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What does Occupy have to do with Nontheism?

Dear Fellow Atheists, Secular Humanists, Freethinkers and other Nontheists,

Why is it that we don’t see many Christian fundamentalists or Tea Partiers taking part in Occupy? Because of an alliance that began in the 70s. Back then, corporations wanted more of a voice and religious Americans needed more cash. The result was the “Moral Majority.” This 40-year alliance explains why religious right wingers, who claim to be moral and pro-family, vote with Tea Partiers against help for families and the working class – after all, we can’t afford all that and letting corporations off the hook in paying taxes.

Luckily the number of fed-up people has grown about as fast as a CEO’s annual bonus and we now have the power to cut the corporate influence that has infested our politics. Since six mega-corporations now control much of our prime time news flow (see Who Owns the Media?), mainstream media hasn’t been covering Occupy too accurately, to put it nicely.

And it’s not just FOX. The rest of corporate media minimizes the message by focusing on clashes, using words like “terrorism” and the “destruction and violence” that supposedly accompany “anticapitalist demonstrations.” With the Oakland fiasco, the networks covered the police brutality but played down the message. That night ABC first treated us to a story about Bernie Madoff’s wife. Only after did they show footage of tear gas flashing through a rose-colored fog, a symphony of yells, shouts, cries and screams in accompaniment. ABC punctuated its coverage by citing an unidentified poll showing the Movement’s “unpopularity.” A fact check, however, revealed the opposite – a thumbs up from the masses. The next day they completely ignored a meeting protesters had with Tea Party kingpin, John Boehner.

Other ways the anti-corporate message is diminished is by lowballing. Many local news channels claimed NYC had only a 1,500-2,000 protesters, while non-corporate news sources gave figures of over 20,000.

Local coverage mimics national coverage in painting this movement in unpalatable terms, utilizing words like “chaotic,” “anarchistic” and having “no common purpose.” I don’t know where the news crew was, but in the protest I took part in all one had to do is glance at the sea of signs to notice that the message was getting corporations to pay their share of taxes and take responsibility for the environment.

Then there’s unabashed neglect. A FAIR report noted that during the initial protests, only CNN briefly mentioned it. On his TV show (9/21/11), Keith Olberman said: “So five days … protesting corporate control of the economy, and you haven’t heard a word about it on the news?” He later remarked, “If that’s a Tea Party protest in front of Wall Street … it’s the lead story on every network newscast.”

Moral: Conservatives calling the media liberal is like Madoff calling his investors savvy. To get the whole story on the corporate social responsibility movement, supplement your news with independent news like AlterNettruthoutOpEdNewsNPRor foreign news. Progressive non-corporate sources will also help you keep an eye on the Religious Right Wing and the Tea Partiers, or try People for the American Wayand the Center for Inquiry. For info on how your senators voted with respect to secular values, see the Secular Coalition’s Secular Scorecard.

Keep on protestin’

Emily Paine

References:
FAIR Activism Update: Some Breaks in the Blackout of Wall Street Protests
Whitewashing the Blackout of Occupy Wall Street
What if the Tea Party Occupied Wall Street? Corporate media skip anti-corporate protests
4 Polls That Show Occupy Wall Street is Just Getting Started
CNN’s Factcheck Failure on Occupy Wall Street
The above letter was sent to me by email and posted here with permission from Emily.