Yesterday, Fox News’ Stuart Varney claimed he found an ad Occupy Wall Street placed on Craigslist offering $10 an hour for people to pose as protesters and “hang out” in Zuccotti Park for two days of protest. As we revealed yesterday, Varney’s claim is bullshit — Occupy Wall Street had nothing to do with the ad, and it was actually posted by a for-profit price club business.
Varney used the claim in an attempt to humiliate the OWS movement, joking on his TV show yesterday about how funny it is that a group that’s so anti-capitalism would offer a cash incentive to “hang out” in a park. Varney’s fans used his false claim to suggest that even OWS members know their movement is losing steam.
So Varney’s corrected his error, right? Wrong — we’ve reached out to Varney and the PR squad at News Corp — Fox News’ parent company — multiple times since we exposed Varney’s false claim asking for an explanation, or an apology, or a correction — anything. We’ve heard nothing back — all while the faux-story is building up steam on Varney’s Facebook page.
If you missed our story on Varney’s bogus claim, click here.
Basically what happened is Varney — or someone on his staff —
stumbled upon a Craigslist ad recruiting paid protesters to go to
Zuccotti Park yesterday and today “hang out” during a protest. No
where in the ad does it mention anything about Occupy Wall Street, but
because OWS rhetoric (the whole “99 percent” thing) was used in the ad,
Varney determined it was the work of the occupiers.
However, a quick Google search revealed that the group that posted the
ad wasn’t OWS, but a company using OWS rhetoric to help launch its
website by staging a “protest” (launch party) in Zuccotti Park — the
same park where OWS got its start.
The company is called AllOURPower. It’s described on its website as a “united movement of consumers pooling their buying
power to force companies, large and small, to lower prices for AOP
members. The AOP purchasing power will save you money on gas, groceries,
insurance, electronics, cellular providers, Internet services, hotels,
car rentals and on and on and on.”
In other words, it’s a price club.
The company’s founder, Joe Kalfa, said yesterday that he also planned to let
Varney know that he’s the one who posted the ad — not Occupy Wall
Street (it’s unclear whether Kalfa actually alerted Varney’s show — he couldn’t immediately be reached this afternoon). Yet, Varney’s done nothing to correct the error.
On his Facebook page, Varney posted the screen shot from his television
show we’ve posted below. He gave it the caption “HELP WANTED! Even as the
weather gets warmer, the Occupy movement seem
to be having trouble finding fresh protesters. Just take a look at this
ad posted over the weekend.”
Since the image was posted yesterday, it’s tallied 173 Facebook shares, 146 “likes,” and over 100 comments, the vast majority of which are mocking the OWS movement.
“Paying people to protest is
asinine. That’s like paying people to go to church, to volunteer at the
local food bank or vote,” Varney fan Diana Mead Burns commented. “People who protest do it because
it’s something important to you personally. Paying people to protest
corrupts their message, and frankly, says they’ve lost their battle.”
Vicki Staggs Sanifer writes “they have to pay people! ha!”
Get your tinfoil helmets ready for this one because Maggie Guerrero Buckley offers the following rant about grammar and conspiracy theories (all sic): “(Aside from the usage
mistake: “Were” instead of “we’re”)… And this “Movement” is supposed
to be so grassroots, so organic by the “1%.” < Irony Alert!>
Right! In truth, we know that Occupy Wallstreet is being not only
funded, but orchestrated by a radical liberal gazillionaire! It is
despicable how radical socialists can exploit the ignorant, the
unsophisticated, the young, the ideal; these “useful idiots” are treated
as disposable collateral damage!”
Again, Varney’s claim that the “99 percent” is hiring protesters is “100 percent” bullshit — the least he could do is set the record straight.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 10, 2012