Corporate Media: The Real Brownshirts?


root - Posted on 02 January 2007

The Fang Corporate Media Family, rife with wealth, privilege and scandal slanders economic justice advocates by calling them "brownshirts"

by Valerie Schwartz/PNN Community Journalist

There are many metaphors and similes one could use when speaking of the Fang family, owners of the San Francisco Examiner Newspaper (known as the "Fang-xaminer" to many in the Bay Area) when trying to write about not only their biased editorial policies, but their accruement of wealth and power, the trail of law suits, and the exploitation of the people locally and globally. In the end I think I will have to go with the idea of the crumbs left behind the fairytale characters, Hansel and Gretel, except with a Machiavellian twist.

The Fangs seemed to have obtained the power, to have people of power "in their pockets" or indebted to them through political and corporate interests i.e. money and greed.

Frank Gallagher wrote in the Examiner on 8-26-02 describing the poor people and the advocacy groups that advocate for the homeless such as POWER, PNN and the Coalition on Homelessness, i.e., the people who opposed Gavin Newsom's Prop N.war on the poor and homeless of San Francisco as "thugs" and "brownshirts." Talk about twisting and distorting the truth!

Mr. Gallagher makes a perfect example of the Fang's editorial policies in this article and some of these are: slander, use of gutter tactics, bash and cast the poor/homeless and those who support them in a more than negative light. He would try to have them appear to his readers as a group of lepers demanding to invade the homes and jobs of John Q. Public raping, pillaging, and spreading disease and chaos. In attempting to make an acute showing of his intellectual vanity, he shows nothing more than his derriere and calculated indifference.

A little history lesson is very applicable here. If you look up the word "brownshirts" in the Macmillan Encyclopedia 2001 it says, "Brownshirts": the colloquial name for the Nazi Strumabteilung (SA; stormtroopers). Their name refers to their brown uniforms . They were founded in 1921 and reorganized by Ernst Rohm in 1930. Squads of thugs, who molested and murdered the Nazi's opponents. They numbered 2-million by 1933. In 1934 Hitler eliminated Rohm and greatly reduced the power of the brownshirts. Rohm's ambition to increase the power of the brownshirts led to his execution without trial. Kristallnacht (German: night of glass) 9-10 November 1938, when mobs led by Nazi brownshirts (Strum Abteilung) roamed the German and Austrian towns setting fire to the synagogues and smashing the windows of shops and homes owned by the Jews. This first intimation of the coming holocaust led many Jews, including the academics who helped develop the A-bomb in the USA to leave Germany.

Mr. Gallagher made a statement in the article-- which also is so typical of neo-tabloid refuse-- that said, " Sure a homeless junkie dying in a doorway--one of the hundred or so on the streets of San Francisco each year-- is great for small business." For me, especially as a person who has been homeless, poor, and a former addict articles like this are disturbing and echo hate and misinformation: they just facilitate individuation, xenophobia, and exploitation of people of color and the poor.

This is yet another stereotypic and sarcastic way to try to make the public and owners of businesses, not think of the poor/homeless as people at all but rather as addicts and filth. He would like the readers of the Examiner to believe the that the homeless, would drop dead in their doorways. He tries to emphasize that homelessness is costing big and small business alike "big money" and that tourists will go to New York instead of spending their money in San Francisco.

The fact is that we are in a "recession" and perhaps if there were adequate and affordable housing, and employment for San Franciscans, we wouldn't need to depend on the money of "tourists" so much. How different are the homeless in New York or any city other than San Francisco that tourists want only to spend their money in other cities? The answer is, no different; poverty throughout the world had always been very visible, especially to the poor themselves and to those who feel offended by poverty and other people's suffering.

It is more than obvious to me that the corporate media is becoming more and more corrupt at an incredible pace: it is not transparent if one bothers to look. What has happened to being able to present the truth, constitutional rights, and freedom of the press? Not when the media, such as the Examiner is courting the political interests of the Police Department by letting them use their building for surveillance of people on Market St. and wooing politicians such as Willie Brown.

Sources say that Mayor Brown was involved in discussions with the Examiner's Publisher Timothy White not only about the City's legal advertising contract and the litigation between Hearst Corporation and the Fang's, but had also made many calls to Janet Reno in the interest of the Fang's.

"According to Walker, White testified twice under oath that he offered favorable coverage in the Examiner's editorial pages in return for Brown's assistance completing the Chronicle deal." Richmond Review

Perhaps soon we will have virtual-media thanks to folks like the Fang's, their cronies, and vested interests. The Land of the Who? And the Home of the What???

The fact is that the Fang family has had enough bad press in regard to themselves: International fraud, money laundering, illegal campaign contributions, maximizing their incomes from subsidies and mixing it with Examiner monies and family owned businesses, an ex-employee talking of filing Civil RICO suit against them, and union busting tactics.

This bad press also includes: firing family member Ted Fang (son of matriarch Florence) for being openly Gay and HIV positive, then making a settlement with him to become a senior-advisor with Fang Family Enterprises. This included with the settlement, an "implicit gag order" that did not let him talk, or discuss, with anyone who is critical of the Examiner or Independent in regard to the "competency or honesty" of the Fang Family or its enterprises. And how about the way they treat their employees? Can you imagine? Look how they treat their own family, geez.

The facts are that I could go on and on about the sordid and insidious behavior of the Fang's who have amassed $24,000,000 in real-estate alone and that the combined incomes of the four family members on the Examiner payroll (Ted, Douglas, Angela and of course James Fang of BART) comes to a whopping $1,039,957.00 a year. This doesn't include monies from the other family businesses. It would take pages and pages to relay the information that is already factual, and the information that is allegedly stacking against them at this time, but I am sure they will suffice. As Bob Dylan said, "Money doesn't talk it swears."

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