Forty-four years ago, Gil Scott Heron released the song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Listening to the poem today, it could easily have been written about the professional news coverage of Ferguson, MO.
On August 13, police outfitted for war fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of peaceful Americans, gathered to protest the murder of Michael Brown and police brutality. Twitter, a social media platform, was one of the only places for us to get the full picture of the events in Ferguson. The most powerful messages came to us in vines and hash tagged photographs on twitter and instagram.CNN, the NYTimes and a dozen other news sources completely failed, both online and on television, report what was happening in America.
It bears mentioning that much of what was finally covered was sympathetic towards the police rather than the protestors. For many of us who cannot be in Ferguson, hearing and seeing the story on Vine, Twitter, and Facebook from the people living it through is the closest we're going to get to understanding what's happening down there from the other side.
Just as an example, this is an image from Fox News . We all saw the live feed. Rubber bullets and tear gas canisters were aimed at civilians and journalists. The actions of the protestors - chanting with their hands held in the air - in no way warranted the aggression of the police. There is no mention of the fact that the police force arrived to a peaceful protest carrying sniper rifles and tanks. We learned that through twitter and from a live feed broadcast by a local radio station over the internet. The revolution will not be televised but it will be manipulated.
(Edited to include a paragraph from a below comment and photographs)
Top Photo from @mattdpearce
Bottom Photo from @nuccbko