Friday, as the News Corp. Board of Directors held their annual shareholders meeting, close to two hundred demonstrators from Good Jobs LA, Brave New Foundation, NABET-CWA, Media and Democracy Coalition, Media Alliance, and Media Action Center joined with Occupy LA, AAVAZ.org, Free Press and Common Cause to protest the media giant’s behavior -including having politicians on their payroll as media commentators and authors, phone hacking and bribery, one-sided reporting, use of faulty statistics, bad governance, and most especially, not acting in the public interest.
Media activist Sue Wilson rallied the crowd when she told them that a local Fox channel in Florida went to court and received a ruling that a news broadcast over our public airwaves does not have to be true.
Dave Saldana, the communications director of Free Press, explained to the crowd that political parties –be they Republican or Democrat, conservative or progressive– should not be in bed with the media because that can cause a distortion of the news. Saldana read a list of demands to News Corp. shareholders which he and Wilson delivered to a representative of News Corp., who said he would deliver it to the shareholders (at 23:00 in video). Saldana explained that Fox News is a symptom of corporate consolidation. (33:30)
News anchor icon Bree Walker was also there and told FDL’s Ustream that she has seen the creeping influence of corporate interests in news programming over the past thirty years. (43:00)
Early on I ran into an intern from NPR who was taking pictures of some of the more colorful folks protesting. He basically admitted that they are looking for catchy, extreme things to capture interest. (Cue the drum circles!) So I kinda told him that as public radio they should be serving the public, and maybe he should take a look at the stories of the people who are at Occupy LA and why they are there, like Michelle the kitchen manager who has been battling ovarian cancer for nine years. Despite the cancer metastasizing to her liver and having to undergo 6 hours of chemotherapy several times a week, she is down at Occupy LA daily making sure that food for over 300 people is prepared to health department standards and arrives on time.
As usual the cute Occupy LA kids who wear bandanas over their faces and dance behind speakers with their signs were outside Fox positioning themselves to try go get as much camera time as possible. Their cam-ho antics are a bit tiresome by now, but I appreciated their enthusiasm. Since Real World’s Occupy casting won’t be out of Zucotti Park, maybe they should apply!
The event was widely covered by local, national and international news. It will be interesting to see how it’s spun.