What Are We Forgetting? | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

What Are We Forgetting? 

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Can’t make it to one of the many cities throughout the nation to show support for the Occupy movements? Not everyone can. Don’t worry, MTV decided to capitalize on the Occupy Wall Street movement. On Nov. 5, its True Life documentary series highlighted what it’s like to be on the front line in Zuccotti Park in New York City.

Occupy is the largest campaign of its kind in generations; the grass-roots movement sparked a wildfire that has swept the nation. Technology and social media made short work of obstacles to spreading the message. In its infancy, with its growth and development so impressionable, are there dangers with who gets involved and how?

The 99 percent are represented in public places throughout the world by young and old, clean and unshaven, liberal and conservative, homeless and those with homes, those with jobs and those without, the poor and what once was the middle class.

MTV is owned by Viacom, a media giant. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Viacom, based in New York City, owns an extensive list of media outlets ranging from video-game distribution, BET networks, CMT, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and RateMyProfessors.com, just to name a few. Viacom is also in litigation against YouTube and Google over copyright infringement.

Viacom’s mission statement under its corporate responsibility states: “The Viacom Corporate Responsibility Council seeks to provide company-wide guidance and support to pro-social programs governed by our brands. While nurturing each business unit’s distinctive identity, the council collaborates on company-wide pro-social efforts, as well as projects at the business-unit level. The council educates employees and audiences about key pro-social issues to inspire, enlighten and ignite action in both the public arena and within our own employee family.”

Is this show about Occupy Wall Street following its mission statement, or is it just capitalizing on what is trendy, replacing legitimacy with entertainment?

Though many would argue Viacom is doing nothing wrong or unethical, it could be counterproductive to turn the infancy of a movement into a reality-television show.

The lines are not always clear in today’s age of technology and big-business influence. After all, these are the mediums that allow so many to be “informed” so quickly when news or events happen.

Kanye West visited the movement in New York City, as did Roseanne Barr, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons and Jesse Jackson. Alec Baldwin strolled through the park and had discussions with supporters. Baldwin, who stars in Capital One commercials, has been criticized for appearing.

Celebrity support and media have provided aid to challenges throughout history with activism, humanitarian efforts, fundraising, publicity and support for education and awareness.

Many factors—the speed at which life moves; suddenly obsolete technology; information and fads; being too busy to look up as we walk and drive because of e-mail, texts, tweets and entertainment—could lead to forgetting about the critical issues, especially for those not immediately affected.

When was the last time Fukushima Japan was in the news?

Andy Bork
Salt Lake City

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