Accuracy in Media

Over 30 years ago my father Reed Irvine was trying to figure out how he could get the major networks and newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post to actually answer his letters critiquing their news coverage. The answer he thought was to buy a small number of shares in these publicly traded companies and attend their shareholder meetings and to ask questions. To get some more support he even offered to sell at cost a share to any AIM member who was willing to attend the meetings with him. He became a regular at many of these meetings barraging the publisher or chairman with many embarrassing questions. In one case, The New York Times determined it was safer to hold a private meeting between AIM representatives and the publisher and executive editor of the Times rather than face my father and Murray Baron the President of AIM in a shareholder meeting.

These efforts did bear some fruit over the years, but the victories were few and tough to achieve.

Contrast that today with what the left has done. They have either bought stock themselves or banded together with teacher, labor and religious organizations to apply a great deal of pressure on major corporations to approve their resolutions on global warming, executive pay, human rights and many others. They have in effect managed to turn corporate shareholder meetings into their bully pulpit.

Now the conservatives are trying to catch up and maybe overtake the left in their shareholder activism and try and restore some common sense in the boardrooms of major corporations. They have started a mutual fund called the Free Enterprise Action Fund. Led by Steven Milloy editor of junkscience.com, the fund launched in March 2005 and has raised $4.3 million to date. Not very large in the mutual fund world where most funds are in the billions, but it just got started. The money has been invested in the 400 largest companies in the U.S. and gives the fund a voice at shareholder meetings. The more money they are able to raise the bigger their stick at the meetings.

Conservatives should at this not as much as a financial investment but an investment in the future of this country as the fund strives to halt the leftist tide in our major corporations.




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