Corporate Media's Endless Validations of its Own Limitations

Posted by Scott - October 17, 2011 (entry 679)

Once the Occupy Wall Street protests belatedly broke through key mainstream media barriers, a collective sigh of relief could be heard. Unfortunately, many barriers to adequate telling of the necessary OWS story remain, buried deeply within the professional norms and behaviours that are learned and practiced - sometimes unknowingly - throughout corporate journalism.

To be fair, one recent NPR report intelligently focuses on OWS's international aspects, another, though, significantly, not broadcast, on the ways impactful social change movements work.

But often overlooked yet ingrained within public media's coverage of OWS are found corporate professional journalism's endless validations of its own limitations.

We all have read, heard, and seen corporate media reports that scold the OWS protesters about their lack of clearly identified goals and lists of demands ad infinitum. In response, one viewer writes to the PBS ombudsman concerning NewsHour:

"I sure hope you aren't paying those "reporters" anything, since they seemed incapable of even suspecting the demonstrations have anything to do with Wall Street or our financial industry and its impact on the lives of most Americans." -- Bob Walker, Bowling Green, OH

Here, New York based NPR media correspondant David Folkenflik attempts to validate NPR's limitations:

"Lacking easy labels, Occupy Wall Street proved difficult for the media to categorize and therefore to cover."

This professional need to validate public radio's limitations is also behind Chicago Public Radio web site content honcho Justin Kaufmann's coverup of the holes and distortions in public radio's coverage.

Kaufmann again felt the need to excuse public radio's - and professional journalism's - limitations when he patronizingly attempted to take one complainer to the woodshed here: "Yeah, you pegged us. WBEZ is usually just a mouthpiece for richer Chicagoans. Get off your horse and stop being so selfish."

Certainly WBEZ - through its "enhanced underwriting", well-heeled board of trustees, as well as the professional norms and standards of its journalism - is never a mouthpiece for the 1%. Uh-huh.

In pictures: Worldwide protests over economic crisis. (BBC News)

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the individual members of Chicago Media Action who authored them, and not necessarily those of the entire membership of Chicago Media Action, nor of Chicago Media Action as an organization.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.