Anonymous held a Million Man March on Nov 5th, a nod to Guy Fawkes, their icon, who sought to blow up the British parliament building with gunpowder. However, there wasn’t any evidence of it occurring on cable news, nor any news websites, so far as I could tell, on Nov. 5. Since the protests did gain some traction abroad, The Guardian was among the few foreign news sources that reported the news the following morning.
Most major North American news outlets, if not all, had a story prominently displaying the now-disgraced Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, with a link to a video of him admitting he smoked crack while drunk. This story surfaced six months ago, with little mention from the mainstream media. Now that he’s talking about it to the press, the fourth estate has gone into reality television mode covering Ford’s crack and booze-induced stupor. He's the Mayor of one city on a continent with thousands, and his actions impacted no one but himself. Who cares?
I couldn’t help but wonder how much of a coincidence it was, that on Guy Fawkes Day, with worldwide protest plans, the media charade was all about an idiot mayor who smoked crack and lied about it, then tried to cover it up. A lying politician trying to cover his own tracks is as old as politics itself. Protests, on the other hand, are about change; something new, something different.
The march, though, was not a raging success – at least, it didn’t appear to live up to the awe of the poster organizing the protest. News outlets may argue the protests were not big enough for major news to cover, though they would be more likely to expand if people were aware they were happening. But people in the streets mean they’re not watching TV, so coverage might not be the best investment.
They can’t cover it, of course, because the Anonymous movement channels the anti-corporate nature of the Occupy movement, and all of these cable news channels are owned by large corporations. In addition to that, just 10 corporations own most of the products Americans buy on a regular basis – or in Mitt Romney terms, 10 people own most of the products Americans buy on a regular basis. If people were to realize that these are part of the 20 percent who control almost 84 percent of the wealth in the US (or the one percent who control 46 percent of the wealth), as Anonymous-related groups clearly have, people might stop buying their products, removing the need for advertising on cable. The beast would be starved.
Though numbers did not appear overly large in any one area (you can see photos from the DC protest here), protests took place in 477 cities across the world (Thank you, Al-Jazeera). Together, they certainly achieved their nominal goal, though the effects are not nearly as powerful across distance.
Still, it would be foolish to ignore the waves of protest, as Millenials continue to struggle finding jobs, let alone meaningful work. Unemployment is around 20 percent for the young generation, most with knowledge and access to the web. Today was not just about how many people showed up to protest, but about how many people saw it online, planting a seed for the inevitably frustrating tough times ahead – particularly when student loans start piling up. Both #MillionManMarch and Anonymous were trending topics on Twitter at various points during the day.
Their numbers continue to grow, no matter what Fox News or CNN decide to show on cable. It’s not much of a factor anyway, as more and more Millennials opt out of broadcast and watch whatever they want on the web. Big Media is simply holding on to what’s left, hoping the people in the masks don’t get angry and come to their building with gunpowder.