an unknown number of inmates are still on a hunger strike that began on July 8th.
The Pacific Standard calls it ‘historic’. I don’t know much about the Pacific Standard, but no matter who runs it ‘historic’ is an accurate appellation.
So the question really must be asked: why is this unquestionably newsworthy drama receiving almost no mainstream news coverage? CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, even Drudge. I mean, there may have been a blurb here and there. There usually is. The media hedge their bets: if it somehow becomes newsworthy later due to circumstances beyond their control they can always point to some coverage, however obscure they may have made it.
There are a couple of answers to the question, and neither of them is palatable. The first is that there is so little interest from the public that as a business matter giving the story any prominence is just an economic waste of valuable space for other copy that will be more popular.
That explanation is a searing indictment of either the mainstream news media, or the public, or more likely both.
The other explanation is in many ways worse: the prison industrial complex has simply taken its place among other American corporate behemoths and the media, which primarily shill for any group with economic clout, squelches information that might be harmful to the PIC’s bottom line.
The deafening silence is the media effectively siding hard – very hard – with the powers that be. The whole purpose of a hunger strike is to draw attention to a cause, and it will invariably do that unless there is a concerted effort to suppress the very fact that people are on the verge of starving themselves to death for something they believe in.
Could this whole strike thing be a manipulative tactic by prison gangs, as the California Commissioner of Corrections maintains? Sure, that’s possible. But that is no excuse for the mainstream media’s behavior here. Their job is to report and let the debate settle the questions raised.
At least, they pretend that this is their job. But given the comparative play – top story on CNN – lavished upon idiocy like this, the media’s already thin veneer has pretty much worn off except for those who aren’t paying any attention at all.