"AMERICANS ARE OUT there, and we're not getting any coverage," said Republican congressional candidate John Kuzmanich to KGW reporter Joe Donlon on the station's live broadcast from Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday night, October 23.
Donlon said he wanted to share KGW's coverage logs with the protesters. "Your protests were our lead story on September 12, and then on April 15—here, it was our lead story," he said. "So you may have a beef with the media, but I'm here to defend what we did."
"Well, do you think it's a story you'll continue to cover?" asked Kuzmanich.
"Absolutely," said Donlon. "We hear you loud and clear."
Cue cheering. Kuzmanich's protest—along with 52 other disgruntled Oregon Tea Party protesters—was to protest the lack of coverage of their activities by the mainstream media.
The protest started earlier outside the Oregonian's headquarters on SW Broadway. Spokesman Jeffery Reynolds said the group is upset about under-reporting of a Tea Party protest in Washington, DC, on September 12. The DC cops said there were 2.3 million people there, others have confirmed attendance at 1.7 million, said Reynolds. "But all the news networks reported it as tens of thousands," said Reynolds. "That makes us a little bit perturbed."
"The media won't report accurately, there's under-reporting and a lack of reporting," said protester Randi Kainz, as the crowd began chanting, "Hear us now!"
Nobody from the Oregonian came out to report on the protest. "One guy came up to the doors but he scurried off in a hurry," said Reynolds. Then a KOIN van drove past the protest.
"Did you see that?!" asked Kainz. "That KOIN van just drove right past, without even stopping. Make a note, please."
"The president said we were 'ginned up' on talk radio," said Roxanne Ross, organizer of the Gresham Tea Party. "He also called us 'AstroTurf' because we're artificial grassroots." Ross denied the president's claims.
Waving signs depicting KGW's network, NBC, as being in "President Barack Obama's pocket," several protesters began chatting off the air with KGW reporter Pat Dooris outside the network's studio in Pioneer Courthouse Square. "Nobody covered our Tea Party protest in April," they said.
"I was live at seven, saying behind me you can see thousands of protesters for the first Tea Party," responded Dooris. "And on that day we covered a huge rally in Salem, so you got a twofer from the big eight."
"Boycott KGW!" read the signs behind him.
"Nobody likes a critic who doesn't have their facts right," said Dooris.