Fox News Protest Report, 4/6/01: Leah Faerstein

It was a dark and rainy day. I had trouble figuring out where or what the protest actually was. Fox logo umbrellas were interspersed among the "Faux News" signs...I was told that Roger Ailes came earlier and offered them to the protesters in a PR coup. Unfortunately, some lacked the sophistication to refuse...It felt good though, even without an umbrella. I got to listen to Bob Fertik's excellent speech. He led the crowd at the end in a rousing chant of: "Reelect Gore in 2004". Joe Katz, Phil Berg then the wonderfully witty Judy Klass. Her speech highlighted the lack of frontiers between pundits and politicians. Besides obvious examples such as Pat Buchanan, she enlightened us to the fact that Roger Ailes himself was W's image maker. He taught him to speak in low tones, imitating Reagan, and how not to flail his arms. Far away, behind a barricade, four freepers were waving signs and chanting something, I do not know what, because, for a change, we had the loudspeakers. A white-shirted Fox employee descended from his office to impart his wisdom: "Bush won!" "No, he did not!" I yelled back. "Then, how comes he's in the White House?" he retorted smartly. "He stole that," I offered. He eventually left: "I am going back to Fox, where I work." [He sort of proved our point, didn't he?] Since I had a camera on me, I yelled back: "You are supposed to report the news, not make it!" Things were going great for a while...Unfortunatelly, the same lack of political focus that lead to accepting Fox umbrellas, got us one of the speakers that started attacking Gore for inviting Murdock to Columbia: "They are best friends..." At this point, this reporter lost her cool and became part of the story, heckling mightily. It's still unclear to me how the supposed friendship between the two furthered our claims about Faux's bias...I wish someone would learn the fact that you cannot build a political coalition by attacking each other needlessly. I started to feel the rain on me, so after being pushed away from the stage I went home and started writing this. I truly wish we'd agree on who the enemy is. --

P.S. Correction : in my report I referred to Judy Klass' speech as
revealing that Roger Ailes was
W's image maker. In reality, he was Poppy's:

NEWSFLASH! Media hypocrisy in-depth: The head of Fox News is none other than Roger Ailes, an adviser to the older George Bush during the 1988 campaign. Ailes coached Vice President Bush to sound less nasal and prissy, and to talk more like his boss Ronald Reagan, more breathy and folksy and jocular. And Ailes taught him to chop up and down with his hands, instead of wimpily flapping his arms."

"When Ailes came by, handing the Fox logo umbrellas, feigning concern for the protesters, I looked him straight in the eyes and said to him: "You should care so much about democracy" He returned a poisonous stare that seemed to go on forever"-Chris B, Democracy NYC

Leah Faerstein

[I'd say the enemies are rightwing coup-sters, the complicity of a corporate press in shoring up the coup, and the co-opting of even certain parts of the supposed "left" by a rightwing hegemony.--Mike Rectenwald]

Also read Bill Givens' account

Also see Tampa Faux News Protest