Cable News Devotes 30 Seconds to Mass Arrests Protesting Political Corruption
13 April, 2016
THE DEMOCRACY SPRING, a protest movement calling on Congress to “end the corruption of big money in our politics” and “ensure free and fair elections,” converged on Capitol Hill on Monday, staging a nonviolent sit-in that resulted in over 400 arrests — a massive number by Washington sit-in standards.
While the action, dubbed #DemocracySpring, garnered wide coverage on social media and over 136,000 tweets, cable news programs found little time to cover the political protests, instead focusing largely on horse-race coverage of the presidential candidates for most of the day.
During daytime and afternoon news segments, CNN did not devote any coverage to the actions. MSNBC mentioned the protests for approximately 12 seconds, while Fox News mentioned the arrests and discussed the protests for about 17 seconds.
MSNBC and Fox News not only provided minimal coverage, but hosts on both networks misrepresented the protests, claiming they were narrowly focused only on “voting rights issues.” The focus on systemic political corruption, an issue that was widely criticized during the rally yesterday, was ignored
Later in the day, CNN posted a short item on its website. The protests were widely covered by CSPAN, Al Jazeera, and NPR, among other outlets. But cable news programs, which specialize in American political news, were another story.
Compare the paltry coverage to a lengthy CNN segment last May, when host Wolf Blitzer featured a correspondent reporting from the scene of a fringe anti-Muslim rally in Phoenix. Left-wing protests in particular have often been ignored by mainstream media coverage.
The parent companies of cable news networks are closely tied to the Washington establishment being challenged by protesters on Monday, both spending and receiving some of the big money the protesters are complaining about.
Comcast, parent company of MSNBC, is among the biggest spenders on political lobbying, and its senior management has raised thousands of campaign dollars for congressional Republicans and Hillary Clinton. Other broadcasting companies have lobbied in recent years against reforms that would diminish the role of big money in election campaigns largely because the bulk of campaign funds are spent on television advertisements, a major source of revenue for television programs. Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar, a media analysis firm, estimated that $4.4 billion would be spent on television ads during the election cycle this year.
Network executives have hardly been shy about celebrating the cash windfall, most notably CBS chief Les Moonves.
Before the demonstrators were arrested, the protesters discussed lack of media coverage for their cause and chanted: “Where is CNN?”
Top photo: Democracy Spring protesters calling for the end of big money in politics stage a sit-in on the Capitol steps and on the East Plaza of the Capitol on April 11, 2016.
Arrests made as hundreds of elderly Americans protest at 2nd ‘Democracy Spring’
12 April, 2016
Hundreds of Americans, many of whom are elderly, marched in support of political reform in Washington, DC, taking part in a sit-in and risking arrest as they pushed for fairer elections. RT's 'Redacted Tonight' host Lee Camp was one of those detained.
Already, multiple arrests have been made, according to reports from those on the ground near the demonstrations.
Being arrested now #DemocracySpring
According to RT's correspondents, police have started releasing some of the protesters.
The sit-in comes one day after more than 400 people were arrested for participating in what has been been termed the 'Democracy Spring' movement. The organization has planned for 10 days of demonstrations and mass sit-ins at the US capitol, with day two highlighting efforts from older Americans who want to see change.
“As ‘elders’ we have a moral imperative to care for and speak for future generations,” the Democracy Spring website reads. “We aim to use our wisdom and life experience to guide our actions, and stand together to create our legacy and reclaim our democracy.”
“Every voice is needed to speak up and say what we know is true – that a thriving and just democracy is the path towards a sustainable world for all children, for all life.”
As protesters marched on the US capitol, many elderly Americans held signs and chanted slogans such as: "Democracy is not for sale, [we're] not too old to go to jail.”
Hundreds of #DemocracySpring activists chanting "Democracy is not for sale, we'r not too old to go to jail"
“I’m not dead yet; I care deeply; I vote,” read another sign held by a demonstrator.
Sign reads: "I'm not dead yet. I care deeply. I vote." #EldersRising & risking arrest for #DemocracySpring Day 2.
Social media users have reported seeing dozens of police officers out to keep an eye on the protesters and make arrests.
Octogenarians being arrested for #DemocracySpring! If they can stand up against this corruption, we all can.
As part of its movement, Democracy Spring is pushing lawmakers to pass legislation that would boost the power of small campaign contributions, offer public funding for political candidates, and update the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in order to protect minority and lower-income voters at the polls.
The group is also calling for a constitutional amendment that would essentially overturn Supreme Court rulings giving corporations the ability to freely spend in elections. The amendment would end “the big money dominance of our elections and allows for Congress and the States to set overall limits on campaign spending, including prohibitions on corporate and union spending in the political process.”
#DemocracySpring brought chairs for Elders sit-in at the US Capitol
Additionally, Democracy Spring wants to see Congress hold hearings and vote on filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court. The group does not have a position on whether President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland should be approved, but it does want the Senate “to fulfill its constitutional duty to hold hearings so that the American people may learn more about his positions on campaign finance and voting rights and, ultimately, take an up or down vote on the nominee.”
The mainstream media has not covered the event, even ignoring protesters as they blocked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) from arriving at a press conference he had scheduled at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.
Mainstream media refuses to cover #DemocracySpring, even as protesters block Paul Ryan from his press conference
Meanwhile, in Paris...
RAW: Police pepper spray labor reform protesters in Paris
Police have clashed with the labor reform protesters in Paris. Hundreds built barricades and attempted to block police cars in the French capital. The protests started at end of March against changes proposed by the French government that could see the number of hours in a standard working week increased from 35 to 48.