Tag Archives: media

After the Pussy Riot Trial

By Denis Bochkarev

Coverage of the Pussy Riot trial has been widespread.  For those unfamiliar, the punk band/performance artists lip sank an original “punk prayer” entitled “Mother Mary, chase Putin out” from the alters of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  Police arrested three of the five performing members in the days that followed and they have been imprisoned ever since.  Their trial was nothing short of a judicial farce leaving many observers to describe the formality (and consequential sentencing) as “medieval.”  The three members on trial were found guilty of “hooliganism to incite religious hatred” and will remain in prison for an additional nineteen months.  While the sentence surprises no one familiar with the Russian judicial system, what comes next?
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Olympic Sized Protest

The Olympic Committee may stifle protest but it was alive and well in the 2012 London Games’ Opening Ceremony. See this article in Sports Illustrated for more on the statements made and the Olympic history of protest (excluding those made by the PLO in the murder of Israeli athletes in 1972). Political opinions were expressed last night in the pageantry about national healthcare, women’s suffrage, global cooperation, peace/war, internet repression & access, labor/capitalism, and more.

2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony

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The Iraq War 10 Years Later: Are Formal Coalitions Needed for Mass Mobilization?

By  Catherine Corrigall-Brown

On February 15th, 2003, millions of people from around the world took part in a series of coordinated protests against the impending war in Iraq. Although estimates of the number of participants ranged from six to thirty million, it was, without a doubt, the single largest protest event in human history to that date (BBC News 2003). Many scholars commented that the unprecedented level of successful global coordination against the war was made possible by the work of institutional leaders cooperating in large scale coalitions (Boekkooi, Klandermans, and van Stekelenburg 2011; Corrigall-Brown and Meyer 2010).  These types of coalitions seemed indispensable for this level of mobilization.  However, the recent success of the intentionally unorganized Occupy movement challenges us to reassess the necessity of formal coalitions between organizations and ask: in what contexts are formal coalitions needed for mass mobilization and how do formal organizational coalitions shape the nature of campaigns? Continue reading

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Talking to the media

Many of us who study collective action and social movements are interested in the processes through which preferred frames end up in the public sphere.  Sometimes we also play a role in this process by commenting on events as they unfold.  Often this commentary tends to be rather short – what one could call “talking heads” type of work.  An expert is needed to fill out or legitimize a story about protest.   Longer conversations get turned into a single quote from Professor X at the University of Y.  Although rewarding, this kind of work also poses a number of challenges. Newspapers tend to re-write.  Words put in quotations are not the same ones used in the actual conversation.  Sometimes questions are asked about movements or regions that are beyond one’s area of expertise.  Finally, there is the slippery slope between speaking about versus speaking on behalf of a group.  Continue reading

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PETA on The Daily Show: A Win or Loss?

OK, Daily Disruptors: I need some help with this one.

We know that most social movement organizations seek media attention, at least some of the time, for a variety of reasons. We also know that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is rather effective at using attention-grabbing (if often controversial and heavily criticized) techniques for getting media attention; they pride themselves on it. Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t avoid regularly hearing about what PETA is up to these days.

With that in mind, I’m trying to interpret this piece that appeared on The Daily Show in mid-February.

In it, Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac takes a satirical cut at PETA’s recent lawsuit filed on behalf of five of SeaWorld’s orca whales. The lawsuit declares the whales are slaves, putting SeaWorld in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery.

I would say Cenac’s report makes PETA look pretty bad. In a generous viewing, they seem… insensitive. In a critical one, they seem racist. At the very least, I can’t imagine this is what they had in mind when they agreed to do the interview.

But here’s where I get at little stuck. Even though PETA comes out of the report with egg on its face, does that mean this is a “loss” for PETA? If you were a PETA staff member, what would you have said when you watched it the first time? Or, if you were a researcher trying to code this media mention, how would you code it?

  1. “Awesome! We just got 5 full minutes of free air time for one of our issues on a super-popular TV show!” [Code: Media Win]
  2. “Oh no… we look like racists… during Black History Month… on a super-popular TV show… epic fail…” [Code: Media Loss]
  3. “[your response here]”

Thoughts?

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Occupy the Media

By Jeff Goodwin

I agree in a qualified way with the claim that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has been successful in “changing the conversation” in the United States. In fact, there seems to be a general consensus about this success among sympathetic observers of OWS, a consensus broadly reflected in the second essay dialogue recently posted by Mobilizing Ideas. It seems that liberal and left analysts may disagree about whether the movement has or can develop the capacity to change institutions or state policies, but virtually all are in agreement about the conversation-changing impact of OWS. Continue reading

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Blogging, politics and social change

Back in 2008, the New York Times published an article titled “The Year of the Political Blogger.” The article focused on the inclusion of online “partisan” bloggers into the electoral process via political conventions and meetings. The director of the Democratic National Convention Committee told the NYT that “Credentialing more bloggers opens up all sorts of new audiences.” Yet, many bloggers felt that they were, to quote, “on the low-end of the totem pole” when it came to their inclusion vis-à-vis other members of the media. Continue reading

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Social movements documentary in the works: The Activists

Following Rima’s post about Time’s Person of the Year being named The Protestor, Daily Disruption readers will be interested to know of a documentary film project in the works called The Activists: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets.  A social movements colleague and friend – Michael Heaney, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan – is heavily involved in its making.  He and filmmaker-journalist Melody Weinstein are raising money through Kickstarter to get the film to the finish line.  The Kickstarter site, which includes video previews, is here for interested eyes and potentially interested wallets.  This film is bound to be an important look into the lives and personal experiences of activists in the anti-war movement over the course of the last decade.

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Elites, Media and Framing in the Occupy Seattle Movement

In my first Mobilizing Ideas blog entry (Nov. 21), I focused on part-time or weekend activists in the Occupy movement. I noted that Occupy Seattle (OS)  moved their camp to a local community college campus from their dowtown location.  On Dec. 2, a county court ruled that camping on community college property is illegal and, in their emergency ruling, ordered the camp to be dismantled. The OS movement showcases competing elite viewpoints (elite in terms of the college community) as well as negative framing of the movement, particularly by the media, and the use of that framing in the decision by the college administration to evict Occupiers.

When it was announced that OS would set up its tents in a small square on the community college campus in late October, it seemed clear that the college, or at least many at the college, including faculty, were sympathetic and welcoming. Continue reading

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A Moment for Emotions: Anxiety

A recent set of Time Magazine covers for the December 5th issue has provoked controversy. The U.S. version features anxiety whereas the covers for Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific feature what Lauri Apple calls “news” referring to the article “The Revolution’s Second Act” in a post at Gawker. Apple comments:

Everywhere else in the world, Time‘s cover features a compelling photograph of the revolutionary goings-on in Egypt. Upon first glance, one might conclude that Time doesn’t want to plant any funny ideas about ruckus-raising in the minds of its American readership. However, the magazine just ran a cover story on America’s homegrown Occupy Wall Street revolutionary movement on October 24—with a much less eye-catching image than the Egypt photo, but still a cover. So that can’t be it.

No, it seems that Time just isn’t sure that Americans can handle so much news about other countries. And maybe you can’t! Because you’re too anxious to think about anyone else’s problems right now.

Apple’s approach to anxiety and activism is similar to those posted by G. Greenwald at The Daily What  and David Harris Gershon at The Daily Kos. Continue reading

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