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What is wrong with independent journalists in the eyes of anarchists?

+5 votes
*Again, not me, but a re-post from reddit http://www.reddit.com/r/Anarchism/comments/or08r/what_is_wrong_with_independent_journalists_in_the/ ... Personally I am more interested in the general question than the specific situations they're talking about.*

I have noticed that both Tim Pool (@TimCast) and Spencer (@OakFoSho) getting heat from anarchists lately about live streaming protests. I don't understand the anarchists issues with these independent journalists. They are freely and openly documenting the events that are happening, and I see this as a good thing when compared to the main stream media. Can you educate me on the issues that anarchists have with live streamers such as Tim and Spencer? Thanks!

TL;DR: What is wrong with independent/citizen journalists live streaming protests?

By the way, I created this logo and I think it aptly portrays one of the most helpful roles that live streamers have to play at protests. They keep the powers that be responsible for their actions: http://imgur.com/0mK5K
asked Jan 26, 2012 by anok (19,080 points)

2 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
the logo almost answers the question.
a. recording people's actions is more likely to be useful to our enemies than it is to us, whether for the purposes of surveillance, criminal charges, making it more confusing who is doing what (how does one tell an "independent journalist" from a corporate one?), etc.
b. recording people's actions is part of making actions spectacular (reifying them, making them abstract and separate from people's lives).
c. the idea that these recordings are helpful in some kind of "protecting ourselves" or "growing ourselves" way relies on the extremely limited notion that more information is what is required to make people free, or that the State cares very much when it is recorded doing heinous things. As an example, while it is true that having an iraqi war vet--who was tailor-made to be a posterboy (being white, not large, etc)--be attacked on national tv did galvanize people, it is entirely open to question how relevant that galvanizing was. and that was pretty much the best possible scenario for public response... this c response basically loops back to a. insufficient good for the bad involved.
answered Jan 27, 2012 by dot (52,050 points)
Yup. I've never been to a protest, filmed by journalists, or interacted with any of the characters familiar to that scenario in any real way and I would've answered in much the same way.

Just plain common sense.
What, you've never been to a protest? I mean, I hell of hate protests but I've never met an anarchist who hadn't been to one!
+3 votes
Every individual has their own unique biases. This is as true of journalists as anyone else. Often with indy journalists these perspectives fall in line with some massified political (false?) consciousness. There are quite a few liberal-cum-socialist, grassroots-y journalists for whom the legitimacy of the state never comes into question. Their coverage of events can easily collapse some vast and unbounded events and movements into digestible, non-threating activism. For a really great example compare the diversity of views of Egyptians and Tunisians from a year ago to the reformist framing used by "alternative" media. According to Democracy Now! as much as Fox News, the movement was pro-democracy rather than the more obvious conclusion that it was at base anti-Mubarak/Ben Ali. Surely the movement bureaucrats and democracy activists were there in the first days, but they were not necessarily representative of the movement as a whole. We must remain aware that indy journalists *may* be doing the state's work; recuperating radical actions by imposing narratives in which such events are channeled into benign reformism.

I think it is helpful to distinguish the amateur, "citizen" (ew) journalists from professional, "independent" journalists. "Citizen" journalists can be quite a bit wider in their perspectives than those for whom it is a job. Their biases might also be a lot more obvious. Maybe there's still some indy journalists out there perpetuating the charade of objectivity. This should an unforgivable sin of journalism by now. The ones most insistent about objectivity are usually the ones with the biggest ax to grind.
answered Jan 28, 2012 by enkidu (6,110 points)
this is a better way to talk about what i touched on with "how can you tell who is independent", but to be clear, i'm not any more interested in non professional journalists than in paid ones. mostly, intentions are irrelevant to the harm caused.