Media and Revolt Strategies and Performances from the 1960s to the Present
Edited by Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Erling Sivertsen, and Rolf Werenskjold
In the 1960s, the Western mass media discovered the news value of protest events, so, at least for moderate movements, it is easier today to access the mass media sphere. The reasons are manifold. Two of the most relevant are: protest actions attracting the attention of the viewers because of their dramatic character; and the polarization between protesters and addressees visualizing huge and often diff use social groups, institutions, or governments. By covering protest events, the Western mass media, especially television, may act as a “social center” of democratic societies (cf. Couldry 2003; Gitlin  2003).
Nevertheless, the interrelation between social movements and the mass media is highly complex and often paradoxical, as Gitlin ( 2003) showed in his canonical study. Although both sides might follow up on diff erent or even divergent motifs and frames, there is a structural bind between them that is fi rst of all based on the common need for public attention. Often, both aim to attract public attention by the use of dramatic and symbolic pictures.