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Fox Ignores the Alleged Beating of One of its Employees by the LAPD

Reported by Melanie - May 5, 2007 -

It's not all that hard to imagine the hysterical 24/7 coverage Fox would devote to news that one of its employees was beaten, say, by antiwar demonstrators or ACLU members or a gang of "Hollywood actors." We'd hear about it for days on end. But when one of its employees actually is beaten, by the police, raising significant First Amendment concerns, it's a non-issue, as Fox made clear last night (May 4, 2007).

Fox camerawoman, Patricia "Patti" Ballaz, announced yesterday during a news conference that she is filing suit against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD, "for injuries she sustained while filming the MacArthur Park Immigration Rights Rally in Los Angeles, CA. on May 1, 2007 for Fox TV News."

A mere six hours after Ballaz's press conference, during Special Report w/Brit Hume, Fox's prime time "news" program, substitute host Jim Angle completely ignored what happened to Ballaz in a report about the ongoing investigation into the LAPD's activities that day:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has cut short his trip to Mexico to deal with the investigation into police conduct during the May Day immigration rally. Video footage showed officers firing rubber bullets and wielding batons at the crowd after some people threw objects at police and refused to disburse. Villariagosa is expected to have more to say about the incident upon his return later today and the FBI has announced it will begin an inquiry into whether the police conduct violated the protester's civil rights.

UPDATE: May 8, 2007: Thanks to one of our wonderful readers, here is video of the assault from local Fox affiliate, Fox 11 News in LA.

Comment: If Ballaz had suffered her injuries at the hands of a group Fox wanted to vilify, they'd have been all over that press conference. But, never minding the potential implications Ballaz's beating could have on the freedom of the press, something a real "news" organization would be concerned about, protecting the LAPD seems to be Fox's primary objective.