Saturday, November 19, 2011

KMOV's Relentless Smear Campaign Against the 99% Movement

KMOV already has a horrible track record of ideological axe-grinding on behalf of the 1%. They've ignored 4,300 person rallies against corporate greed while hyping 700 person tea party rallies as evidence of a "populist uprising." They've run numerous hit pieces on the recipients of food stamps, while ignoring the actual causes of our country's financial troubles. And they regularly take cheap shots at local universities with lazy and petty "reports" that sound like they came straight from the mouth of Rush Limbaugh. In short, it's basically impossible at this point to regard KMOV as a trustworthy source of information, since it's clear that prefer to push their own confused beliefs on viewers while posing as "objective journalists."

With this in mind, it really should be no surprise that KMOV would openly display their bias against the members of the 99% movement who protest the status quo that KMOV desperately strives to protect. Nevertheless, the consistency of their skewed reporting on this issue has been a sight to behold. Some recent examples:

As already reported on this blog, KMOV reporter Craig Cheatham decided to use his coverage of the arrests last Friday as an opportunity to make "smelly hippy" jokes.

In the courtroom on Tuesday, KMOV reporter Mark Synder's story was dripping with sarcasm and derision:

Both Mills and the next occupy witness, Chrissie Brooks made it clear occupying Keiner 24 hours a day IS their political expression. If they can't do that, their free speech is being violated.

This brought approval from a dozen or so occupiers in the gallery. I know this because some held their hands up wiggling their fingers. That's the sign for, "we agree, we have consensus." I learned that on the Colbert Report.

Brooks provided another memorable moment when the attorney for the city asked her about occupiers trying to get a permit from the city to be in Keiner 24 hours a day indefinitely. She couldn't get one.

The attorney for the city asked her, "Were you told your political message was the reason you were denied a permit?"

Brooks answered, "No," then added, "but it felt like it."

And reporter Maggie Crane said that if you were stuck in traffic on Thursday on the MLK bridge, you should "blame" Occupy STL:
But what really took the cake was Marc Cox's tea party hit job on Occupy St. Louis yesterday, perfectly symbolic of the disrespect KMOV regularly shows for people who are outside of the establishment they lazily cater to.

KMOV has updated their story at bit since the original hack job, but I took a screen shot of the original story:

The real story is that a homeless man who was not a regular member of the Occupy encampment followed a woman into a tent and groped her breast. The police were called right away and the man was arrested. So it seems to me like (1) this story offers zero support for the tea party narrative that the actual occupiers are violent criminals and (2) offers very little support for the idea that the encampments are particularly dangerous places.

But this is not the impression you would get from watching KMOX's original coverage. Unlike KSDK, they did not report that the assaulter was a homeless man who was not part of the movement. Now, it's worth noting, there are several homeless people who are active and contributing members of the encampment, so just because someone is homeless does not mean that they're not part of the group. But the key distinction here is that the guy was not an active participant in the group, but rather was someone who just came by for the resources that the occupiers provide.

Second, in a complete violation of the rules of basic journalism, the reporter Mark Cox did not even bother to get a quote from a member of Occupy St. Louis. He just posted his smear piece and only later wrote a new story that included quotes from the occupiers, which as it happened provided the important context that the assaulter was not a part of the actual movement.

And finally, KMOV included a video of tea partier Gary Wiegart looking like Nosferatu, claiming that this incident proved that the darn hippies should have been immediately kicked out of Kiener Plaza.
"I vant to suck your blood. Also: white people are oppressed!"

KMOV in the original story referred to Wiegart only as a police officer, and only later noted that he's actually a registered lobbyist for the St. Louis Tea Party. In fact, Wiegert has a long history of extremism and conspiracy theories; he was the guy who invented the race-baiting conspiracy theory that Republican House Speaker Steve Tilley was in league with the New Black Panther Party because Tilley supported local control.

Just imagine if this were a story about a different institution. If an alleged sexual assault had taken place at a Bank of America, and a liberal activist made a video claiming that this proved that Bank of America creates an environment that encourages sexual assault, can you envision KMOV, under any circumstances, pushing this story without even asking Bank of America for a comment or doing basic research into the person making the claim? Of course not. They would never do it; they reserve their scorn and derision for people they think can't fight back.

What's worse, after KMOV wrote up this pathetic excuse for journalism, they then, from their main news Twitter feed, begged right-wing activist Dana Loesch to promote it for them:
Reporter Mark Cox then appeared on Loesch's radio show, and pretty clearly indicated that he didn't believe the Occupiers:

When I criticized KMOV on Twitter, they couldn't defend the fact that they didn't get quotes from Occupy St. Louis, nor that they were directly lobbying a right-wing activist to push their hatchet piece. But they did hilariously claim that their reporter had "uncovered" the story (actually, all he did was write down the tea party spin) and informed me that the Occupy St. Louis folks were welcome to try to track down the reporter if they wanted to be represented in his hit job on them.

So, in addition to an already horrible track record, we have three KMOTea reporters who made snide, condescending comments about Occupy St. Louis, and now an absolutely pathetically lazy smear piece by Marc Cox. This is not a case a "few bad apples" or careless mistakes; it pretty clearly represents a culture of bias and ideological axe-grinding at KMOTea. Why would anyone trust them as a news source?

1 comment:

  1. It has become more than obvious that KMOV is sucking up to the Tea Party crowd.

    We won't want it anymore.