#MillionMaskMarch: Epic, Global — But Where Were the News Networks?
On November 5, 2013 tens of thousands of protestors marched in 477 locations around the globe. There were masks, chants, goofy signs, sincere view points, arrests, beatings, police opening up with non-lethal projectiles on protestors, flag burnings. There was lots of print/online coverage, but where were CNN, MSNBC and Fox News? And why weren’t they giving this global event any play as of November 6 at 9:54pm?
NBC News Worldwide did online coverage, ABC News posted a photo from Brazil and mentioned in the caption a global march, while CBS News had nothing. Al Jazeera America ran eight photos on their website. RT.com gave the Million Mask March a big spread on their website (Oh hai, Mr. Putin and your pals in the Kremlin!) plus posted videos on YouTube; the BBC posted three stories. CNET posted a story.
But considering the airtime the (failed) truckers’ protest got on Fox, and the amount coverage given by cable news programs–which can provide up-to-the minute, breaking news stories via affiliates–to a crack smoking Canadian mayor, Justin Bieber’s alleged brothel visit, and Google’s mystery barges, you’d think that the telegenic sight of a global protest–one set against landmarks like the White House and Buckingham Palace with cute masks and catchy slogans–would have merited 30 seconds of cable network news time. The Million Man March was happening in Europe, in Australia, in Asia, Africa, South America. It was happening here. In the US. Did you see anything on your local news channel, in your local paper?
A November 6 search of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News’ websites showed no stories about a worldwide Million Mask March protest, nor of the ones in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, or Atlanta (Though in Denver both the local ABC station and the Denver Post ran a story after the fact, focusing on arrests, and Portland, Oregon’s KATU posted a YouTube video of police beating protestors). The map of Million Mask Marchers (below) is covered in dots indicating marches and participation.
But wait: There is no live footage by the major networks. No wrapped-with-a-bow “look at what happened” video story. Oh wait, there were two CNN ireports, but those are viewer created, and Fox Latino had two stories. En español.
There were protests across America, around the globe, all themed, organized via social media and websites, and they were ignored, overlooked, avoided–pick a verb–by the major broadcast news organizations.
Twitter #MillionMaskMarch has a running thread of press coverage, and the written word and dead tree media—the Guardian, the Independent, even the gutted and limping Los Angeles Times all ran stories (though the LA Times’ sister TV station KTLA did not cover the Million Mask March in downtown Los Angeles)—came through where television stations didn’t. The Washington Post covered the protests, as did the Wall Street Journal and International Business Times, but a November 6, 2013 search of the New York Times for the terms “million mask march,” “protest” “anonymous” and “Guy Fawkes” turned up nothing about the November 5, 2013 Million Mask March, though this item from earlier this year is pretty interesting:
A decision by authorities in Bahrain to outlaw Guy Fawkes masks looks like a pretty desperate and ineffective way of crushing dissent.
And a decision by network and cable news to ignore Anonymous and its global protests is equally as desperate and ineffective.