Robert B. Bluey | Staff Writer | Wednesday, September 1, 2004
The gathering brought throngs of anti-Fox demonstrators from divergent groups that included CodePink, Houston Global Awareness, the Ronald Reagan Home for the Criminally Insane and the Tejas Bloc.
The rally itself featured typical chants - "Shut up Fox" and "The more you watch, the less you know" - but several participants took a much harsher tone toward Fox News and its audience.
"Republicans are stupid! They watch Fox News," blared a poster held by Karen Minsberg, 51, of Brooklyn. When asked if it was a bit harsh, she told CNSNews.com absolutely not.
"We're not buying your bull*** anymore," she said in reference to the station. "We're insulted. We're angry. If you think this passes for news, go back to f****** kindergarten."
Others brought a more civil tone to the protest, but each expressed anger toward the nation's leading cable news channel.
"I'm a visual artist, and I do subversive work. I'm trying to get a message across, and hopefully, some people will wake up in middle America," said Mike Joyce, 56, of New York. "It's misinformation, and people believe it because it's coming from a TV box."
Getting the attention of Fox News' viewers won't be easy, according to Elizabeth Oram, 50, of New York. She said even movies like "Outfoxed," which accuses the station of pandering to Republicans, won't reach everyone.
"The Fox culture is very seductive," Oram said. "It's always seductive when you're told to hate a group of people, when you're told to fear, when you're told to rally around the flag. Promoting that fear is not a democratically productive thing to do right now."
Another New Yorker, Jay Goldstein, 37, added, "I imagine that the people who watch Fox start out as smart people with opinions that are different than mine who let them be reinforced by the nonsense that Fox News puts out."
At the anti-Fox rally were a handful of Fox supporters, led by Kristinn Taylor, 42, co-leader of FreeRepublic.com's Washington, D.C., chapter. He said protesters had been calling him names and trying to obstruct his pro-Fox placards.
"The problem is they don't like it when an opposing view is presented," Taylor said. "There are only five or six of us. We're off to the side, and yet they're like bees to honey. They just can't resist. It would be a lot smarter of them to ignore us, but they just don't have it in them."
Taylor said he wasn't surprised to see the protesters calling Fox News viewers stupid or attacking middle Americans as ignorant.
"That's because they hate middle America," he said. "They hate people who live decent lives, go to work every day. Not a lot of them do."
While some protesters admitted they rarely tuned into Fox News, Carlton Kim, 23, of New York, said he likes to keep tabs on what the station is doing.
"It's almost like you watch it to hate it. They just have so many voices, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and his little puppet [Alan] Colmes, the very ultra-liberal guy," Kim said. "Fox is clearly not following by the rules. That's why I'm out here. I'm a pissed off citizen."
Kim said he wasn't pleased with any of the mainstream media outlets, but Fox News was the best place to start. Meanwhile, Minsberg, with her poster in hand, said she had received a warm reception from reporters passing through the crowd.
"I am sure every news organization in town is happy we're out here today," she said. "Every reporter I've talked to is happy we're here today standing up for truth and democracy."
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