Those attending Comcast’s annual meeting of shareholders in Philadelphia on May 15 might have to wade through a throng of conservative protesters angry about the media conglomerate’s news coverage at its left-leaning MSNBC cable network.
And since some of the demonstrators are also shareholders, they’re planning on taking their act inside, as well, where they’ll accuse Comcast CEO Brian Roberts of engaging in liberal propaganda instead of news at MSNBC.
The initiative is Stage 1 in an effort organized by tea partyers and other right-wing activists to challenge Roberts about Comcast’s news operations in a variety of public forums.
This week, 60,000 invitations were emailed to tea partyers in and around Philadelphia and word went out to about 4 million more nationwide that their services are needed beginning at 8 a.m. EST at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Perelman Theater in Philadelphia, where Comcast’s meeting is set.
“The news programs at NBC and MSNBC, run by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, reflect total agreement with the Obama agenda,” reads the email, which comes from FreedomWorks, one of the nation’s leading tea-party groups. “These ‘news’ organizations even adopted the Obama re-election campaign’s ‘Forward’ slogan. Is this what Comcast subscribers and American voters need?”
The invitation also takes a swipe at a controversial recent promotion for MSNBC, where the network’s Melissa Harris-Perry suggests that kids don’t belong to their families but "to whole communities.” See the video below.
“If you’ve been waiting to tell MSNBC boss Brian Roberts that the government doesn’t own your kids, like they claimed in a recent commercial, now is your chance!” the invitation says. “It’s one thing to be supportive of the president. It’s another thing to parade propaganda as objective news.”
Among the organizers are Tom and Deneen Borelli, who have a habit of showing up at shareholders meetings for a variety of companies they own stock in and asking CEOs pointed questions relating to their commitment to free markets and capitalism. Deneen Borelli also runs a group called Empower, which has been critical of MSNBC's Al Sharpton.
Several years ago when GE was majority owner of NBCUniversal the Borellis chastised GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt at a shareholders meeting where Fox News personality Jesse Watters also confronted him, followed by other shareholders that day who also complained about the NBC News division. That night, Bill O'Reilly featured the incident during The O'Reilly Factor.
Borelli promises to similarly grill Roberts next week.
The shareholder meeting, he says, “is going to be the first step in our Comcast campaign. Conservatives around the country are really upset over the class warfare, race baiting and anti-Second Amendment propaganda advanced by MSNBC. Roberts also can be expected to feel our grass-roots presence at public events where he will be present.”
Comcast and MSNBC were unavailable for comment.
“Most Americans don’t know who Roberts is or that Comcast owns NBC – we aim to change that,” Borelli said.