© Josh Sager – April 2016
If you only rely on the mainstream/corporate media for your news, the term “Democracy Spring” may not mean much to you. This is because most of the media has refused to cover the movement that is currently protesting legalized corruption in the capital, engaging in large-scale civil disobedience.
Ten days ago, thousands of protesters began a 140 mile march, from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., in order to raise awareness of legalized corruption in Washington and demand reform. On Monday, this march ended in D.C., where approximately 600 protesters performed a sit-in on the Capital steps. This was an entirely non-violent protest and approximately 400 activists were peacefully arrested by the D.C. police for refusing to disperse.
The ideology of these protests is simple, broad-base, and non-partisan: they want to remove the influence of money from our political system and protect the voting rights of all Americans. While the activists may have dramatically different views on taxation, social issues, foreign policy, and regulation, they are united in the idea that our political system should be controlled through democracy, rather than oligarchy.
No corporate media outlet in the United States (e.g. CNN, NBC, Fox, etc.) has covered this story in depth and many have completely neglected to mention it. The best reporting of this story has come from foreign media outlets like RT America and independent media sources like Alternet.org and Vice News. Additionally, some ideologically based internet media outlets have also covered this story, including the right wing Townhall and the left wing Common Dreams.
The reasons for this corporate media blackout are two-fold:
First, corporate media outlets are part of the establishment and have a vested interest in preserving the current status quo. The mainstream media is controlled by 6 corporations which benefit from the very corruption that these protests seek to eliminate—they use tax shelters to avoid corporate taxes, pay huge salaries to executives, and are part of the revolving door between politics and big-money (e.g. politicians are hired as “analysts” by the media and the reporters are hired as PR flaks by political campaigns).
Second, the corporate media is the primary beneficiary of money in politics. A huge percentage (approximately 80%) of the corporate and big-money donations that have corrupted the American political system are funneled to media outlets in the form of advertising payments. Estimates from NPR predict that the 2016 political races will result in $4.4. billion being spent on television advertisements by political campaigns.
Because Super-PACs are not considered part of a political campaign, they do not benefit from mandated discounts on advertising space. This means that corporate media outlets can charge above-market rates for these political ads and PACs will still pay to be put on air (billionaire backing gives certain PACs a virtually unlimited bankroll).
A third prong of this advertising revenue problem comes in the form of corporate advertising revenue. Companies like Boing and BP run ads on corporate media outlets to appeal to the political class and to purchase some power over media outlets (it isn’t as though they run those ads so that Americans will buy fighter jets or barrels of oil). If money were removed from politics, there would be little point in this advertising, as politicians would have no legal mechanism for accepting bribes, and they would stop running them.
In totality, if the Democracy Spring movement were to achieve its ends and create significant campaign finance reform, these corporate media outlets would lose an appreciable amount of advertising revenue and influence. As such, these media outlets have a vested interest in marginalizing the protests and making sure that as few Americans know about them as possible.
Because the corporate media cannot be trusted to report this issue accurately, it is important that you seek out alternative media sources to remain informed as to what is being done to fight corruption in Washington. Don’t just turn on CNN and expect them to cover the most important stories in the country today—they simply won’t do this, as it is in their self-interest to prop up the status quo, even if the status quo is harmful to democracy and the welfare of the American public.
I am getting so fed up with people, supported by media, who demonize protesting. I followed the tag on Twitter and was stunned that it wasn’t appearing on any news stations. Talk about a cover-up. But when both the anti-establishment right, and the anti-establishment left agree that the two-party nominating systems are unfair and take away the voice of the people in favor of corporate interests, what other means do people suggest to make their voices heard? I would hope we could give peaceful protest a chance.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – JFK
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If it is legalized, then it really isn’t corruption is it? By definition, a protest is not peaceful. The way that people make their voices heard is on election day. What I am fed up with is liberals who abuse their freedom of speech and their right to assemble and have fooled themselves into believing that they are doing the right thing. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give anyone the right to block traffic, harass innocent citizens or taunt, provoke and endanger police. The U.S. Capitol Building is owned by the taxpayers, but that does not mean that 600 activists can just go and sit down on the steps and impede tourists or federal employees access to it. I honestly believe that if marijuana was legal in all states, we would see a lot less of these activists marching or even leaving their homes at all.
We have a long tradition of liberals following the First Amendment and peacefully assembling and protesting. It irritates those in power. But the founding fathers were aware that peaceful protest was an essential right and must be protected as such. That is why it is included in the FIRST Amendment. We would have never had the Civil Rights movement without it. We would never have had the right of women to vote without it. The Vietnam War would have dragged on and on without it. It is important to keep the tradition of peaceful protest alive. If you don’t use your rights, you lose your rights.
I am proud to say that I participated in one of the most massive peaceful demonstrations in US history in 1969 to protest the Vietnam War. The entire Mall was filled with protesters from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.Men , women and children taking part in a peaceful demonstration and march. We marched peacefully on the sidewalks all the way to the White House. Nixon even admitted later that the various demonstrations had an effect on his decision to finally pull out. It worked.
I am just as proud of the 15 or so people that assembled in this small town every Saturday morning to protest the decision to go to war in Iraq. We protested BEFORE the war even started, as it was obvious to us that the war was not about
freedom, but about oil. Of course, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were determined to have their war. And they did. Boy were we right.That war led to the 2nd Great depression and the loss of US prestige around the globe. It destabilized the Middle East and led directly too the emergence of ISIS, manned by many of the old Baathist regime of Saddam. .History is a harsh teacher.
It is easy to sit behind a computer and complain about the government. It takes real commitment to go out, stand up and be counted. It is the American way!
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The founding fathers could never have predicted just how misguided and traitorous the liberals would get. Suffrage and Civil Rights still would have came to pass eventually in time. The riots didn’t actually help anything. Even Dr. Martin Luther King stated that riots were “self defeating”. By staging a protest, you immediately open the door to a counter protest no matter what side you are on. At least if you demonstrate legally by obtaining a permit and not trespassing, you are protesting with dignity. Liberals don’t actually accomplish anything by getting themselves arrested except creating chaos and inciting civil unrest and losing public support. You protested in 1969. Yet, the war still went on for another four years until August 15, 1973 when US involvement finally ended officially. I will remind you that we have the French and then the Democrats to thank for the Vietnam War and the Republicans to thank for ending it. Most of the hippies that showed up to the protests were just there for the drugs and the music and probably weren’t even listening to the speeches.
You spent your Saturdays protesting the War in Iraq. What did you accomplish? Bush still got reelected. The war in Afghanistan had already been going on for two years and didn’t end officially until 2014. We still have troops over there. You just don’t get it. The government ALWAYS gets what it wants even when you think that you have won. After two terms of Bill Clinton, the US didn’t have very much prestige left to lose and the Middle East has NEVER been stable. You would have made the world a better place if you would have spent some of that free time you wasted demonstrating by planting trees or picking up litter. Loitering with a group of trouble makers and chanting and waiving a home made sign is not work. It is a peace disturbance and is punishable by law as it should be.
The key is non-violent. The media HATES non-violent. But let one person break a window and you will get coverage 24/7.
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Some people do not understand the difference between a riot and a protest. MLK Jr encouraged and LED protest marches. Historical fact. He believed in aggressively confronting racism and militarism. If he hadn’t we would still see Jim Crow in the south. No doubt about it.
The 1969 anti-war protest was quite legal. And massive. In the best tradition of American patriotism. They demonstrated that the “people” have the power to move governments when they act in harmony.
Can’t quite figure out why anyone would oppose the first amendment right of assembly and petition? Not sure why they oppose the ideals of the founding fathers? Maybe they don’t understand the the American Revolution itself was ignited by a protest at the Boston Harbor. A protest that was done by the people and without proper authorization by the lawful authorities at the time. People who , instead of sitting in their houses complaining, were willing to put their lives on the line.
So, we have seen in modern times. As opposed to sitting behind a computer and complaining, many Americans perform their civic duty by protesting. Including those who protested the war in Iraq. Including those who went into the heart of racism with MLK, Jr and protested by marching . Standing up to the government is not easy. But it must be done when the government is wrong. That is what the Bill of Rights is all about. Taking part in the system and being willing to stand up for your beliefs. Even when it is unpopular.
It is not enough to talk the talk. You have to be willing to walk the walk.
Thank you Josh, for a clear picture of how Americans are getting screwed. Sharing on my FB page.