Journalism’s New Low: LA Times Uses Facebook Trolls for Protest Coverage

Hobby Lobby ProtestOn Monday July 7, I led a protest of approximately 100 Angelenos at the grand opening of the new Hobby Lobby store in Burbank, California. Men and women ages ranging from 12 to 74 added their voices to the national expression of outrage over last week’s Supreme Court decision Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby.

In this case, the Supreme Court departed from all previous precedent and accorded private corporations religious rights and allowed them to opt out of providing contraception to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act.

A press release was sent to every major news outlet in the city. While seven TV stations sent crews and aired stories on their afternoon and evening newscasts, and the Daily News, the Daily Breeze and the Burbank Leader wrote articles, and the story was featured in advance on two radio shows and one internet podcast, the LA Times once again chose not to send a reporter or even a photographer to cover this protest of a major national issue of concern.

Instead they published this snarky hit piece by someone they identified as a “guest blogger” who “writes frequently about politics, feminism and religion” using the handle @MeanCharlotte. And mean this was.

Hobby Lobby ProtestSeeing that the only information this blogger had on our protest was taken from the Facebook event page, it appears that the LA Times has now delegated coverage of the Supreme Court’s war on women and their relentless elevation of corporate rights over individual rights to (wait for it) a Facebook troll!

The gist of her “article,” if you can even call it that, was to characterize our concern about these grave subjects as a part of “the reproductive rights mass hysteria,” to mock of our call for colorful costumes, and to critique our strategy as being ineffective to “put Hobby Lobby out of business.” Also, there was a gratuitous dig at actor George Takei who has spoken out against the decision. Mean Charlotte incredulously said that because he is gay, “it is hard to see what dog he has in this fight.”

Maybe if she were a real journalist that actually kept up with public affairs instead of trolling Facebook pages, she would have noticed that days after the decision, a group of religious leaders sent a letter to President Obama asking to be exempted from forthcoming hiring regulations that would prevent discrimination against LGBT people. They cited the Hobby Lobby decision in their letter.

Hobby Lobby ProtestSo just to make clear to LA Progressive readers, since the LA Times did not print this rebuttal that I provided them, here is my response to Mean Charlotte.

No, we didn’t think that coming in condom costumes will “put Hobby Lobby out of business.” That was not even the point of the protest. The point was to condemn the egregious overturning of decades of precedent by this extremist, activist, right wing court which is no longer interpreting law but making it from the bench.
This case joins the Citizens United and Mc Kutcheon decisions in saying not only that corporations are people with free speech rights, but they now have religious rights.

Further, this decision, along with the one removing the 35-foot buffer zone between Right to Lifers accosting women going in for an abortion, is a continuation of their war on women and their desire to return us to a day where we are barefoot and pregnant and self-aborting.

The colorful costumes were to attract the TV media, which never cover anything of substance and needs flashy visuals to be induced to come out. Obviously we were successful, as there were seven TV news crews there that afternoon.

hobby-2Mean Charlotte should check sources other than Web MD to learn that these four forms of birth control do not actually cause abortion and are in fact often used for other women’s health issues besides contraception. Even this Catholic website says they’re not abortifacients.

But that is not the point. For even if these four forms could possibly induce abortions, the next day, SCOTUS ordered some lower courts to re-open the cases where over 80 corporations have objected to providing ANY form of birth control. And if corporations now have religious rights, what’s to prevent Muslim corporations from requiring their female employees to wear burqas, for example?

Further, for someone so versed in snark and irony, why did Mean Charlotte fail to point out the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby? If David Green and his family are so opposed to these four forms of birth control, then why does their 401K plan continue to hold the stocks of the very corporations which manufacture the IUD and the morning after pill?

As far as stating that Hobby Lobby shoppers are stay at home moms and crafting Christmas decorations and thus immune to our message, her key point as to why the protest and the boycott won’t work, it so happens we had both Christians and customers of Hobby Lobby at our protest. They even spoke at the rally.

Furthermore, when the person from ‪#‎CRAFTOPTIONS‬ handed out maps with directions to and coupons for other craft stores in the area, 50% of the potential customers took them and agreed not to shop at Hobby Lobby. Our protest was what made them aware.

Also, there was no “colorful word” describing Hobby Lobby owner David Green in the Facebook event description. So Mean Charlotte was just being mean and incendiary.

lauren-steiner-moreFinally, as for her brilliant suggestion to boycott Eden Foods, seeing as she stereotypes liberals as organic soy lovers, it was not even original. If she would take her head out of Facebook and look around, she might have noticed that the liberal political group CREDO Action had already started a campaign against Eden Foods. And I announced at the rally that our next protest was going to be at a Whole Foods urging them to stop carrying Eden products. (By the way, Charlotte, this liberal hates soy products.)

This week, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, otherwise known at the #notmybossesbusiness bill. It was co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer and many others. Harry Reid is assigning it top priority.

You can add your voice by calling your Senators and signing this petition.

lauren-steiner-174x227In closing, in the rebuttal that LA Times chose not to run, letting Mean Charlotte’s diatribe remain the last word on this protest, I concluded with this admonition. “Perhaps readers of the LA Times would have been better served by your sending a reporter to cover our event, rather than let a right wing blogger who was not even there characterize it to your readership.”

To see exactly how passionate men, women, children and grandmothers spoke eloquently about this issue, I invite you to watch the 19 minute video of our protest and decide for yourself how valuable it was. And Mean Charlotte, you’re invited too. :)

Lauren Steiner

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. the-truth-searcher (on Reddit) says

    The LA Times has become a “real sleaze-ball outfit”, and now, they might even be “provably corrupt” and in bed with a corrupt foreign corporation (and maybe more than one)!. Pass it on (we are not afraid of the truth – THEY are)!

    Pretty crazy for a “newspaper” and ALL their journalists, not to want to have to tell the public the truth about what they did in 2004 and, therefore, continue in the cover-up, right up to this posting.

  2. the-truth-searcher (on Reddit) says

    Oh, it gets a whole lot worse than even this. Now the LA Times has been accused of helping to cover up a 2004 academic scandal (together with the very corrupt Siemens corporation that put on this “competition”).

    Keep checking on Reddit for some news of this in the coming weeks (under “inthenews”). They are now TERRIFIED that this will soon become known and are having their lawyers look for any way possible way to make this huge scandal (and maybe even criminal conspiracy), just go away, so they will not have to admit it! Their one attempt to do this has already failed and now everyone there is just under a complete gag order, and not being allowed to talk about it, at all. NO DENIALS THOUGH!

    Check it out, if you don’t believe it and get the word out if they won’t talk to you about it – because that will definitely mean we are telling the truth. Many, many people (including some “former” attorneys and journalists may have been part of the very insidious and “sleazy” scheme) .

    You may also contact Paradyme Systems USA to learn more about it. (see their pressonly email address)

  3. Christine says

    Applause!!!! Sending tons of kudos to all of you who participated. Wish I could have been there . . .because I certainly am in spirit. Thank you from N. CA!!!!

  4. says

    Well done, Lauren. You are absolutely right about LAT coverage. Alas, this is the trend–fewer reporters, less news hole, and far less solid journalism. Some idiot consultants have conned newspapers into believing that digital is so important that they need to bring in online comments. They believe this will make the papers more “relevant.” It doesn’t, since most comments like Mean’s are just that–unintelligent babble, reproduced through a newspaper’s megaphone. In this case, I attribute the LAT failure to cover this issue as laziness with a layer of incompetence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *