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Free Enterprise Project Asks Media Giant to Answer for Statements Made by Ali Velshi, Hallie Jackson, Others
Washington, D.C. – During today’s annual Comcast investor meeting, a shareholder activist with the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) asked CEO Brian L. Roberts about MSNBC’s apparent support for rioting Antifa radicals. A rattled Roberts – whose company owns NBCUniversal – failed to condemn these comments made by MSNBC personalities, and simply praised the network for its efforts to “inform the American public” and “educate our society.”
“Brian Roberts had every opportunity to take a direct stand against Antifa and its violence, but he chose to take a knee instead,” said Justin Danhof, Esq., general counsel and FEP director at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “MSNBC has been giving cover to Antifa for years, and it continues to do so even as the nation burns from Antifa’s violent torch. After today’s shareholder meeting, it seems like Comcast’s leadership also supports Antifa’s mayhem. What a sad day for all Comcast investors, customers and employees.”
Following the death of George Floyd and the arrest of a Minneapolis police officer charged with his murder, riots and looting have flared up across America. Radicals affiliated with the Antifa movement have been identified as instigators of violence that has led to additional murders, harm to first responders and incalculable economic and property damage. U.S. Attorney General William Barr called the rioting “domestic terrorism” and promised an investigation of Antifa. President Donald Trump has pledged to designate Antifa a domestic terrorist group.
In his question to Roberts, Danhof referenced MSNBC coverage that has sought to downplay the radicalism of the rioters. He quoted MSNBC correspondent Ali Velshi, who called Minnesota rioting a “protest” and “not… unruly” while reporting in front of a burning building. Velshi also said that focusing on Antifa rioters “misses the point” about larger issues of race relations.
Danhof’s question, as prepared for the meeting, read:
After days of looting and riots which saw hundreds of buildings burned to the ground in Minneapolis – actions which were tacitly endorsed by so-called journalists at MSNBC – MSNBC host Ali Velshi seemed to be disappointed when tensions began to cool. While live on air, he exclaimed, “for better or worse, it seems much more calm in Minneapolis tonight.” That’s appalling. At the same time, MSNBC host Hallie Jackson continues to give cover to the domestic terror group Antifa, which has infiltrated protests across the nation to cause racial division and mass property damage, including damage to churches and synagogues. Does Comcast as a whole entity support Antifa, or just the talking heads at MSNBC?
In response, Roberts said:
As I said in my report, it is truly heartbreaking and tragic that, in 2020, we find our society still struggling with issues that are so core to human dignity. Racism, injustice, violence have no place and cannot be tolerated. And I think the news coverage, a risk of personal harm and injury and in some cases loss of life for our journalists continues to be one of the most important parts of NBC News and, for that matter, Comcast NBCUniversal. And so, by and large, I think the coverage continues to inform and educate our society, and that specific clip I have not seen, but thank you for your comment and we will continue to strive to inform the American public.
Audio of Danhof’s question and Roberts’ response can be heard here. A written version of Danhof’s statement can be found here.
Today’s Comcast meeting marks the 23rd time FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2020. Conservative and Christian investors wanting to know better how to vote their values through their proxies should download FEP’s Investor Value Voter Guide.
To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 759-0269.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.
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Author: The National Center