A Call To March On Fox

Monday, November 22, 2004



A Call To March On Fox

For refusing to tell the truth about the rigged election


Ari Cohen

(Permission here granted for unlimited distribution of this article.)

In my recent blog,

The Whole World Is Watching! Tactics And Strategy: A Total Battle Plan For Democrats To Take Back America From The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy


I called for marches against the rigged election and stressed the importance of targeting protests against the news organizations that refuse to tell us the truth. Indeed, they refuse to tell us the truth about the rigged election — of which there is massive, documented evidence — as if the dirtiest election in American history just never happened that’s all. For a historical comparison, they might as well be telling us that President Kennedy never got shot. Why, he’s living in an old age home in Poughkeepsie!

And we can’t just merely wait and run people for office next time because the election system has been totally trashed and compromised. They’ve run over our democracy like road kill. And now, to heap further insult on this abomination, they are telling us it just never happened.

So what is left for us to do? We have to stop thinking like government clerks and bean counters about how this or that governmental or legal process has or has not been exhausted, important though those measures are and vital to continue and support. We can’t just be limited to that and then walk away when we run out of these “fixed options.” We have to start thinking about the intangibles of power — the subtle, de facto elements and forces that underlie more tangible, de jure power.

We need to deny the usurper legitimacy today, tomorrow, over and over, again and again, as long as it takes, in protest after protest, so that the country and the world know that this is an illegitimate bastard of a president. All the tangibles that we are desperately trying to calculate and bean count will eventually fall into place after the truth is recognized and the aura of legitimacy is denied. Again and again we must deny Bush legitimacy, over and over, as long as it takes. Like Jeremiah we must speak the truth over and over though they stone us with stones. Again and again and again as long as it takes we must persevere and tirelessly repeat that Bush did not win and he stole the election.

In short, the stolen election was an EVICTION NOTICE to every Democrat and freedom lover in America: GET OUT OF YOUR HOMES AND MARCH!

I am now making a specific call for a specific march with a specific objective:

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.

In New York City.

To demand that they tell the truth about the rigged election!


For many reasons. To begin with, we have been confronted with a vicious circle. On the one hand the vast right wing conspiracy in this country is taking our democracy away from us. On the other hand the very outcry that could stop this, which has already sporadically begun, is suppressed, smothered, stifled, strangulated and covered up by news organizations like Fox. The Statue of Liberty is being murdered. But she’s also being gagged so she can’t cry out for help as she comes under attack. Because of a quiet media it’s a total Catch-22.

Thus, news organizations like Fox are central to the problem of the rigged election. Fox is the leading media enabler of the rigged election. They’d never get away with it without collaborator news organizations like Fox.

The media seeks to deny even the existence of our marches but their suppression of the truth is not yet total. Therefore, we must combine objectives. To break through we must march against Fox specifically for the obscenity of refusing to tell the truth about the rigged election. This is the focal point for our burning magnifying lens and we must maintain the pressure at precisely this point no matter how long it takes until we make a complete breakthrough.

The central issue is not healthcare. The central issue is not even the war in Iraq. The central issue is not the minimum wage or drugs from Canada or terrorism or lowering taxes or raising taxes on the rich so that they pay their fair share. All the aspirations of the American people, good, bad or ugly, pro or con, left or right amount to nothing unless we have a democracy that can actualize those dreams. Without the safeguards of democracy, we have no worker safety, no safe food, no safe air and water, no safe building construction, no safe bridges or airplanes, no reliable healthcare or medicine, no safe surgery, nothing. More than any weapon used in anger in Iraq, more than any hoodlum attacking in a dark alley, every vote stolen on November 2nd was an actual knife cutting flesh.

Now we are confronted by a threat not to peoples far away, not to the dissemination of democracy overseas, about which Americans may argue, but a threat to our own democracy, which no thinking American regardless of ideology can support — the actual destruction of our freedom and democracy in state after state and not just in the “battleground” swing or tossup states but everywhere, with dirty tricks, literal stealing of Democratic campaign signs all over the country in epidemic proportions, harassment and threats to voters, minority vote suppression, dirty judges, obstructed and even trashed voter registrations in monumental proportions, the disappearance of vast numbers of votes into thin air, utterly false tallies with the real tallies found on documents discarded in the back of election facilities, Bush actually receiving more votes than there were registered voters in key areas, the appearance of piles of other votes discarded, uncounted and wet in an area where there had been no rain, the failure to count huge numbers of votes because Republican “watchers” made bald-faced lies about the voters’ eligibility to vote, voting machines across the country that a child could hack, a bogus terror “alert” at an election site, which served as an excuse to kick out observers, a truckload of votes being driven off in a truck with a Bush-Cheney sticker on it, as verified in a photograph taken of the truck at the time, showing both the sticker and the piles of votes in back, voting computers in location after location that shamelessly had the totals for Bush and Kerry neatly switched, electric voting machines that literally started counting backwards after they reached certain totals for Kerry, indeed electric voting machines so filled with grievous errors and falsehoods, not randomly but repeatedly favoring Bush, that they were no better than one-armed-bandit Vegas slot machines. That’s what this whole election has been: A one-armed-bandit Las Vegas slot machine.

This would never happen in any other mature democracy because there would be an outcry that would shake the rafters. It happened here because that outcry is obscenely stifled and suppressed — by Fox.

Should we protest the rigged election? Or should we protest Fox? We do both — right in front of the offices of Fox. Fox is the number one gag on the outcry against the rigged election.

Fox has been among the most egregious of shills for Bush and the right wing. It has lied constantly during the election and plays a key role in covering up what really happened during the most crooked election in American history. And the American people will not stand for it if only they know the truth.

New York, where the key offices of Fox are located, is also the news media capital of the world. Protesting at Fox in New York will immediately attract the interest of the other news organizations in the city and it will be easy for them to send over someone to take a look at the protest because of the excellent mass transit in the city.

If protesters can make it on a weekday key people at Fox will be there to run into the protesters and see them with their own eyes. Thus we get to be up close and personal. The perfect moment would be if Rupert Murdoch himself showed up, in which case we could get in some good chants against him. And so, if possible, we want to start the protest early. We want to keep it going all day and we want the best of it to happen long before the evening 6 pm news broadcasts in the city, so those broadcasts have plenty of time to get reports on the protest ready. And we want the shouts and chants to continue vehemently all day, so that there is no point in the day when the media can get footage of us slacking off and claim it was no big deal. A nonviolent, legal, verbal confrontation, protected by free speech, between us and Murdoch or his people could add to the reporting on the protest. This is New York. A big mouth gets respect. Monday would be good because protesters would be able to arrive in the city a day early on Sunday without missing an extra day of work. They could then spend Sunday getting the protest ready and getting acclimatized to the city and its mass transit systems. If for logistical reasons a weekday is not possible, a Sunday would still allow more time to get ready than a Saturday. Again, a weekday would offer the greatest contact with the people we are protesting. If it has to be on a weekend a Sunday would mean that what coverage we get would appear in the Monday morning papers. So the personnel at Fox and its affiliates would at least be seeing the story of our protest on their desks as they return from the weekend off.

It is also important to know that the media does not cover a story by “osmosis.” News organizations are so large with everything so broken up by so many departments that nobody covers your story unless you repeatedly contact the correct people in advance. For each participating protest group it is necessary to find out exactly who, by name, are the precise people in each news organization in the city that would handle this kind of story, who are the key columnists, reporters and assignment editors and so on to whom this story would be relevant. In some cases this story would be seen as fitting into more than one department. The key people must then be told over and over, called, reminded, sent faxes and repeatedly given updates to catch their interest days ahead of the march date. Then remind them over and over as the march date approaches. This is a prerequisite for getting media attention in New York. Prepare attractive, eye-catching faxes that are charming, funny and tongue-in-cheek to get papers and reporters interested and keep them interested. Do not be critical of anyone but Fox and Bush in theses faxes and certainly not of the media we are inviting to the protest. Be sure they all get faxes on the actual day of the march too. Faxes are probably more important than emails as a lot of important people never read most of their emails. Many columnists in New York get literally thousands of email. They’re lucky to even see the subject line. We want to get past that. We want a secretary putting a big, eye-catching fax right on their desk.

To maintain march discipline it is helpful to have march “marshals,” designated personnel throughout the march with identifiable armbands or the like and radios or cell phones, who can maintain the order of the march and see to it that people are not doing things that would discredit the march. This was very helpful during protests in the 1960s and helped stop government agents provocateurs from disrupting, diverting or embarrassing the protest, such as by burning an American flag, wearing lewd or offensive clothing or shouting slogans or displaying signs that only discredit the cause. Right wing news outlets will be looking for such embarrassments to discredit us. No good march takes place without discipline. And no activity should be allowed at the protest that wasn’t carefully planned out by organizers in advance. Government informants can instigate “spontaneous events” or shout to people to head off somewhere else and all this can destroy the effort. No unplanned events must be trusted or tolerated. Get your act together ahead of time in consultation with organizers and don’t let anyone divert us on wild goose chases. Written instructions should be distributed among protesters explaining policies of the organizers and also offering helpful information and a map of the area. Marshals can also prevent activities that could give the police an excuse to break up the protest. Organization personnel should also distribute petitions throughout the crowd and collect signatures and emails. After the protest participating organizations can share the signatures and use the lists for email fundraising purposes to help make the movement against Fox and the rigged election grow. For this reason the petition should advocate something relating to Fox and the rigged election in a way that everyone at the march is sure to agree. We want everyone signing. We want to be able to contact everyone by email after the protest so we can organize for the next protest.

All the news organizations in the city are based in the same borough, Manhattan, where the transportation is excellent and nobody can later claim they couldn’t get to the protest. (There are only a handful of exceptions, news organizations that service New York City but are based in New Jersey and Long Island, among them Long Island’s Newsday, which is fairly progressive.) New York buses, taxis and a vast subway system provide exceptional access. This also offers exceptional access for protesters. There are nearly five hundred subway stations in New York City and there is no location in all of Manhattan where there isn’t a subway station walking distance nearby, and all the subway lines in the city are linked up and interconnected underground, with no need to buy a second fare.

Many of the news organizations in the city, while refusing to believe that they are slanted, have nevertheless harbored contempt for Murdoch and his news organizations for years since Murdoch and Company’s arrival in New York. It has been a repeated source of mockery to these competitors of Murdoch that Murdoch’s New York Post once ran a screaming headline entitled, “Headless Man Found In Topless Bar!” Although the article was apparently fact-based (police apparently did find such a body in such a place), the headline has nevertheless become symbolic of everything other news organizations in the city don’t like about the gratuitous leering sensationalism of Murdoch’s news organizations, their willingness to stoop to any depth instead of telling truly important news. The better New York papers also like to refer derogatorily to the New York Post as a “tabloid,” in practice a reference to gratuitous sensationalism, although technically the term “tabloid” refers to a particular size and type of paper. And New York as a city has far more class than Murdoch and his empire, and his competitors in the city don’t like him for that. In fact, Murdoch only became an American citizen because of laws limiting multiple American media holdings for foreigners. A lot of New York media people haven’t forgotten that Murdoch is really an Australian.

People elsewhere in the country have been suckered by Murdoch but a lot of media people in New York haven’t been and are sick of Murdoch. And we want to play on this.

Murdoch and his organizations have been nailed by “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism,” a documentary film sponsored by MoveOn.org and the Center For American Progress. The film has its own site with trailer and many other downloads here:


The film includes numerous on-camera testimonials by former Fox personnel attesting to the adulteration of the news by Fox. The claimed evils of Fox are not just opinion. They’ve been documented. And you can’t even tune in Fox without seeing some ranting and raving blowhard forcing some new lie down your throat.

We want to go after Fox not only because its adulteration of the news has been glaring and ostentatious but because this is also a shot across the bow, a warning to other news organizations that if you go too far in distorting the news, you too are going to get protests. But we are not protesting other news organizations. We are targeting protests at Fox and graciously inviting other news organizations to cover it as we ourselves cut the deck by covering it ourselves by posting information, photos and videos of the protest online. Everybody bring cameras and video cameras to the protest, and notepaper, and post your reports online. Smaller cameras are easier to conceal if police try to confiscate them. A darker camera is less noticeable. Do not post anything that could be detrimental to the protest or that could give the police evidence against some protester. Organizers should determine which of the posted information, photos and videos should be shared rapidly and aggressively with the news media so they can’t claim they didn’t know about this or that. Rapidly follow up this information sharing with incessant but polite detailed phone call “reminders” to news people or their voicemails so that even before they make their first reports on the protest we are letting them know that we know that they know that we both know that they know what happened.

Note that Fox, being located in New York City, along with the other leading news organizations of the country, is thus located in the same city where the Republican National Convention was held in ‘04. Many activist organizations were there to protest the GOP convention. They have thus had recent experience doing it in the city. They had a chance to learn the terrain, get to know the transportation and layout of the city, how to survive here, find adequate food and lodging and everything else needed for mass events here. Logistically, the activist movement is ready for a march on Fox.

New York also has a huge, intelligent, liberal, sophisticated and classy population that is sympathetic to protests and voted for Kerry in the election. Many prominent liberal and activist actors and celebrities live in New York. You see them on the street, in restaurants, around town, and unlike the crazed, brain dead Arnold groupies in California, people actually respect actors in New York and leave them alone. Definitely, New York is a classy place. And many of these celebrities have been involved with activist causes for years. New Yorkers famous and otherwise will attend protests in huge numbers. True, the mayor is a Republican, but even there it should be noted that he is a relatively moderate one (by national GOP standards) and he ran as a Republican in part because he didn’t think he could get the Democratic nomination. He had previously supported President Clinton.

While this is not a perfect situation, it is better than having to go in to protest in a city with a hardcore right wing establishment. Despite all fair criticism that might be made, New York police also have a lot of experience dealing with large protests and are more laid back and less trigger happy than in some more reactionary parts of the country.

Without overlooking the known corruption of New York cops, cops in New York will often stroll into a disorder more professionally, far more casually (smart policy) and with less affectation than, say, cops in Washington, D.C., where they are often determined to swagger and prove their manhood. I won’t say things were perfect at the RNC convention. They just would have been a lot worse in a lot of other cities. Once, in an anti-Vietnam War march in New York in the ‘60s, someone threw a bag of cement mix off a high-rise construction site along the route. It streamed down toward the protesters ominously like a trail of smoke. No one was hurt but the police stormed into that building like they were going after any hoodlum in the act. That’s better than you might get from the police in a redneck region.

There should probably be an effort to offer soda, orange juice or coffee to the police at the protest and in a city like New York it might actually bring some good results, more so than in some other cities. We don’t want a bad incident with the police if we can avoid it, because it gives the media an excuse to use it to discredit us. Tell the police you appreciate their efforts on 9/11 and the sacrifices they made back them. They are not the enemy. Fox is.

As a place to take a first stand against the rigged election New York compares favorably to less hospitable locations such as Florida and Ohio, both controlled governmentally more solidly by the Republicans. Even Washington, D.C. is more hostile terrain, not only because the entire federal government is now under Republican control but because fear of terrorism threatening government officials has turned Washington, D.C. into a paranoid armed camp. Despite 9/11, this is not the case in New York. In fact, even right after 9/11 New Yorkers were actually a lot less paranoid than people in many other parts of the country. In other parts of the country dumb rednecks were refusing to let airlines take off until some Sikh with a turban got booted off the plane, even though Sikhs belong to a Hindu offshoot and are not Moslems. Nothing like that happens in New York despite all the major airports in the city area. And New York is a highly multi-ethnic city where the whole populace has ages of practice in being tolerant.

New York is a gigantic city spread over a huge harbor and multiple rivers and islands, with an enormous population and when a paper here reports some shocking local event it does not have the same personal impact emotionally as if it had happened in a smaller town. Things happen all the time in New York because it’s such an enormous city, so if it happened elsewhere in the city people don’t feel as if it happened to them personally. In recent years there have been rare weak tornadoes in New York City, especially in the seaward Borough of Staten Island. This is new and it is the result of global warming. But nobody freaks out screaming, “Dang! There was a tornado in our ever-lovin’ blessed town!” The reaction among city residents has been, “Tornado in Staten Island? Uh-huh.” After 9/11 in New York there were no crazed rednecks roaming the streets with shotguns and axe handles. You can be sure there would have been if it had happened in Texas.

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