The mainstream media associate anarchists with terrorism and violence even more closely than they associate gays and lesbians with child molesters.
As someone who's known a few anarchists, this is continually surprising to me. Most of the anarchists I’ve known preferred to avoid violence altogether. The few who did condone violence went in for property damage and vandalism. Most would defend themselves against attack, but would never start a fight, and most barely know how to defend themselves. So why does the mainstream media make them out to be a bunch of gun-toting psychopaths?
The mainstream media, having decided that they’re a deadly enemy, rarely if ever talk to any anarchists. They’ve defined anarchists for themselves; they are anyone, especially anyone in black, committing an illegal act. They all possess copies of the Anarchist’s Cookbook, and they all hate Jesus, mom, and apple pie. Clearly, they all have guns and are not afraid to use them. Why would the media want to interview them? They’d probably try to kill them. By maintaining a policy of no contact, the media can keep their image of them unchallenged.
On the few occasions that anarchists do get into the media, the way they are talked about keeps their image under their control. At the WTO protests, the media reported violent acts by anarchists. When they had to report police misbehavior, they said that the police interacted badly with demonstrators. Herein lies the key: anyone at a protest committing a crime is an anarchist, anyone who gets hurt or treated unfairly by the state is a demonstrator, a bystander to anarchist violence.
As a tool of the government, owned by corporations, the media can’t afford to give anarchists equal time or even a fair view. On the corporate side of this, news is an industry, a business. Every news source is in competition with every other news source, and the station with the most shocking information gets the highest ratings. Anarchists as a political party with goals and a philosophy and a bent towards volunteer work are a bland community interest piece. Anarchists as a secret conspiracy of terrorists are exciting, a threat to Our Children and The American Way of Life. By creating anarchists as a faceless THEM, the media keep people from understanding or identifying with them, as well as fueling public approval for government action against them.
Leaving aside the obvious sensationalism of most journalism today, if even half what the media says about anarchists were true, they would face serious reprisals every time they were given bad press.