SPANISH ONION

Abby Aguirre writes: It’s been known to happen: An unsuspecting editor runs a piece from America’s satirical tabloid The Onion as a straight story. On May 4, readers of ABC, Spain’s second-largest daily, learned that the next ruler of Iraq would be determined by the new Fox reality show Appointed by America. Following The Onion‘s lead, ABC reported that the winner of Elegido por América would be named president of Iraq in a season finale broadcast live from Baghdad on June 24 and that hopeful contestant Kymbyrley Lake, a cashier from Texas, was convinced she would win. The only thing more disconcerting than ABC‘s not realizing the piece was satirical is that somehow the story didn’t make front-page news.

SHAREHOLDERS ARISE!

Shareholder activism, fueled by corporate scandals and economic downturn, generated a record number of resolutions during the recent annual meeting cycle–most related to corporate governance issues. Bloated executive salaries and golden parachutes were prominent targets. In England, US-style executive perks in the form of a fat retirement package for the CEO of the English company GlaxoSmithKline were nixed by shareholders. In another development, after a number of big corporations, including Citigroup, Verizon and GM, urged shareholders to tell their Congressperson to support the repeal of the dividend tax, an outraged shareholder contacted Responsible Wealth, which published on the web a petition opposing the cut. It drew more than 600 signers (www.faireconomy.org).

AWARDS TIME

Victor Navasky, Nation publisher and editorial director, and Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel were awarded the Joseph Callaway Prize for the Defense of the Right to Privacy by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The two were recognized for “outstanding contributions to raising public awareness about the importance of privacy rights.” * The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has awarded Katrina vanden Heuvel its Voices of Peace Award. These are given to individuals and organizations who “are actively engaged in working toward peaceful conflict resolution.” The ADC praised the magazine’s “accurate media coverage,” particularly during the war on Iraq.

NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW

“And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it’s clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again.” –Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, on Good Morning America, March 18 (from William Chirolas)