I decided to write my second reflection on the topic of Occupy Wall Street because in government class we discussed how powerful and corrupt the government can become, and Occupy Wall Street aims to correct this corruption. Occupy Wall Street is a widely renowned subject, but somehow sustains its mysterious edge. Not many people know what they are protesting and why it is such a huge deal. The protestors call themselves “a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions” (http://occupywallst.org/). They are using the “revolutionary Arab Spring tactic” which refers to when protestors gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. The protestors on Wall Street are mimicking their strikes, marches, and rallies that brought tremendous awareness to their cause.
In doing so, they have received many violent responses from police attempting to keep the protestors under control. Protestors have said things like “the police presence is nonstop” and “there have been some very scary encounters with them” (http://www.thenation.com/article/163719/occupy-wall-street-faq). One of these incidents included “the spectacle of police beating and brutalizing unarmed civilians for the crime of sitting on the pavement and demanding a fairer world” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/occupy-wall-street-police-violence).
Protestors agree that the police bringing these violent attacks only make “the police or government look…weak and cowardly” because they “have tended only to increase public support for civil disobedience”. Sheneberger says that these attacks are the point of the violent resistance because “it exposes the corruption of the power that’s resisting you”. This is an extremely powerful quote because when reading the initial story of police brutality, I only saw how horrible it all was instead of realizing what the protestors were trying to show us which was that the police need to do this in order to gain control of the protestors. The fact that it is such a dire need for the police to get control of civilians that are simply “sitting on the pavement” exposes their need to suppress the knowledge that the protestors are expecting the government themselves to reveal. The protestors are making an attempt at reverse psychology by getting the police to reveal themselves as the ones that are hiding something. The police revealed this when desperately pepper-spraying and beating civilians with batons. Alain Sherter puts it into a sentence, “For those who work around Wall Street, mobs are no doubt an inconvenience. But such annoyances are peanuts compared with the economic and political problems this movement has thrust into view. And that you can’t knock out with a billy club” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57326876/in-day-of-protests-occupy-wall-street-faces-police-violence/).
Studying campaign commercials this trimester really peaked my interest. In a world where technology rules, media is extremely important. For an election, media is even more important because it can make a candidate look great or make their supporters doubt whether they still intend on being a supporter. Campaign commercials and other types of media have always been crucial within the election, but in recent years, since technology has become more relevant, these commercials have gained so much power that they could potentially make or break a candidate’s career. In the 2012 election, vital candidates such as Obama, Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich have used the power in the media to bring themselves up while tearing their opponents down. This, in theory, seems be fine, it’s a competition after all, but the way that some candidates do this is by manipulation. Candidates can manipulate in many ways, but, ultimately, there are two ways of manipulating in the media: twisting around and placing opponents’ words into different context and omission.
The first way of manipulation in the media is twisting around the words of opponents and placing them into different context. Basically, candidates will take a piece of what an opponent said and use it to their advantage. An example of this is Mitt Romney twisting around the words of Barack Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose”. Romney is attempting to manipulate the citizens of New Hampshire by saying that Obama was “trying to distract us from what matters” (http://adage.com/article/campaign-trail/mitt-romney-ad-twists-obama-s-words-works/231147/). Later, it was discovered that Obama was actually quoting John McCain. Romney took this quote completely out of context because the actual quote by Obama was, “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose’”. The problem with this, besides the obvious twisting of words, is that the public is not going to go look back on each quote by each candidate, they are just going to hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe. Romney’s manipulation here may have actually played a part in helping him become the front-runner of the Republican Party.
An example of omitting the complete truth is Rick Santorum’s campaign commercial that seems to be about Obama and his faults but ends up being about Romney and his. The narrator says that Romney’s “big government-mandating health care included $50 abortions”. This is referring to the state health care law signed by Romney. It said nothing about abortion when he signed it. Later the Commonwealth Connector was forced, by a Supreme Court ruling in 1981 that “women eligible for Medicaid had a state constitutional right to payments for medically necessary abortions” (http://factcheck.org/2012/04/deja-vu-the-latest-attacks-from-santorum/). Again in 1997, the state high court ruled that Massachusetts “must cover medically necessary abortions if it covers other medically necessary care, such as childbirth”. Later, the ad claims that Romney “supported radical environmental job-killing cap and trade”. Many years ago, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he had the idea of a regional cap-and-trade system for the Northeast, but then decided to drop the idea completely. Romney clears up the situation by saying that he does not believe in the cap-and-trade program, that it doesn’t make sense for Americans to “spend trillions of dollars to somehow stop global warming”. He said that Americans will lose jobs and that it just wouldn’t be successful because “energy intensive” industries will “just get up and go somewhere else”. But, again, this manipulation in the media completely threw everyone into frenzy, causing them to look away from one candidate and into the dirty little secrets of others.
The easy-access to media has completely changed all presidential campaigns. Because of this easy-access, candidates have been forced to take media and tend it to their needs. Candidates have been forced to use the media in any and all ways that help their campaign. To do this, some candidates turn to the positives aspects of themselves, but, more often than not, candidates use the media to show a negative side to their opponents, and when there isn’t a negative side, or they cant find it; they will turn to lying as a way to make sure that there is a negative aspect. They know it will be seen as negative because they, basically, created it themselves by molding it and warping the truth to look and sound the way that they want it to.
Wondering how much of what you hear is true? Check out factcheck.org!