Or is it all at the discretion of the media reporters and their editors?
These questions were on the mind of many people I know, with significant sense of frustration for the last 5 days. And here is the reason why.
Last Saturday, over a thousand pro-peace demonstrators (1100-1200 by my estimate) walked through the streets of University City near the Delmar loop peacefully singing, and shouting pro-Palestinian and pro-peace slogans. At least 2 dozen police cars were there, with many dozens of police officers in helmets, with their riot batons in their hands, not in the scabbards.
The demonstration was organized by several pro-peace groups (Instead of War, Women in Black, Veterans for Peace, to name some). The demonstrators were of all religions and creeds, and of all races and ethnicities. And, believe me, traffic was not fun in that area for nearly two hours in the middle of a Saturday.
In a nutshell, the demonstration was quite noticeable to many many thousands of St. Louisans, to the police, and even to many pro-Israel groups that had token representation nearby with large Israeli flags.
Why, then, was not their ANY reporting of any significance about it in our local printed media, TV or radio stations? that is a question that irks many people I know, and probably all the demonstrators, and probably many other St. Louisans that were on the street that day, and possibly were hoping to know a bit more about what was going on there and why.
I truly do not know why such an event was ignored and probably your guess is as good as mine. But some assumptions tend to surface in such a situation: that it was not worthy on coverage, that readers and viewers are tired of hearing and reading about Gaza and Israel, or that the issue has been covered ad nauseam and one more article or video clip will not add much. Finally, and as the most aggressive/sinister of all assumptions, is the one suggesting that Pro-Israel lobby have the media in a choke hold and would not like to make known that there are a lot of average Americans that may sympathize with Palestinians these days.
While one or more of these factors could be at play, I am certain their contribution to over- or under-exposure of a particular issue would vary depending on the market, readership, and the issue at hand.
The Post Dispatch for example had done reasonable coverage of the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and at least one its journalists have been under attack by pro-Israel readers of portraying local Palestinians, during a previous protest, in a human form. So I cannot accuse it of yielding to 'pro-Israel' lobby for not covering the rally. But I strongly disagree with their editors judgment that the event was not news-worthy.
Channel 4, surmised some friends, gave the rally the cold shoulder because one week before that there was a demonstration in their own front yard by pro-peace activists; so it was pay back time.
But how about Channle 2, 5 and 11. And how about KWMU, KMOX, etc. Who knows.
Yet it is intriguing to me that any event of that size on St. Louis streets would not get mentioned at all. And to have unanimous agreement among all local media to ignore such a large street event is even more intriguing.
Regardless of the political aspect of the event, blocking some section of St. Louis streets in the middle of the day on a Saturday for several hours for an event that required the presence of 2 dozen police cars and was attended by at least a thousand people should have gotten some attention from some media.
Wouldn't you think so?
- Sorry. No links available, since it received NO coverage. But one St. Louis blogger, Umar Lee, who attended the rally, posted about the event on his blog and had some pictures of the event as well here.
- If you know of any worhtwhile coverage please let me know. and if you have some good pictures of the crowd, please let me know and I will be happy to post you pictured here.
Shiela Musaji, a St. Louis Muslim Activist and writer has writtena nice article about the rally, and it is worth reading. Here is the link:
-- Protests for Gaza, St. Louis and Worldwide