Second, the protesters themselves are pissing me off. As I said, I support the cause--as well as the cause of free speech -- but that does not mean I want to sacrifice the well-being of Central Park for the cause. I imagine millions of New Yorkers feel the same way. They made a deal for the West Side Highway and they should stick to it. Perhaps the deal was unfair, but now they seem to be brewing a potion for pure chaos, that will rebound the Republicans' benefit and also screw up the Park.Alterman's worries about infiltration and other attempts to tarnish the protests are well founded, but his fears about political ramifications seem to be based on the media of the past. Simply put, the national media doesn't cover protests anymore, even if the protests are infiltrated and ruined by violent thugs. You can expect significant local TV coverage, but don't expect any on CNN. The sad fact is that on February 15, 2003, when the largest single day protest in the history of the world took place against the invasion of Iraq (30,000,000 people worldwide), it was the feature story on evening news programs for a few minutes that Saturday night. In the same coverage, the "counter protests" of a few hundred people received nearly equal time, and then the story was completely dropped the following Monday after Bush's quip about focus groups. The March for Women's Lives, the largest protest in DC since the pre-Telecommunications Act Million Man March, received maybe 10% the coverage of the MMM. In 1999, Seattle was a splash because it was so new to American viewers. However, since that time, many other anti-globalization protests of similar, equal, or greater size have been all but completely ignored by our national media. Because of this extremely lax media coverage of modern dissent, the protests in NYC will ultimately not affect the national political landscape of this election one iota. Outside of local news, there will simply be little or no coverage of them.
Personally, I am going to New York to send a message directly to the Republican delegates, warmongers and GOP corporate cronies themselves. They started a war, and now they feel they need a 20,000-member army to protect them in their own country from their fellow citizens. They are actually frightened to death of pacifist, geeky wimps such as myself, so I plan to fuel that fear by showing up, protesting and blogging in an attempt to counteract their spin. They do not represent us, and they do not represent New York. That is something I want to tell them personally. I will try to tell the truth about the protests and the conventions to as many people as possible, and as a group us protesters and bloggers might just be able to make a dent. However, I am not holding my breath.