Try to occupy *this*

Most mainstream news media (and current perversions thereof... but dear me, I digress...) can't seem to wrap their collective consciousness around Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots.

As OWS went globally local this past weekend, they're finally trying to get to it — but news TV's hair and teeth types continue to deride and whinge over what they see as Occupy's deal breaker: no focused definition, agenda, leader or spokesperson.

Thing is, media and other big-organization complaints are more about fossilized reporting conventions than Occupy's relevance.

See, sometime mid-late last century, many media honchos and theorist types actually fretted about balancing news coverage (so quaint!) in the screaming dive toward daily deadlines. The only way they saw to do that real fast was to pigeonhole every story into a prefab template. One US network news president famously wanted to stereotype every item as a black hat/white hat Old West shootout. Somewhat more thoughtful types — well, okay, media theorists* — felt you might run to maybe a half-dozen prefabs. Still amounts to fillin' blanks with dates, names, a few telling details. Voila! News story! Like any sausage machine, it works adequately as long as you don't get all hung up on finesse.

But to get names and telling details in nanoseconds, which is all anybody on a 24 hour news cycle budgets for anymore, ya gotta have easily-contacted traditional organizations with official spokesthingies, cued to bark out bullet-point "positions" in predigested clips.

It's why many news items are tiny, dumb cartoons. It's also why many are spun to hell by the groups that can pour money into blendering up self-serving bullet points like so much liquid pig shit tasty frozen martinis and firehosing 'em at reporters.

So, the major objectors to Occupy Wall Street's style: people in news who want fast chicken nuggets to slot into a standard story; and people and groups holding some traditional form of power, who seek potshot targets with which to neutralize — or better yet, blacken and bury — a movement and retake what they see as the agenda. To occupy Occupy, as it were.

I'm pretty sure that OWS' amorphous squishiness is as frustrating to old media as its very tangible if unfocused discontent is to business-as-usual forms of power. This rabble ain't so easily cartooned or contained, when you can't find rabble-rousers or messages to pinpoint bomb. Could explain why Occupiers are covering their own revolution rather well in diffuse outlets like Flickr, Twitter, Facebook anonanon. Unhindered by convention, they get it. Anti-antisocial media at its best!

Coyote News, though we sometimes fly with the turkey vultures, is cool with it. Because it really, really pisses off political types desperately seeking some easy in, to either smear or co-opt the whole thing. And our embarrassing, illegitimate cousins at Fox and Sun, ummm, News. Did we mention them? Kinda flailing at the whole discrediting thing. Snicker...

* You, my doggybloggy reader, are of course so interested in this stuff that you will read further, maybe something like Making News (Gaye Tuchman); Deciding What's News (Theodore Gans), or Discovering the News (Michael Schudson). Because you're not the type to take your entire daily news/info/bloggossity hit on a smartphone in that two-minute lineup for your latte. You're better than the mere latte-rati...

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