We Are The Media

[tweet https://twitter.com/Lib_Librarian/statuses/499744254734778368 align = ‘center’]

I haven’t written much about Ferguson since my last post, mostly because I can’t believe that in 2014 we’re reliving the 1960s.

But, this is something I haven’t done in the string of nights of unrest. I haven’t once turned on our vaunted mainstream media. No CNN, no MSNBC, heavens no Fox News. I’ve relied solely on Twitter to get information.

“But LL,” someone will say, “Twitter? People writing from their parents’ basements?”

Here’s a bit of what Twitter has produced.

[tweet https://twitter.com/elonjames/status/501886693994397697 align = ‘center’]

[tweet https://twitter.com/michaelterry337/status/501880608155385856 align = ‘center’]

[tweet https://twitter.com/jbouie/status/501875552211701761 align = ‘center’]

[tweet https://twitter.com/fieldnegro/status/501862013371289600 align = ‘center’]

[tweet https://twitter.com/bobcesca_go/status/501847585561137152 align = ‘center’]

And these are just a few. People on Twitter sharing information from MSM sources. People on the ground tweeting observations. Bloggers writing explanatory pieces. A complete picture on the siege of Ferguson available just by firing up your Twitter feed and viewing sources.

The People’s View very own Allan Brauer did what no one in the MSM seemed to want to do and exposed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s reporter Christine Byers’ possible conflict in her tweets claiming that she had at least “a dozen” witnesses corroborating Officer Darren Wilson’s version of the Mike Brown killing. He’s not a paid journalist. He’s a writer on a small blog. But with a few emails and phone calls, he did what the mainstream media is supposed to do: ask hard questions, probe claims, see if the narrative holds up to skeptical inquiry. Someone unpaid, uncredentialed, doing citizen journalism. And getting a response from the reporter’s newspaper, disassociating itself from her tweets.

I’m not casting a curse on the MSM, though it often deserves it. It has resources that the Allan Brauers or the Liberal Librarians of the world don’t. But resources without vision just make for flashy graphics and breathless gossip.

Jake Tapper received accolades for his castigation of the police response to peaceful protests. On live television, he did something few mainstream reporters do: question police tactics and authority. For that he should be, even if grudgingly, commended.

But he had spent the bulk of the day reporting on the leaked portions of the coroner’s report, the part where Mike Brown was made out to be some drugged up madman intent on killing an innocent police officer. I’ve smoked pot. It has never made me want to wreak havoc. Was Mike Brown’s chemical makeup that much different than mine?

And how long did it take for the Jake Tappers to make it to Ferguson? Even my praise of him was, well, let’s be frank, snarky. I don’t generally opine that a journalist has “found his testicles” out of admiration. If not for Antonio French, if not for the live streamers, if not for the Tweeters, we would have known next to nothing.

WE ARE THE MEDIA. Folks on the ground with Twitter and smart phones are reporting. And I know, the MSM will say “But can you believe them?” Well, one person, no. But the crowd, all reporting, all their accounts in sync, yes. All the folks on the ground corroborate each other. That’s the media. I’ve been saying this for a few days now: we are in the middle of the second Internet revolution. It began with the Arab Spring, and has just been gaining momentum. The CNNs, the MSNBCs, the networks, they have their place; but they’re no longer the gate keepers.

For every Richard Engel reporting from Gaza City, there were dozens of Palestinians on the ground tweeting the horror Israel was inflicting on them. They were the voices to which I listened. Their testimony was much more powerful than that of any reporter’s. The reporter—assuming he or she wasn’t erased by a US-supplied Hellfire missile—would move on to the next war zone. The civilian would have to stay, trapped in her ghetto, getting out to the world the sheer terror of living under Israeli siege.

Likewise in Ferguson, MO. Jake Tapper and Chris Hayes will go back to their air conditioned studios. I would like to think that what they have experienced on the streets of a Midwestern town under lockdown will stay with them. But although I am an optimist, I’m not a fool, and I wager that this too will fade away as another “interesting” experience. But the people on the street, the residents live streaming and tweeting, they will have to continue the fight for justice. They’ll still be there, bearing witness and struggling for a decent life, long after the network cameras are gone. They are the journalists whose voices matter, because they come from and speak for the community.

We ARE the media. We are in the middle of the second Information Revolution. The people with satellite uplinks and klieg lights will still have their place. But they will not be the main witnesses. All of us can hold power to account. And we must, if we are to have any kind of decent life.

Mike Brown should never have been killed. His young life was snuffed out for no good reason. But the reaction to his murder is proof that humans still strive for justice, still strive for freedom, despite what those in authority will.

Walter Cronkite narrated the Civil Rights struggle for middle American homes in the Sixties. Today, it could be me. It could be you. And that is power.

100 Responses to “We Are The Media”

  1. August 20, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Buon giorno a tutti!

  2. August 20, 2014 at 11:42 am

    LL I agree with you 100%! Congrats Bill!

  3. August 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I might just have to digit out this Twitter machine after all 🙂 great job, LL

  4. 10 Judith Fardig
    August 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Congratulations to Bill R for 1st place on another important post by LL. We are the media, and we should post with integrity, especially on Twitter.

  5. August 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    12:45 EDT: President Obama to deliver a statement regarding murdered journalist James Foley.

    • 12 dotster3
      August 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      What can be done about this most gruesome of circumstances? See ISIS is threatening to kill another journalist hostage. And possibly more, blaming President Obama. Who are these beyond brutal subhuman beings?
      Heavy sigh as I remember expressing my hope here pre Obama vacay that nothing unexpected happened during this period this year.

      • August 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        It’s unimaginable brutality Dotster, I spent the morning trying to avoid any images of it, can’t get over the sickness of people who try and spread them.

  6. August 20, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Good morning, Bill R. Congratulations on First! I started here, working backwards thru this morning’s posts. Liberal LIbrarian, you have done it again. Another brilliant, insightful, laser-sharp, dense and spot-on, right-on, all-in glittering bouquet of truth. Thank you for finding the words. Thank you TOD for being the place, for this and for all the rest. This place is my oxygen tank, keeping me breathing and remembering the green trees and the golden sun and the blue ocean and all the good brave people who get it and are stilll standing, walking, marching, speaking, caring, and as LL noted, tweeting, for all of us. Gratitude, for TOD and all you TOD-makers, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Could.Not.Get.By.Without.It.

  7. August 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Morning everyone!

    Thanks for posting, Chips.

    I’m trying to come up with something pithy, but I haven’t had coffee yet.

  8. 23 GGail
    August 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I must pop my head in to wish tnmtngirl a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! 🙂

  9. 26 donna dem 4 obama
    August 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Chips that post last night on Jake Tapper was masterful. Worthy of a Pulitzer IMHO.

    Good afternoon everyone!

  10. 28 dotster3
    August 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Yes, twitter matters. It’s a new day in news gathering and sharing, for sure. But—–just read a post saying those tasked with trying to keep the peace in Ferguson are pointing their fingers at twitter for escalating and prolonging the violence there, as it helped to attract the wrong element to their community. So—-along with all the positives, there are also some negatives.

    • 29 GGail
      August 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I kinda think it’s the MSM that’s stirring up and sending the negative elements to Ferguson more than what’s being tweeted.

    • 32 vcprezofan2
      August 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Hi, Dotster, IMO, in this instance the positives far outweigh the negatives, even if there was only one positive – that of alerting the world to the #Ferguson racist underbelly.

      • 33 Nerdy Wonka
        August 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        Exactly, VC. Without the Ferguson community tweeting about the horror and injustice that was leveled on Michael Brown, the Ferguson PD and mainstream media would have swept it under the rug.

  11. 34 donna dem 4 obama
    August 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    • 35 Judith Fardig
      August 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      I’m donating a bit more today to Alison Lundergan-Grimes, Mark Udall, plus Begich, Pryor, Braley, Nunn, and even Landrieu. We CANNOT let this schmuck become the Senate Majority Leader!

  12. 36 vcprezofan2
    August 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    ‘Walter Cronkite narrated the Civil Rights struggle for middle American homes in the Sixties. Today, it could be me. It could be you. And that is power.’

    It is indeed, thank you, Lib_L!

  13. August 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm

  14. August 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Yes, LL, We are the media ….

  15. August 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    As for Ms Byers, she should do well on Fox or CNN …

  16. 44 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    August 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Good morning, TOD. My office day, so I’m doing a drive-by.

    On an earlier thread, someone asked about the case of a white man killed in WI. His father recently wrote an essay in Politico (tweet link below). For those that don’t want to click politico, here is the father’s website michaelbell.info/

  17. 45 dotster3
    August 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Since Ferguson schools were cancelled again this week, volunteers are providing a healthy place for children to spend their days—-the library.
    This is where they should be, imho, not on the streets with possible eruptions of violence.

    • 46 HZ
      August 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Chips, GM and thank you so much for this space that was born out of your brilliant soul to hold and bring together a new family of positive, goodness of truth, and loving grateful people who love PBO and the causes of his great leadership during his presidency.

      I look at this these photos above, and I know the power of goodness of that positive energy being right before our eyes. Seeing these young precious children and these beautiful volunteers making a huge difference today is an answer to many prayers of love and doing what is lasting and right. My eyes are full of gratitude because sometimes I do not always know how to put my wounded heart into words to ask for guidance to help in these difficulty times that we are going though now. So, I have to stop and take a breath and give into my thought patterns for the smallest of gifts in my life and in the space as I sat outside yesterday in the warmth of the sun. Yes ,I looked closer as the hummingbirds danced from plant to plant. I sat and soaked in the warm heat upon my bare arms and feet as I listened to the great music from my iPod. Then I looked up and saw the tall pines swaying just slow enough for me to find a rhythm within my being to help me balance my thoughts of fear, anger, love, hope, and compassion for such a mixed up humanity. And for those precious moments a deep peace settled within my being.

      But I think like all of my TOD family here; how does PBO do it day in and day out. Then I thought, he does it because of who he is deep within. He does it because of what his mother, grandmother, and grandfather poured into him. I suddenly looked over to a lovely garden sign that I placed next to the bench where I was sitting, and I read the sign and just started crying. “Our Mother Lived a Graceful Life.” Then a peace came over me because I thought that PBO has to pull that same thought out each morning he rises to go and do his job as a son, a grandson, a husband, a father, a President of these United States and our CIC. Then guess what song came on as I was looking and thinking all of those thoughts?. Whitney Houston singing our National Anthem, I replayed it over and over with tears moving across my face for love and compassion for this great man, our President. I said a gentle prayer and left my patio with a deeper peace that I had when I entered the patio. Take your time to be quiet and gentle in your spaces, TOD family.

      Now as Donna Dem has reminded us today, we can make a difference again, as we come together and support with whatever we have so that we can help PBO keep the senate and help get those seventeen seats in the House. I am hoping and praying that these difficult times will help us to get to this.

      Thank you again, Chips. You are a beautiful gem that gives all of us hope. I love you with so much respect and gratefulness.
      A wonderful Happy Birthday to Tnmtngirl. A loving prayer to CarolMae. You have been on my mind, and loving thoughts to our President and his team as they take care of the peoples business. May he enjoy his time with his family and friends on his vacation. I hope that he will be able to hit the golf course, dine out, and relax with FLOTUS and friends to help him replenish his energies as they are constantly being spent each moment of his day. I am so grateful that we have PBO as our president during these times.HZ

      {{{{{{{{{{{{{Have a lovely day, Chips, my Danny, and my TOD family.}}}}}}}}}}}}}}HZ

  18. 47 GGail
    August 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    LL, this is excellent! Thank you for speaking the truth, brother!!!

  19. 48 amk for obama
    August 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Macy’s is to pay $650,000 (£390,000) to settle claims it racially profiled and detained ethnic minority shoppers at its flagship Manhattan shop.

    Under a deal with New York’s attorney-general Macy’s agreed to a series of changes at its 42 stores across the state.

    Staff at Macy’s, one of US retailing’s big names, were said to have targeted shoppers because of their colour.

    US actor Rob Brown was among customers suspected of theft or fraud.

    Some complaints against Macy’s were from customers who, despite not concealing goods, were detained after moving between floors at the Manhattan store.

    Other customers who spoke poor English, and were suspected of shoplifting or credit card fraud, were not allowed to make phone calls or have an interpreter, and were required to sign documents that they could not understand.


  20. August 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

  21. August 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  22. August 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    12:45 EDT: President Obama delivers a statement regarding murdered journalist James Foley


  23. August 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    @LL, The essay expresses my feelings exactly. Integrity: that is the word. Watching the news, reading the local newspaper, I am always questioning the verity, the slant. And so, I pick up my ‘news’ from trusted Blog sites and yes, twitter.
    It is a bitter irony that we in 2016 are living in the 1960’s. But I know it to be true from a personal perspective, as it relates to your post: when I wasomewhere between 8 and 10 years old, our local newspaper in S.C. Blasted a picture of Dr. M.L.King being arrested. The headlines were not flattering, as I recall. I was young, impressionable and afflicted with that underlying self-hatred of my own race that was and is one of the most destructive legacies of slavery. So, I immediately felt that because of his dark color, his thick lips, the handcuffs, etc., that he must be guilty. I thought he was a bad man. I told my Daddy, my personal ‘twitter’ consultant how I felt. He quickly disabused me of the notion. Dad was a preacher, a political observer, and a civil rights activist when it was lethal to be so. He knew the truth, and spoke it to me, his church, and his community. If it had not been for his understanding, his willingness to learn the truth and present it, I would have been at the mercy of a media that was anything but fair, and honest, and probing.

    The irony is that today in 2014, I still don’t trust the media. That’s a shame. I am grateful for those here at TOD who think and analyze, who occasionally spar, but who do it with respect. I don’t know if the last six years would have been bearable if I had not found this site. Not because I am an OBAMAbot, so much as I still carry remnants of the self-hatred, and suspicion of my own kind that has been bred in us since slavery.
    I want President OBAMA to be successful, but I admit to being in a state of constant tension about whether he will ‘mess up.’

    In our community, we are always concerned about one of ours ‘messing up.’ So, to find a site that gives him the credit that is his due is particularly healing to me. He has his faults, but in this country, he has to be damn near perfect. He could never survive the foolishness of Bill Clinton’s escapades. He must be above reproach, not because he is president, but because he is black. Period. That is impossible for any man.

    This sight holds him up. Encourages him with reports of his successes and chides him for his failures. It allows him to breathe, and in doing so, it allows me to witness this remarkable presidency with a measure of peace. I appreciate the fairness expressed here. It has made all the difference.

  24. August 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

  25. 62 Vicki
    August 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Liberal Librarian!!!! I love this post and you are so right.
    Not only must we be the change we seek, we must report what we see.

    I have made promises before on TOD that I would learn to tweet and post from here to there. Promises so far at least, I have been unable to keep.
    Now I have a galaxy s5 smartphone and slowly but surely I am learning to use it.

    Civilians with a stake in unfurling events can help realize the USA as “the land of hope and dreams” Bruce sets out as the continuing goal.

  26. 63 dotster3
    August 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

  27. August 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    OMG. Those words from my POTUS are so true. Eloquence at its best. Thank you, President Obama.

  28. August 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    “A group like ISIS has no place in the 21st Century.” President Obama. August 20, 2014.

    Hear, hear!

    • 67 COS
      August 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      This!!!! I am sure there is a lot going on quietly behind the scenes regarding this.

    • 68 vcprezofan2
      August 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was a subtle way of saying the core members of ISIS won’t be around for much longer!

  29. August 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Did I hear correctly that NO TODDLER shout a question as POTUS was living the mic? If my ears are correct, that is a first.

  30. August 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    At least the #NEWSTAINERS had the decency not to shout any questions at our President ….

  31. 77 Nerdy Wonka
    August 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm

  32. 86 Nerdy Wonka
    August 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    They’re doing this knowing AG Holder is in the city today? WTF?!?!



  33. 89 Nerdy Wonka
    August 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm


    • August 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Is it conspiracy theory if I think that SOME people behind the scenes are not happy that last night was more calm, and they want things to get inflamed again ?

      Knowing that Chief Jackson has been on Hannity’s show more than once, you can’t help thinking about all the other people Chief Jackson may have been in contact with.

      I mean… come on…. the raiding of the church is pure PROVOCATION.

    • August 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      The only “acceptable” explanation for the police getting there would be if they’re so paranoid they wanted to check if someone had hidden molotov cocktails or other explosive devices.

      HOWEVER, when you RESPECT the right to protest and when you want to AVOID fanning the flames, there are other ways to do it.

      You talk to people, you explain why you want to check things, and you check them ON SITE.

      That they’ve raided the church without any further explanation speaks volumes.

    • August 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      I guess when a state of emergency is declared, you don’t need things like warrants before conducting a raid. Is that the case? If probable cause is their reason, it is no different than someone saying they feared for their life under stand your ground.

  34. 95 symmetry11
    August 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    VIDEO: President Obama statement on James Foley http://cs.pn/1lhJmKi

  35. 99 Nerdy Wonka
    August 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    This is what the cops are stealing. A church is a sacred place. It’s a sanctuary for crying out loud.

    They are doing this on purpose to rile up peaceful protesters then when the media arrives they’ll point out, “See? We told you these protesters are violent and we’re the victims.”

  36. 100 Dudette
    August 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    We will look back on these days as a seminal moment in our country’s history.

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