call Fox News blatantly racist
A group of 25 people rallied at the WSYM-TV/FOX 47 building in downtown
Lansing on Monday to Resist Fox News and Media Propaganda.
The organizers, which included Direct Action!, Students for Palestinian
Human Rights, and People for Positive Social Change, protested against
corporate medias presentation of continued war as the only response
to the Sept. 11 attacks.
We chose Fox 47 because it represents Fox News, said Steve
Swart, the Direct Action! co-organizer. He said drawing attention to
local stations was the best way to voice their critique. Before organizing
this rally, hed spoken with many people who were upset about Fox
They can be just blatantly racist and can pretend that theyre
an objective source for news, while really theyre further to the
right than any other network. And in general we want to raise awareness
about the corporate media broadcasting just one view point on the war.
out that after Newsweek carried a special report on the Death
Convey of Afghanistan on Aug. 26, only very few media followed
the story. The report substantiated with eyewitness accounts that U.S.
forces were on scene when perhaps more than 1,000 Taliban prisoners
were killed in cargo-container trucks. Dont hold your breath
waiting to see that covered on FOX News, said Swart.
Fox 47 General Manager Judy Kenney said she didnt understand the
protest in Lansing. Were not the Fox news channel, which
is located in New York, were just a local affiliate. She
said that the station selects national news from the Fox News Wire as
well as from other media sources.
Kenney said it was unfair to point a finger at FOX 47, because other
stations like WLAJ (ABC53) and WLNS News Center6 (CBS) also depend on
large corporate television networks.
News directors from these stations could not be reached for comment.
As they marched toward WSYM-TV/FOX 47 on St. Joseph Street, activists
verbalized slogans such as Ha-ha, ho-ho, corporate lies have got
to go and held up posters with sayings like Fox 47, Partner
in Crime. Jil Naimansoui, a pre-law student at MSU, said this
demonstration would be a good opportunity to begin grassroot activism
against war. Our community is giving us false information though
corporate media, and corporate universities. We need education and knowledge,
knowledge, knowledge, said Naimansoui whod just returned
from a trip to Palestine, where she was involved in peace work with
a group called the International Solidarity Movement.
Swart said the Resist Fox News could be the starting point
of a series of similar events to raise awareness about the U.S. media,
more than 80 percent of which is owned by 10 different multinational
corporations. Lansing offered the perfect opportunity to become active
locally, because one of these big corporations, Gannett, owns the Lansing
State Journal. Right now theyre trying to wipe out one of
our local independent media outlets, City Pulse, by bringing in an independent
weekly, Swart said. Of course there wont be independent
news, but ads, entertainment and the stuff their focus groups says will
Swart said the media should stimulate debate in a democratic society
instead of just beating the drums of war. He recalled an
executive of CNN admitting public support prompted them to censor reports
or images of civilian causalities in Afghanistan. Its a
consistent theme that things coming from the U.S. government are treated
as fact, whereas things from anybody else are treated like thats
at Washington University, in St Louis, back Swarts observation.
David Domke, an assistant professor of communication, recently released
a report showing that American news coverage of Sept. 11 and its aftermath
has been complicit with government and military communication strategies
to rally public support. A total of 210 stories were analyzed over five
weeks of coverage, and a significant majority of the rhetoric could
be attributed to U.S. government and military sources.
The groups rallying in front of FOX 47 suggested intensifying support
for independent media sources. They handed out fliers showing a list
of seven alternative sources in Michigan such as City Pulse in Lansing,
The Michigan Citizen in Detroit, and the Indymedia web network. One
education student said she long ago stopped believing in information
reported by the mainstream media and relied instead more heavily on
Internet sources. Kathie Kuhn, an activist from People for Positive
Social Change, pointed out that she preferred to watch Scola, a cable
channel broadcasting international news programs. Even if I dont
understand the language, I gather more truths from the photographs.
Rana Chang, an MSU medical student, said she hasnt watched television
news since the turn-off your TV week. Whats
true is always distorted by the corporate media. FOX is the worst. Its
a parody of itself.
FOX 47 reporter Alysia Sofios, who covered the event in front of her
own work place, said she didnt feel offended by the protests,
because she was working for a separate entity. As a journalist
shed always listened to Palestinians complaints that the
national media were unfair and unbalanced. Sofios emphasizes that she
tries to she integrate these critical voices into her reports.
I make a definite effort to listen to both sides. Thats
our job as journalists.
In its 5.30 news program on Monday, FOX 47 ran a news story on the rally.
The 25-second news clip contained two mistakes. The report claimed that
the organizers werent aware that FOX 47 wasnt identical
with FOX News Channel. However, before the rally Swart had in fact explained
the difference between the station and the network to City Pulse. The
broadcaster also reported that the rally was headed to a local
newspaper (apparently the Lansing State Journal). However, this
had never been the intent of demonstrators, who ended their march in
front of the Fox 47 building, as planned.
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