Tuesday, November 10, 2015

SJWs And Media Coverage

     Time was, the thing dearest to the hearts of Leftist activists was the arrival of the media. They sought media coverage; they went out of their way to provoke it and to present a favorable appearance to it. Oftentimes the media was the Left’s big gun in whatever issue was supposedly at the heart of their activism.

     It seems things have changed somewhat:

     After desperately trying to gin up media coverage of student protests at the University of Missouri, one of the school’s media professors is now furiously trying to “muscle” the press off campus to prevent them from covering student protests that rapidly spiraled out of control Monday.

     Mizzou president Timothy Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday after members of the school’s 4-5 football team announced they would boycott team activities unless the school acceded to certain demands surrounding racial equality. Unsurprisingly, Wolfe’s resignation did little to quell the mob.

     On Monday afternoon, activists who had demanded Wolfe’s resignation abruptly demanded that media stop covering their activities on the public campus of the taxpayer-funded university. At the center of those demands was Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media within Mizzou’s communications department.

     [Emphasis added by FWP.]

     I can think of only one reason a “protest” would strive to expel a media presence: reportage on the event would make the activists look bad. Granted that that’s not very difficult in these days of “safe spaces” and demands for all sorts of unheard-of privileges. Still, you’d think activists would know beforehand whether what they’re planning would conduce toward favorable treatment by the media. The obvious implication of a negative answer would be to not “go public:” i.e., to use a form of activism that’s not perceptible by microphones or cameras.

     There are a lot of ways to conduct a campaign on some issue or other, including letters, email, phone calls, Web productions, and of course the noisy open-air demonstration the Left has loved for several decades. If the last of those would look bad, why not make use of one of the others?

     Why not, indeed.

     The differences between contemporary Leftist activists and those of previous years are several and significant, but one stands above the rest: In the past, it was at least superficially plausible that the backers of some Leftist Cause had a rationally defensible position. Perhaps their position could be refuted; perhaps it was founded on a bad premise, for example a misconception about rights or justice. Nevertheless, if you could grant the premises behind the Cause, you could allow, for a moment at least, that its backers had an argument to make.

     That is no longer the case. Contemporary Leftist activism is founded entirely upon envy and hatred. The rationales presented for their demands are too ridiculous, too flimsy to withstand any examination whatsoever. Moreover, that aspect of today’s Leftist activism cannot be concealed. Without the unreasoning rage that flows through the contemporary “social justice warrior’s” veins, he would have nothing. By implication, his position before those he “protests” reduces to this: “Give us what we want, or we’ll hurt you.”

     Clearly, that’s not something the Leftist rabble-rouser would want splashed across the televisions of Americans generally. His hope is to elicit sympathetic rage, not anger at his puerile presumptions or his thuggishness. Therefore, any reporter or cameraman not under his direct and unchallengeable control is unwelcome.

     Owing to the rise of the Internet and the “citizen journalist,” today’s reporters and cameramen aren’t all guaranteed to be sympathetic to the Cause. Some of them might even be – gasp! – conservatives. That cannot be allowed to pass.

     The logic is simple. Is there an equally simple countermeasure?

     In the usual case, a “demonstration” or “protest” is aimed at a specific target the activists hope to intimidate. That target could, of course, invoke media coverage on its own behalf. If there are journalists, photographers, and cameramen willing to stand beside the target and record the proceedings objectively, that can work well. However, it’s seldom tried, possibly out of inertia, possibly out of the target’s fear that the coverage will be biased against it.

     Journalists on the ground, including “citizen journalists,” who hope to cover the event must be prepared for hostility from the crowd, as we saw at the University of Missouri. But how could a reporter prepare for having a human wave force one away from the event by sheer mass? How could a photographer or cameraman prepare for a concerted attempt to obstruct his lens’s view of the goings-on? Such preparations are not easy to conceive of, much less to prepare as contingency measures.

     Well-funded media organs could arrange for coverage from above, via helicopter. That’s very difficult to obstruct. But there are matters of resource availability and resource scarcity to be addressed in such cases, and a Leftist demonstration might not rise high enough on the priority scale to get the helicopter, at least not in time for the main event. The attitude of the editors toward the Cause would factor in, as well.

     The problem is clearly not a trivial one.

     The Left is a minority in American society; the militant Left is an even smaller one. Yet their militancy faces off against a passive majority, indisposed to stir itself for active resistance. If it were not so, the Left wouldn’t get its way so often. It might not get its way at all.

     Were matters otherwise – were the majority of Americans awakened and angry about the Left’s absurd demands and its evil tactics – there would be no issue here. A small percentage of that majority energized enough to confront Leftist activism head on would solve the problem before it could metastasize. And in this regard we must credit vermin such as Melissa Click with some insight, for nothing is more likely to infuriate decent Americans sufficiently to get them out of their recliners than objective reporting on events such as the ones at the University of Missouri. What might awaken and energize the required fraction is not so clear.

     All the optimism I can summon about these trends is expressed in a brief quote from Bertrand Russell:

     Reason may be a small force, but it is constant, and works always in one direction, while the forces of unreason destroy one another in futile strife. Therefore every orgy of unreason in the end strengthens the friends of reason, and shows afresh that they are the only true friends of humanity.


Manu said...

Drones are cheap compared to helicopters. That's going to be the way to go in the future.

Brinster said...

Dystopic is correct. It's madness in Mizzou. All this happened because two black students were called n***** by a white student (name, description? No), a pickup truck with a Confederate flag drove by the campus-no name, license plate number, make of vehicle offered, and finally an apparently drunk student uttered racial epithets. There was also a feces smeared swastika on a bathroom wall. Tim Wolfe didn't respond "properly" to these outrages, so he had to go.
It's more than ironic that Mizzzou is considered rife with racism when the president of the student council is black-with a black student population of 7 percent.
Angry? Hell yes I am. This can't continue. But it will, until the fuse is finally lit.

glennwampus@gmail.com said...

As usual Ann Rand nailed it; "A movement that started with the ponderous brain cracking dialectics of Marx and Engles..ends up with a bunch of morally unwashed children stamping their feet and screaming "I want it now"...is through."


Drew said...

It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of ________ in the minds of men.

Samuel Adams

Fill in the blank....