US Journalism’s Lack of Focus on Wall Street

By Pedja Urosevic

, by Media Diversity Institute

They’ve been ‘occupying’ Wall Street for almost a month, but people looking for information on what it’s all about are forced to go offshore for television journalism that will explain it to them. Mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest in the United States has been lamentable. As Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show put it; the American news media "moved its coverage dial from ’blackout’ to ’circus.’ But those are the only two settings it has."

And he seems to be right, proving that even in the ‘land of the free’ there is still much to do in the push for democracy, equality and social mobility.

Fox News has sneered at the protest as “all that hippie nonsense”, but what’s happening in New York has caught the imagination of other news channels, particularly the international networks such as Al Jazeera and Russia Today.

Both outlets have their own reasons for extensive coverage of protests in the US, but they have also filled a gap left by American journalists whose coverage has been minimal and often dismissive without any serious reflection on street protests that have spread quickly to other urban centres in the US and abroad.

Jon Stewart’s caustic comment on the performance of American media and their coverageoccupy3 resonates around the world, even in Russia.

Given Russian experience of state propaganda that goes back almost over a century, their view as observers without a reason for spin of their own is relevant. This is how Russia Today sees American mainstream coverage of the Wall Street protest:

“Step 1 – Ignore. Step 2 – Ridicule. Step 3 – Undermine. That’s the approach some media outlets seem to have been taking when it comes to Occupy Wall Street”.

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