ANARCHISTS STEAL NEWS AWARD AT THE WEBBY'S
SAN FRANCISCO - Corporate media was both glorified and protested tonight at the Webby Awards in San Francisco, CA. Billed as the "Oscars" of the internet, the Webby's is a high-glitz awards show designed to highlight and promote websites and the web industry. Many of the highly-visible sponsors and nominees represent corporate media and media consolidation, including CNN, ABC News, and more.
Indymedia was nominated for an award in the "Activism" category. An anarchist who showed up at the awards ceremony spoke anonymously, saying that "indymedia is news, and it shows the corporate media takeover of the internet to say that indymedia is activism, not news." Another anarchist present said that if Indymedia is an activist site, mainstream media like CNN or ABC are "activists for corporations and rich elites."
A vocal minority in the crowd, wearing masks associated with anarchist black blocs at recent anti-capitalism protests, loudly booed when CNN and other corporate media conglomerates, like Microsoft, were mentioned.
As the winner was announced for the "News" category, two masked people ran onto the stage. One, wearing a gasmask, grabbed the "News" award from the host, and shouted, "fuck corporate media!" Then he ran off the stage, taking the award with him. The host fumbled and said, "someone just took off with the award..." The other person, wearing a bandana mask, took pictures and identified himself as an Indymedia reporter.
Sam Donaldson, ABC News personality, was sitting a few rows away and could only shake his head in confusion.
Another anonymous anarchist present said, "corporate media does not belong on the internet. As dot-com valuation continues to plummet, we hope to save our wonderful co-operative global network from insidious, patent-grabbing, idea-owning megacorporations which despise free speech and privacy."
Featured speakers also included San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who gloated in the changes that the dot-com industry have brought to the city. Mayor Brown is frequently targeted by housing activists for allowing dot-com companies to illegally rent residential spaces, creating one of the worst housing crises in San Francisco since the 1906 earthquake.