chapter  13
22 Pages

Mass Media Deprecation

As Sidney Tarrow (1998, 114) points out, "The media are far from neutral in the symbols that they select and transmit." Nor are they neutral in how they transmit these symbols, which are embedded in episodes of contention. In other words, when it comes to covering social movements, the mass media not only engage in selection bias but also description bias (Smith et a12001, 1400-1401).1 In fact, the mass media often portray dissidents who engage in contentious politics as ridiculous, bizarre, dangerous, or otherwise out-of-step with Middle USAmerica, and this serves to suppress dissent.