Report by George Topping
Last Saturday I went on the TUC demo. I saw Sue Marsh speak but as I have trouble standing I made my way home before EM spoke – I am told I didn’t miss much. However, as I approached Park Lane there was a demo whereby DPAC protestors in wheelchairs, chained themselves, blocking Park Lane. The police had a meeting, more police turned up, had another meeting and then still more police and so on. They then spoke to protestors then had another meeting. After about 90 minutes the police started turning around the Rolls Royces and buses which was not easy task. It was wonderful to see the disabled winning. However, I expected to see the press full of it but sadly nothing.
DPAC protestors shut Park Lane, 20 October 2012
As we then walked down Oxford Street there was another mini-demonstration of young people. It was peaceful but loud as our youth are angry as they have been robbed of their futures. However, it was interesting to see that there were around a dozen police protecting Starbucks. What is even more interesting is that they pay no tax … the tax which pays for the police!
Think Left found plenty of references to the demonstration on line… most notably The Black Triangle Campaign website but no mainstream media coverage other than this short piece on 24 hour news, which was also on the Black Triangle Campaign site.
BBC News – DPAC interviewed about cuts #oct20
So why so little coverage? The usual explanation is that ‘the march was a modest success but without a broken window or dynamic photo it was always going to be ignored by most mainstream media.’
But then it becomes clear (hat tip – Black Triangle Campaign) that Russia Today filmed hundreds of protesters who broke away from the TUC rally in London on Saturday, and for two hours attempted to storm various multi-national companies on Oxford Street, in the West End central shopping district.
‘No Cuts!’ Video of UK police clashing with anti-austerity protesters
Published on Oct 20, 2012 by RussiaToday
In other words, a hugely successful protest, with wheelchairs chained together, stopping the traffic on Park Lane barely made it into the news. Rob Murthwaite’s horrifying point that 32 people a week dying after wrong ESA decisions (recent reports now put it at 73) was not taken up in his BBC interview… And a two hour demonstration for tax justice on the most famous shopping street in London was ignored by the UK’s mainstream media! Clearly, the photos were not ‘dynamic enough’!
Furthermore, it should be said that the tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets of Central London in support of the protest, organised by the TUC (Trades Union Congress) did not get very much coverage either.
This is a good example of the subtle but profound ways in which the media influence and manipulate the public’s perception of reality as described by Michael Parenti in ‘Inventing Reality – The Politics of the News Media’. Specifically, Parenti attacks the widely held belief that the news media are controlled by liberals and liberal opinion. Although, he is clearly referring to the American media, the analysis is equally applicable in the UK. Importantly, Parenti perceives the news media to be a controlling institution of the capitalist system, an institution that serves the interests of the rich and powerful while appearing to serve the many.
Hence, the October 20th protests, which certainly did not ‘serve the interests of the rich and powerful‘, received scant attention from the mainstream media… but as John Dyer says, we must ‘press on’ because ‘However much they want you to think they don’t care what you think, they do.‘