If I had any doubt, even the tiniest, about the damage and ethical corruption caused by corporate ownership of mainstream media, that was erased completely yesterday. Although the examples I will provide seem to have a political slant, in the end they do not. Every single one of us is dependent upon professional news organizations to bring us information that we require to be knowledgable and safe. When that trust is destroyed, we must look elsewhere, and now "elsewhere" seems to have to be "every single one of us."

As regular readers may know, I have kept a close eye on the grass-roots progressive protests going on for many months now, in-person and on the web. I've watched real-time streams of 100,000+ people against Governor Scott Walker's union-busting in Madison, Wisconsin, and I've stood just feet away from Hawaii's Governor Neil Abercrombie in Honolulu as he promised hotel workers that he would never allow the same fate on his watch. I've taken photos at a solidarity march in the freezing cold in Olympia, Washington, and yesterday, watched from a citizen live video feed, a teenage girl arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge for standing where the police told her to stand moments before. Over and over and over again, I've watched mainstream media either ignore or distort the things I've seen with my own eyes.

For the last two weeks, protestors fed up with the ruinous economic shenanigans caused by Wall Street have been gathering in New York City's financial hub, and that protest has spread to cities around the country. There's a pretty good chance you've seen not a word about it, and if you have, the words have been minimal or slanted. The movement has been gathering steam at a rapid pace, but instead you are receiving more information from CNN about the Kardashians than very relevant political news in an upcoming election year. So the place to go for the most complete and fastest-breaking news now is social media, right? One way to follow leads from all over the world is by use of the Twitter "hashtag," which is a "#" followed by short descriptive text used by multiple users to keep news all in one trackable place. Hot hashtags are called "trends," which you can follow by city, country, or worldview -- I set my trendview to Seattle.

So yesterday, there was a mighty brouhaha on the Brooklyn Bridge, and the hashtag #occupywallstreet, named after the protest movement, appeared nowhere in Twitter trends, not even in New York City. Police were shown, as multiple citizen videos documented, leading peaceful marchers off the footbridge and onto the roadway, and then began randomly choosing to arrest hundreds of them for blocking the road! Thousands and thousands of people were watching this happen live, documenting it, and thousands and thousands more were throwing that hashtag around on Twitter. But it never trended. Twitter's explanation:

"Twitter Trends are automatically generated by an algorithm that attempts to identify topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously," explains Carolyn Penner with Twitter’s communications team. "The Trends list is designed to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular."
"Topics break into the Trends list when the volume of Tweets about that topic at a given moment dramatically increases," she says. "Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe. And, sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week."
Hmm. OK, so #occupywallstreet didn't trend either when an NYPD officer maced a peaceful female protestor held back by a physical barrier. Hmm. No "#occupy" tag trended in any city. Hmm. That is very interesting to me. Trendsmap says differently.
Do you suppose, just maybe, that this might have influenced some filter choices along the way?:
(, February 28, 2011)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested in a fund that has bought about $400 million in Twitter Inc. shares, valuing the blogging service at as much as $4.5 billion, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
The fund, which has more than $1 billion, is being run by Twitter investor Chris Sacca, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the arrangement isn’t public. JPMorgan is committing the bulk of the financing for the fund, the people said.
Twitter, founded in 2006, has seen its valuation climb in tandem with the popularity of its site, which lets users post 140-character messages. The company was valued at $3.7 billion in December after receiving $200 million in a funding round led by venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Twitter was worth $1 billion in September 2009, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
I then opened up Facebook, and got into a discussion of the topic and what was going on right then on the Bridge in NYC. My friend posted the direct link to this:

Within a few seconds, as I watched, Facebook DELETED my friend's post with the link. I was shocked. My friend told me that it had been happening all day with anyone who had posted it, and the only way to get it through was to disguise it in a link-shortening program.
Later on, someone keeping an eye on Occupy Wall Street coverage by the New York Times supplied us with a very informative catch:

I don't have much more to add, other than to encourage everyone to pay close attention to what you might see...or not see.
And take your cell phone and its camera everywhere you go.