What do Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter have in common. The mass media loves them.
Checking on Google today, its recent news listings for Donald Trump were 28 million while for Black Lives Matter it was 36 million.
In contrast, the significant Moral Mondays movement only had 36 thousand news mentions while Cornell West, just to pick one leading black thinker, got 10,000 mentions.
What do Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter have in common? They both have found ways to simplify complex situations in a theatrical manner that appeals to the mass media. It is far easier to show a video of Donald Trump yelling or BLM protesting than it is to report on the complexities of what it is they are acting about.
It is, of course, necessary to recognize the difference of intent between these two efforts, one rampant narcissism unleashed, the other righteous anger placed on stage. But it remains a striking example of how the mass media determines who we think important and and how we discuss issues.
It is interesting, for example, to note that Daily Beast reports that, according to the BLM website, “the group’s sole activity in July was the reposting of a Movement for Black Lives event invitation and an article from TheRoot.com”
This, plus two well covered protests at events, hardly represents a major change in our society unless, of course, the major media tells us it is.
In the end, there is more to life than public relations. By its standards, in a short time, Black Lives Matter have made an impressive impact but will that impact move on to educate, find alliances with others of like mind, force changes, alter laws and so forth?
Launching something like BLM can tough. For example, Daily Best reported:
Another Facebook group claiming to be a part of Black Lives Matter… demanded Bernie Sanders and his Seattle-based organizers apologize to the movement. Some national media reported that as a Black Lives Matter response, as well.
The national Black Lives Matter Facebook page then posted a statement. “The #BlackLivesMatter organization did not create any petitions demanding apology from Seattle based organizers. We have not issued a public apology, neither have we made any public statements demanding an apology.”
This is not an unfamiliar problem for activist organizations, but it is still a useful reminder that even when you’ve got the mass media on your side, it can still screw things up.