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The Hillary Clinton War Machine banner seen by everyone at 2016 DNC but you.


PHILADELPHIA, PA- The second day of protest of the 2016 DNC was expected to dwarf Sunday’s impressive turnout, so we hit the Monday rally determined to repeat our photo-op coup of the day before. This time our banner read “HILLARY CLINTON IS THE CANDIDATE OF THE WAR MACHINE” which we knew would ruffle more feathers. We wore costumes, me as American Cowboy Capitalist, my teammate as war victim, in a black burqa, Muslims being both targets and scapegoats of the US War on Islam. Shutters clicked wherever we went, whether our banner was unfurled or not. Professional photographers recorded our names and fellow activists gave us thumbs up and maneuvered to record us on their phones. Some posed beside us, asking companions or strangers to take their selfies. We gave interviews to Time Magazine, the New Yorker, several newspapers, and multiple foreign news outlets. We spoke about the undemocratic character of our party conventions and about Hillary being the establishment warmonger. Having drenched our clothes in Philly’s 95 degree weather, we consoled ourselves that we had absolutely nailed the message.

We’d learned the day before that getting a visual out before a march began was the most fruitful in reaching the media audience. Unless you’re storming the Bastille, protest visuals are not for drawing people to the street. Visual messaging is for the benefit of local television viewers first, who can rush to join in, and news readers second, to give substance to the coverage.

At first we found scant footage of our banner in the Sunday march, but our early morning bannering, meant be a beacon toward which people could gather, garnered a headline photo by the AP. That picture ran on AP articles across the globe, and dominatd images of “DNC protests” before the convention had even begun.

We knew that press coverage would be best before the convention got started, when protests wouldn’t compete with the choreographed performances inside. But we were confident that the first day’s march, as the biggest and most anticipated, would float our antiwar message to the top. Our war-machine slogan appealed to Bernie supporters, to the Greens, and to the antiwar groups.

We went out early and wherever we went we drew thumbs up, applause, fingers pointed our way, cellphones and cameras. Organizers of a Bernie-delegates press conference asked us to be their backdrop. So imagine our surprise when the day’s news images did not include our banner!

Instead media photo editors chose images of Bernie Sanders supporters despondent about his betrayal. In reality, most protesters on Monday were not apprised of Bernie’s formal capitulation. Protesters were upbeat and enthousiastic. The thousands of Berners who marched that day were exuberant about the prospects of their delegates prevailing in the convention. Press photogs must have known something about what their editors wanted, or the heat and exhaustion produced the compositions they needed. News stories of Monday’s start of the DNC ran with images of solitary protesters, looking isolated and resigned.

For our part, we’re certain the photos of our banner will resurface from the files when Hillary’s presidency is in the bag and the war machine is no longer an embargoed issue.

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