Mainstream media hypocrisy? OWS vs. Moscow protests on TV
Double standards in journalism were once embarrassing. They now tend to be increasingly mainstream. Demonstrators in the US have been presented in the media largely as a margin of American society. In Russia, a sea of flags carried by truly radical nationalist groups – ignored and gone without explanation. “Here we have the news media playing up the Russian protests, and playing down American protests that are still underway,” said blogger and media critic Danny Schechter.Treating protests at home and abroad differently these days seems to be a trend.“Protesters against foreign countries, particularly countries that are political and economic rivals, to the United States – are always good. Protesters in our country who are against the American system, are usually bad. That’s the construct the media begins with,” said editorial columnist and author Ted Rall. American mainstream media channels took at least two weeks to catch up and then undermine with Occupy Wall Street protests across the US.RT has been on the ground since Day 1, showing the hundreds of arrests and tear gas use against the protesters – events largely ignored by the mainstream media.“When tear gas and lethal weapons was being used during the Arab Spring protests this was seen as an unacceptable crackdown on protesters,” said writer and journalist Sarah Seltzer.RT has also covered demonstrations in Moscow, and showed the arrests that took place in Russia.“Russian television, state television, which everyone expected to not be allowed to cover the protests, are covering the protests, showing a commitment to the story which is quite remarkable,” said Schechter.Meanwhile, others were not even committed enough to “commit” to a crew on the ground in Moscow.“Usually the skeleton crew, that they have at their Moscow bureaus, spend all their time out with each other, or at local bars – they are not out on the street,” said Ted Rall. This could lead to knowledge painfully thin on the TV screens. “Most Americans seriously could not find Russia on a map. So when you are dealing with that audience a producer is going to say, well, you know, the people are too stupid to understand that stuff anyway," said Rall. As some of the mainstream media in the US continues to pick and choose approaches to event coverage according to geographic location and potential political gain, it’s becoming increasingly visible to the naked eye that selective facts are not really facts at all.