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We are the 99 percent

Why We Need Free Media

Posted 12 years ago on April 11, 2012, 11:51 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Free and independent journalism is under attack. From violent police suppression to corporate media censorship, the need to create and defend movement-based journalism has never been greater - especially as we prepare for May Day and beyond -- see below for a list of Occupy media.

Last weekend, Minneapolis police charged a peaceful march, beating protesters and arresting a dozen people. As described by Occupy Minneapolis:

Videos show officers pulling several people off public sidewalks, slamming one violently into the street and deliberately censoring the mainstream and independent press. [...] We had hoped to reestablish an occupation to bring attention to social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the foreclosure crisis, but instead were met with a crackdown by the Minneapolis Police Department.

During the assault, police were caught on video violently arresting a journalist:

In a rare admission, Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy Dolan conceded on record that an officer had ¨unnecessarily interfered¨ with a KSTP news cameraman. Occupy Minnesota further describes the attack on the journalist:

Minneapolis Police Officers had grabbed onto the camera of a local reporter from KSTP. The reporter himself claims that he was assaulted. They threw his camera onto the ground and kicked it despite the fact that he had vocalized that he was with KSTP. The camera itself was ruined and his footage could not be salvaged.

Undeterred, Minneapolis Occupiers plan to re-occupy again this Saturday. But this incident is only the latest in a string of targeted attacks on journalists covering the Occupy movement. Police intimidation and violence toward journalists has been routine since the earliest days of Liberty Square. The NYPD is perhaps most notorious for censoring media and brutalizing journalists, as captured here in one of many recorded incidents of NYPD violating media freedom:

The problem is not limited to New York or any city; it is as endemic as it is unaddressed. When Oakland police casually shot a videographer with a less-lethal firearm at point-blank range last year, no significant disciplinary action was taken.

Individual police officers may be sympathetic 99%ers, but the police as an institution nonetheless uphold inequality by defending the abuses and wealth of the 1%. Similarly, those working within the mainstream media are not our enemies, but the mainstream media is no more a free press than mainstream politics is true democracy. Like politicians, corporate-financed media is controlled by moneyed interests. At the highest levels of decision-making, the mainstream media is beholden to corporate funders whose financial interests are aligned with the 1%. Objective journalism is a myth. The people who control what is printed and discussed in the media care about the same thing as Wall Street bankers: profit. As such, they are inclined to discredit and ignore any challenge to the status quo - especially the Occupy movement.

In response to the need for real coverage of our movement, independent journalists have worked tirelessly to document Occupy since the beginning. OccupyWallSt.org was one of the first movement-based sources of information to arise even before the Occupation of Liberty Square. Thanks to our horizontal, participatory structure, we are now just one of many - more than we could count. Dozens of other media sources have arisen since, across virtually every type of media from print magazines to Tumblr. While the mainstream media may claim that our movement in waning, the truth is that there far too much happening across the country and the world for one website to cover - even one focused on the Occupy movement like ours. We not only encourage people to read movement-based journalism, we also encourage anyone who is interested to get involved with existing projects, donate resources, or start making your own!

In addition to the main websites of General Assemblies, Occupy-related projects, and countless working group Twitter accounts and other social media, here is a brief list highlighting some of the active media projects and excellent sources of information around #OWS.



Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by jimevanhoe1 (55) 12 years ago

Thanks to Occupy we do have a voice and believe me they are listening.

These are the Facts:...how....corporate....media....gained....greater....control and limited Our Constitutional Freedoms through the Press, Radio and Television..........this is how they, GW Bush and his Cronies did it.

Two Things Happened, Fact: When GW Bush was in office those 8 years, Colin Powell's Son, Michael Powell (politician) -see: Wikipedia, .wikipedia.org/wiki/MichaelPowell(politician) was the 24th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, FCC. While Chairman, Michael Powell consolidated communications markets into few hands, even though he had just completed a National Tour of Town Hall Meetings where by he learned in every meeting across America "We the People" wanted the media corporations broken up and limited to how many TV, Radio and Newspapers one corporation could own.

But then 2 Huge Distractions took place which drew the Nation's attention away from the FCC breaking up these Monopolies.

Can Anyone Remember what the 2 distractions were?

  1. was the Howard Stern Radio Show and the other
  2. When Justin Timber Lake took off Janet Jackson's top whether by accident or other wise......

The Switch was ON......In stepped the FCC and Michael Powell........ > Powell now had the needed Major Distraction< Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy - Wikipedia, the free ... en.wikipedia.org/.../Super_Bowl_XXXVIII_halftime_show_controve...Justin Timberlake after tearing off part of Janet Jackson's clothes during their ... The increased regulation of broadcasting raised concerns regarding censorship ...the Howard Stern Radio Show.. The FCC fined Clear Channel over allegedly indecent content in the Bubba the ...

This is a Huge Fact: but in fact the fine paid by Clear Channel was in reality the 3rd "distraction", and Congress shortly after the distractions allowed greater Corporate Control......We Lost!

Please everyone Remember! Colin Powell lied to the UN about Weapons of Mass Destruction and Mobile Chemical Lab Trucks in Iraq...that War killed an estimated one million individuals, men, women and children, and thousands of US Soldiers...........and at the same time his Son Michael Powell stole the Freedom from 300 million Citizens of the United States of America... Powell stole Our Freedom of the Press.

Question? Are both Powell's Traitors to the American Democracy, did they both destroy The "T" value to Our Democracy.....the TRUTH by which we can factually go to war and kill others, and the TRUTH in what we are told by Our government and corporate media...........

Our Freedoms are deliberately being destroyed by the Bush Family and their Cronies. Less We All Forget they do this to further create a Society Lead by Chaos, Wars and their Monopolies!

Do your research on Who Controls Our Freedoms!

James P. Evanhoe

[-] 2 points by staui (2) 12 years ago

The powers that be always use propaganda to divide the people. I saw it on tv, twitter, this forum, etc. I am immune from it, it just makes me laugh to see how stupid they look to try to spread hatred everywhere.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 12 years ago

In the first flim, a protester shoots out"this is what the police look like" he got that wrong, this is what the King's guard looks like

[-] 2 points by EeshaWilliams (6) 12 years ago

Another good source of Occupy news is www.ValleyPost.org

Info about a book on how to write this kind of journalism is at:


[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

This is awesome, much needed, but I think more is needed. Occupy should report on itself (and that's absolutely important), but I also think something that does in depth reporting is important. How did our country arrive in this place? Why is the labor movement important (and some historical perspective)? What does participatory democracy mean exactly? I mean, most of us here can answer these questions, but in depth reporting goes to places like CUNY (and other universities), interviews economics professors, sociologists, political theorists, historians, and generates in depth, really informative articles.

Anecdotal real people/human interest stories are important, but are only a part of the whole picture. To understand how political corruption works, we'd want to speak to people like Abramoff (just as one example). Bill Moyers (of PBS) did an excellent piece about the repeal of Glass Steagall, and we should be generating similar work.

But anyway, hopefully this is the start of something brilliant.

[-] 1 points by sadierebelle (43) 12 years ago

We´re actually working on incorporating more analysis on this site and several of your ideas are already in the works, so check back soon. :)

[-] 2 points by satefan (9) 12 years ago

Corporate media are corporations themselves. As such, they typically present perspectives and opinions according to their interests. Advertising from other corporations solidifies the perspective. Many people have recently come to understand that and that is important. Activism and community based journalism is also very important. There are also other media however, such as Democracy Now which is largely viewer funded and has no advertising (and is to my knowledge by far the best news program in the US). Internationally there are RT and Al Jazeera (in English).

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Why We Need Free Media - people you may want to review this post for access to printable resources ( existing or to suggest new items ).


[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 11 years ago

I have been compiling a list of many more media outlets including OWS outlets that may not have been covered here if anyone is interested.


This has been accompanied by my own explanation why we need more diverse media outlets.


[-] 1 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 12 years ago

Nothing in life is free.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 12 years ago

This is one of the biggest issues we face.

How do we get through the wall of corporate media?

The wall is and the wall is thick.

How do we once again gain the eyes and ears of a propaganda stunned public?

[-] 1 points by samplocracy (26) 12 years ago

well, i've just launched a new podcast to defeat the corporate domination! Hows about that?


[-] 1 points by littlebiggygirl (26) from Hesperia, CA 12 years ago

Our forebears rebelled over fewer insults than we must bear today. www.taxkilla.org

[-] 1 points by romargnome (1) 12 years ago

As an actual independent journalist who reads this site often and learns from it, I'm afraid I have to take issue with your suggestion that OWS.org or any of the sites you list at the end of the article count as "independent" or free media. They are propaganda sites for the Occupy movement. That's not a bad thing to be. Every movement needs propaganda, and good propaganda contains truth and facts and analysis, just like other kinds of journalism. But please don't try to persuade people that you're doing independent journalism here. While corporate media coverage of OWS has been atrocious, and none worse than the supposedly liberal New York Times, Occupy cannot free its own media to cover itself honestly. Independent journalists and even corporate journalists at Mother Jones, n+1 magazine, the New York Daily News, the Guardian, and elsewhere have done excellent writing about OWS, aided, no doubt, by sources and extensive documentation provided by sites like this one. Again, however, journalism of OWS by OWS and for OWS cannot really be considered "independent" in the way most journalists understand the term.

[-] 5 points by sadierebelle (43) 12 years ago

I´m one of the authors of the post. Thank you for your critique. What we mean is that we are independent of corporate or state interests. And just because the form of media we create does not fit the hegemonic definition of journalism (as defined by the mainstream) does not mean we are not journalists. Therefore, we are independent journalists -- even if not in the traditional sense to which you refer. If you prefer, feel free to call us independent propagandists. It probably is more accurate. :)

[-] 3 points by huevosrancheros (21) 12 years ago

This is an excellent reply to romargnome. His/her definition of "independent journalism" seems to be veering off into precisely what we in the movement fight to avoid: communicating in the name of something other than the interests of the 99%. As you suggest "independent propagandists" or "propagandists for the movement" seem to fit just right for the revolutionary situation we want to create.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 12 years ago

thank you for doing the work you do


[-] 2 points by Rebdem (71) 12 years ago

good post

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 12 years ago

Here though, I am independent, I have been speaking to these concerns for thirty years abd I provide insight that is not available ANY where else, I don't know what you call it, I just call it truth.

[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 12 years ago

Any coverage is better than no coverage. Remember the protester-coverage from the Orange Revolution to Arab Spring informed the world. What REAL journalist does not recognize this?





[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 12 years ago

There is no such thing as free and independent journalism; it's a business. Try posting a comment to a Huffington Post article, for example, and the site asks for your FB account and then asks permission to access your personal information - they're market phishing; it's really despicable.

[-] 0 points by Rascus (30) 12 years ago

Been following this movement from the start....what I really would like to know is what has been really accomplished....what changes have been made that actually have any meaning and who are the ones making the decisions,,,,even though i know its supposed to be a leaderless movement I find that hard to accept. Sure maybe some people have been woken up to the fact that many problems exist....but I really want to know what changes have been accomplished? That was a great speech Maddie....however what people of the 1% are scared? Sure they don't want the attention drawn to themselves and the master plan but I'm certain they have some plan as to how they will deal with OWS....I see bloodshed coming but will it be for naught or be making a difference? I certainly would hope that along with that speech there exists a real plan other than the chaos and bloodshed I foresee.....I truly hope a difference is made in all the chaos!

[-] 4 points by satefan (9) 12 years ago

Changes take time, but occupy has accomplished quite a lot already. The pipleline project (XL something?) was brought to a pause, to take a concrete example. A defensive victory, but nonetheless a victory. More importantly though I think is that many people have started to think about the society critically and creatively - and doing it with others. That's not only overcoming loneliness and alienation, it's learning. Communities have been created and people are getting involved. All that is overcoming big problems in the society. I think it's valuable not only to think big, but also acknowledge "small" victories and progress.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 12 years ago

Where do you see this violence coming from?


[-] -1 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 12 years ago

Keep the cameras rolling. Carry more flags. Get images of police attacking Americans with American flags.

Know this, the harder they push back, the more effective OWS is. The onslaught of Bull Shit artists trolling and sliming the Forum, the crappy MSM coverage, the militarized police. OWS is scaring the shit out of the Power Elite. They have invested heavily since the protests of the early 70s to make sure those never happened again, but OWS happened anyway. They won't take this lying down.

Also know this, once OWS achieves popular support the overt push back will end. Don't let MSM portray OWS as a Woodstock reenactment. Look sharp, be on message, loud and clear signs, banners and flags. Be camera ready. Be proud and peaceful Americans!! Win America, Win the Cause!!!

Get Out the VOTE!!