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The People's Broadcast News

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Message John Sanchez Jr.
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The Occupy Wall Street movement has popularized a communications innovation called "The People's Microphone". When they were forbidden from using public address systems or electronic bull horns to amplify their voices for the communications that they needed to pass along, they used a technique by which the speaker would articulate his message one phrase at a time and those closest would shout a repetition in unison to allow the rest of the crowd to hear it. It is human communication, from modulated voice to attentive ear.

Zuccotti Park is not the only place where progressives have been denied a voice. We are marginalized in the corporate media news as well, since they have no use for the message that we express. We have heard their excuses over the past two weeks, "explaining" why they have not covered this movement. It is because they were unaware of those developments, or because there is no single message, or because there are no leaders to interview. Of course, the Tea Party Patriots are firmly committed to the no leaders form of nebulous organization, and whenever three of them come together to espouse the right wing inanities that they substitute for a philosophy, the corporate media are elbowing each other aside to get a camera in front of the action.

It seems that the Occupy movement will not have an electronic broadcast medium over which to make their arguments. That is not to say that they will not have a broadcast medium available. That medium that they do have available is commonly known as "word of mouth". It also is human communication from modulated voice to attentive ear, and you don't have to depend on the public to choose to tune it in.

Word of mouth is commonly understood to be communication between two individuals in a highly interactive atmosphere, most often taking the form of a conversation rather than simple messaging. It does not have to be restricted to that form though. It is versatile enough to be used to transmit a message to the public at large. This is accomplished by articulating the message in public settings, for instance, while waiting in a grocery store checkout line, while waiting for or riding on public transportation, sitting on a park bench, or perhaps most subversively, waiting in line for a bank teller.

It is not necessary to buttonhole every stranger you encounter to make this broadcast effective. It can be a more or less one-way communication, and so can be broadcast in the form of a conversation between two friends, articulated loudly enough for those close by to hear clearly. If they have questions, answer them gladly. If you need to have questions asked to advance the dialog, arrange to have your companion ask them rather than trust to chance. The important thing is to make it serve to combat the propaganda that is served up by the corporate media.

As with any good messaging effort, the more the message is reinforced through repetition, the more people will take it to heart. A great many of the advantages of scale and efficiency enjoyed by the corporate press can be negated with this technique, as it will rightly appear to be a good deal more authentic than their propagandistic drivel. It also has the additional advantage of tending to undermine the corporate media's veneer of credibility.

Individuals can take it upon themselves to broadcast the message that they feel is most important, or if it is seen to be more desirable to engage the public with a consistent message over large geographic areas, it is easy enough to set up a central clearing house via e-mail or social media to see to that imperative.

While on the subject of combating the corporate media, it seems relevant to ask why they, who are working against the Occupy movement, are seemingly immune from its attention. They can be called out for their infidelity to the public discourse with a minimal commitment of resources.

Some of the larger market broadcast newsrooms are located on ground floors just inside the large storefront windows of the buildings in which they reside. All it would take to call them out is an individual standing in the public space on the sidewalk outside those windows, wearing a tee shirt, boldly inscribed with the words, "Propaganda is as much what you don't say as what you do say."

Presumably, those organizations still have some stake in the protections afforded by the first amendment, and I am unaware of any law that says a person must not stop walking through a public space. Then one can ask how it is that those newsrooms remain unaware of the protest.

It is said that one should never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, and of course, the parallels extend to electronic media as well. But a well organized effort can upend those ink barrels, and they only enjoy their advantage while enough people believe them.

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I am a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs, with a several year hiatus to serve in the Navy when my Vietnam era draft notice turned up. I had been told that guys with last names like mine were among the preferred cannon fodder in the Army, so (more...)
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