Dave , Estuary Stirrings
Having been an activist in one form or another since the late 1970s, I’ve lost count of the number of protests I’ve been on that have received scant or dismissive media coverage. Up until the end of the 1990s before the Internet started to enter our lives and our activism, extensive coverage of a protest would only happen if the mainstream media decided it was important enough to cover.
Back in the day, despite all of the effort that was put into mobilising for a demonstration, if the mainstream media decided – or was persuaded – to ignore, downplay or misrepresent what happened on the day, it felt like it was all for nothing. Back in the analogue, pre-digital past, mobilising for a protest would involve fly-posting, leafleting, street meetings, meetings in venues, telephone trees and good old fashioned word of mouth. It was an intensive process that took a lot out of people so even if the actual protest went well and we all came home buzzing, if the media didn’t cover what happened, it was back down to earth with a bump the next day.
Sure some protests did get acres of coverage, most notably the Poll Tax one in London on March 31st 1990 that after blatant police provocation, exploded into a riot. The mainstream media couldn’t really ignore the explosion of class anger that took place that day because it was happening right on their doorsteps! Then again, the protests against the Iraq War in 2003 got a lot of media coverage but were, unsurprisingly, totally ignored by a Blair government that was dead set on going to war
The arrival of the Internet changed how we mobilised for protests, albeit at a cost of a lot of painful lessons in online security. Lessons that some activists have still yet to learn but that’s another article for another day. What has to be noted is that the anti-lockdown/anti-great reset movement has managed in just a year to learn a lot about mobilising for protests and staying a few steps ahead of the plod. The mobilisation of numbers in the hundreds of thousands on the streets of London on Saturday April 24th has a lot of lessons in how to do it while not over-relying on mainstream social media channels.
What the arrival of the Internet has also seen is the rise of the citizen journalist. The huge protest that took place in London was largely ignored or downplayed and misrepresented by the BBC and other mainstream media outlets. Given that adopting a lockdown sceptic/anti-great reset position is enough to get us tarred as social outcasts by those peddling the narratives being used to justify further restrictions on our freedoms, the media stance towards what happened on Saturday 24th April doesn’t really come as much of a surprise.
While for work reasons, I was unable to make it into London for the protest, once I’d hit the deadlines I had to, I took the time to follow the proceedings online. Obviously, the mainstream media were either ignoring or downplaying and misrepresenting the protest. It didn’t matter because there was plenty of coverage online – I was following the sources I’ve learnt to trust over the last year. Before the Internet became corporatised, this was the maxim of some of the early pioneers: ‘the Internet sees censorship as damage and will find a route around it’.
Citizen journalism has arrived and the Internet has played a massive part in bringing that about. Despite the efforts by the mainstream media to suppress reporting of what happened in London on Saturday 24th April, the truth got out. Hopefully, that will also be the case on the next major anti-lockdown/anti-great reset protest. However, can we always rely on the social media channels we use to get the word out? The short answer to that is no we can’t.
We use Facebook and Twitter to promote anything that comes under the South Essex Radical Media banner. Twitter is by far and away where we currently get the most exposure and followers. However, having watched the response of Twitter to those who are anti-lockdown/anti-great reset, we’ve noticed an increasing number of temporary and increasingly permanent suspensions and bans being dished out. So far, we’ve managed to escape that. That’s most likely down to the fact that we do apply a certain amount of self censorship that so far, has kept us under the radar. We hate having to do this but take the attitude that surviving and getting part of the message out is better than being permanently booted off and unable to say anything.
With the way things are going, we know we can’t rely for much longer on mainstream social media channels such as Twitter. That’s not conspiracy theory – just a hard headed assessment of where we are and an idea of what’s coming down the line towards us. Suffice to say, we’re looking for alternatives and working out how we brand and present ourselves on whatever channels we may end up on.
Are the mainstream media aware of this and would that explain why they’re carrying on with their suppression of reporting of the anti-lockdown/anti-great reset movement? Is it because they think that eventually, they’ll be able to get away with it as there will be no channels left where the narrative they’re pushing can be challenged? You can’t blame people for thinking this could well be the case.
Is what’s happening with mainstream media suppression of reporting on the anti-lockdown/anti-great reset movement just a continuation of the same old, same old, or does it represent something new and pretty sinister? I’ve been around long enough as an activist to sense this is a new and very disturbing development. Proper journalism should revolve around accurately reporting what happens in the world. After that, the commentators are entitled to say what the heck they like. If they wish to denigrate the anti-lockdown/anti-great reset movement, so be it. Because if the protests had been accurately reported, then people would have the information at hand to form their own opinions and decide if the commentators have a point or have got it wrong.
As it is, we have a situation where pretty much all of the mainstream media can get away with failing to accurately report what actually happened and, when they see their failure being picked up on channels such as Twitter, turn round and trash any alternative perspectives. We seem to have moved to a point where too many people think it’s okay for this to happen and don’t question it. With regard to the current situation, we would encourage you to undertake your own research into why too much of the mainstream media seems to have forgotten what proper journalism is, and are happy to act as mere stenographers for government and the big corporations. Looking at ownership and funding patterns can be a very revealing exercise:)
The level of suppression and manipulation of the truth we’re seeing in relation to the anti-lockdown/anti-great reset movement is deeply worrying. I’ve been around as an activist for a good few decades and thought I was unshockable but this is reaching a new level. A level that suggests this is about a heck of a lot more than merely dealing with a virus. We have got a long and hard fight in front of us. One that if we don’t prevail, we won’t have a future worth living in. Instead, we’ll have an unfree, technocratic dystopia to endure.
The mainstream media need to be left in absolutely no doubt as to how a growing number of people feel after a year of lockdowns, tiered restrictions and our lives being severely restricted by the sledgehammer to a nut approach to dealing with coronavirus. They need to understand that we’ve had enough of the constant barrage of fear narrative we’ve been subjected to for the last year in place of the honest, objective reporting we have a right to. Here’s a suggestion… The next time there’s a major anti-lockdown/anti-great reset protest in London, let’s have a route that takes in the locations of the mainstream media operations. In other words, get in their faces so they can’t ignore us any longer…