Googled it after Laurie Penny tweeted it, couldn’t find anything! How can the press be ignoring this?
The press won’t be ignoring it entirely, but because they have to cover their asses they’ll be slow to pick up so that they can cross-hatch a story together with some reliable information that gets repeated to them. This is partly because they like to know that what they’re reporting is the genuine truth, partly because they don’t have journos who don’t mind being in the middle of a hail of bottles positioned exactly where a riot is going to happen, as it happens, and partly because if they just report it as people on the streets tell it to them and the police take offence as one of the ways in which it’s being reported the state will make their lives miserable for a while with accusations of biased reporting.
With that said they won’t give it nearly as much air time as events like this could do with, and they won’t look at it with nearly as much depth as they should. Mainstream media likes to find a very direct and easily presented narrative for this sort of occurrence and ignores the deeper socio-economic issues of an area that contribute towards events such as riots.
To me the whole picture would be looking at things such as general unrest at the government and the form of policing within a community, disenfranchisement from the establishment, unemployment rates and poverty levels, shifting social milieu present in an area, issues such as racism and so on and so forth that can bring a wider community to the point of a riot being triggered by a particular event. What the press want to be able to report is, in this instance it seems like, just a bunch of gangs that instigated it. Similarly the way the Stokes Croft riots in Bristol, along with rioting on student demonstrations, was reported is that it gets laid at the feet of anarchist groups who smash stuff because … well that’s all anarchists do, according to the press.
This process is an important part of the way the media works in tandem with the government and capitalist state. It enables specific groups to be demonised which most importantly separates events from being a community action of a general will. People in other areas, instead of seeing the events as a rallying call for action, will rather rally to ostracise the so-say perpetrators. Sneering at them being created as the underclass of society, something to be feared or hated instead of other people who have intricate situations and a plethora of motivating factors behind such events as riots.
This sort of reporting is the cornerstone of creating the “stable” society in which we live: by holding a hegemony over the sort of information that is presented, the way it’s presented, how long it’s kept a public issue for and the way it’s used as a divisive tool. It prevents people from questioning the nature of the capitalist bourgeois state, and means people don’t see themselves as all being a part of a broader struggle but are instead atomised and isolated in their own bubble of problems.
And that’s why the press by and large ignores such events. Although you maybe weren’t asking for so much depth, and I should probably be writing this essay in the legitimacy of the exercise of political power …