This article by Alison Kilkinney (a progressive media rockstar who does across-the-board stellar work) at The Nation just came across my Twitter feed: “Wisconsin: Can Playing By The Rules Work in a Rigged Game?“. A snippet:
In Madison, Wisconsin, pro-union protesters occupied the Capitol rotunda and the surrounding property, and committed themselves to a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Last night, that effort fell short, but rather than sitting around, feeling sorry for themselves, some activists say they are ready to continue fighting for their causes.
It’s a great article.
But it made me wonder: did North Carolina activists and that vote receive the same coverage? Not at The Nation.
The North Carolina vote took place on May 8. On May 9, Kilkenny did publish about NC: Thousands Turn Out to Protest Bank of America Shareholders’ Meeting. But this was a national story playing out where the headquarters of a major bank happened to fall. And Richard Kim mentioned North Carolina in an article about marriage equality, though its focus was not the vote but rather Obama’s tepid support of gay marriage: Obama Endorses Gay Marriage—Kinda. Now What?.
This is NOT to call out The Nation. NOT AT ALL. If that is what you take away from this, you are missing my entire point. They just make a good case study because Kilkenny’s article on Wisconsin is so great. Why can’t we get progressive media to cover the South in the same way?
The rub is that there are people in North Carolina who live there and could do that work. Pam Spaulding could have written the North Carolina version of Kilkenny’s Wisconsin article.
In related thoughts…
Last night a friend and kick-ass activist that I respect enormously took me task for this tweet:
[The tweet reads: Dems lose in WI: they were out-moneyed/it was a hard-fought battle. Dems lose in NC: those ppl are stupid/backwards, let’s boycott them.]
This tweet actually inspired my first post about this topic.
She said that this kind of thought, this blaming of Progressives in a moment of voting failure, is not helpful and only adds to the Republicans goal of “divide and conquer.”
I respectfully disagreed.
I think there is already a divide, created by Progressives themselves, playing on larger, more universal tropes and stereotypes about the South. The problem is that the GOP has a pretty good voting stronghold on the South and a huge part of the reason is because this type of reporting (or, rather, ignoring) of progressive Southern politics makes progressives who live there feel defeated, that their vote doesn’t matter, and that we can’t win.
Me (and others) pointing out that this divide exists is not the problem. It will be there whether I speak up or not.
If this is something you care about, Kristin Rawls wrote an amazing article in April titled “5 Big Media Stereotypes About the South (and the Real Story Behind Them)“. [note: she interviewed me for the article]
What I’m talking about here is part of a long-standing pattern, as Rawls’ work shows.
Let’s do better, progressive media. PLEASE.
[these thoughts are continued in one more post: pt. 3: vs. California]