Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the world"s richest men, recently warned about the possibility of demonstrations and riots in the United States. In fact, this country has made it known that it would not countenance interference with peaceful protests occurring in places like Libya, Egypt and Syria. We supported the demonstrators in those countries and read with horror the Twitter and Facebook reports of police beatings and shootings of young protestors who said they"d had enough; they were willing to demonstrate and die for their principles and the opportunity to make democratic change.
Bloomberg"s prediction that such things might happen here needs some discussion. Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt before him, Bloomberg must know that when government permits repression and wide-scale wrongdoing, the capitalistic structure is endangered. Progressive capitalists understand full well that when kids can"t get jobs and programs like Social Security and Medicare are threatened, the whole system is put at risk. Once you deprive the middle class and the poor of their homes and their jobs, you really do risk bringing down the system. That"s one of the main reasons why FDR, another progressive capitalist, created Social Security.
Like many in this country, you may believe that some of the major banks and corporate giants have gone unpunished for their misdeeds and wrongdoing. You may believe that the richest among us are undertaxed. As I write this, congressional laws that have been enacted (Dodd-Frank) to stop the more egregious of these excesses are under attack by Republicans in Congress. They are yelling that any efforts to stop wrongdoing are â€œjob killers.
To put it mildly, a lot of young people who can"t find jobs have had it. They are beginning to take to the streets. The same thing is happening in Israel, where young people in the same middle-class demographic are protesting. You almost never see these protests in the United States's when you do, they are either ignored or minimized by the major news organizations that are owned by our modern press barons.
In recent times, we have witnessed a burgeoning new journalism. Now, anyone with an iPhone can be as significant a journalist as one working for a traditional newspaper or broadcaster. Naturally, some of the old-style journalists insist that they alone are the journalists's that a protestor with an iPhone who posts on Twitter or Facebook is something else. That"s nonsense.
The concept of who a journalist is has changed completely because of emerging technology. The idea that you are only a journalist if you work for Rupert Murdoch and his handpicked right wing reportorial staff, toeing the company line, is absurd. I recently saw a piece in the New York Times (another group of progressive capitalists) that referenced some video taken by young protestors at a Wall Street rally. To put it mildly, the stuff was chilling. A kid asks an officer a question and is thrown on the ground. Other kids are left bleeding, constrained by handcuffs so tight that one young protestor"s hand changes color.
Under the old rules of journalism, a newspaper might say, â€œThere were several arrests made. When you see kids beaten and crying, you get a very different impression. That is not to say there won"t be some who see it and say, â€œGood, they deserve it. Most will not. And no matter what, it is very different than reading about it in the morning papers.
The paper becomes a prism, while YouTube lets you see it all in real time. The smart papers are referencing the videos. If Bloomberg turns out to be right, we"ll be seeing some serious disturbances and a lot more new citizen journalism.
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