and Robert Weissman
we are not talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal. After a trial that the National
Journal's Stuart Taylor called "grotesquely unfair" and that included
"fabricated evidence," Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a
Philadelphia police officer. He now sits on death row.
are talking about alleged cop killer Stuart Charles Alexander. If convicted,
will Alexander end up on death row? Not likely.
because Abu-Jamal is black, while Alexander is white. Abu-Jamal is a journalist,
Alexander is a businessman.
week, Alexander, who owns a sausage factory in San Leandro, California,
allegedly shot and killed two federal meat inspectors and one state meat
inspector who were visiting his factory.
to news reports, after killing the three inspectors, Alexander chased a fourth
inspector for a couple of blocks down the street, took one shot and missed. He
then returned to his sausage factory, walked inside, fired some more shots, went
outside and surrendered to police without resistance.
videotape from a security camera inside Alexander's Santos Linguisa sausage
factory "clearly depicts" Alexander killing the three meat inspectors,
San Leandro police told reporters last week.
and one of the inspectors each placed a call for help to local police minutes
before the shootings. State officials charged Alexander with three counts of
officials charged Alexander with two counts of murder -- two of the federal
inspectors worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
to news accounts, meat inspectors closed the facility in January for not
properly heating sausage that was labeled as fully cooked and for not using
expiration dates on meat. The inspectors shut down the facility in January after
Alexander refused to comply with the law.
plant was reopened earlier this month.
sign outside Alexander's sausage factory read: "To all of our great
customers, the USDA is coming into our plant harassing my employees and me,
making it impossible to make our great product. Gee, if all meat plants could be
in business for 79 years without one complaint, the meat inspectors would not
have jobs. Therefore we are taking legal action against them."
in any of the more than 60 articles that have appeared about Alexander's
killings have the words "cop killer" appeared. Yet, when referring to
Abu-Jamal, news reporters feel obliged to refer to him as "cop killer"
as if it were his newly adopted name, as when the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier
this year headlined an article: "Antioch College Invites Cop-Killer as
day in this country, meat inspectors and other law enforcement officials are
cracking down on corporate crime and violence. And every day, they meet
resistance, harassment and threats from corporate executives indoctrinated in a
radical, reckless, and lawless political ideology.
is a great deal of friction and turmoil on the front lines of federal meat
inspectors," said Bobby Harnage, president of the American Federation of
Government Employees. "The deaths of the three meat inspectors was
senseless -- they were killed trying to protect consumers."
surveys indicate that corporate crime and violence is on the uptick. According
to a survey released earlier this year by KPMG's Integrity Management Services
unit, employees are observing a high level of serious illegal and unethical
conduct on the job, workers perceive management as unable or unwilling to deal
with unethical conduct, and employees are discouraged from reporting unethical
earlier this month, a survey by the National White Collar Crime Center found
that one in three American households are now the victim of white collar crime
and that there is growing public concern with the seriousness of white collar
crime and the criminal justice system's ability to control it.
of these surveys was reported in the mainstream corporate media. Nor did the
mainstream corporate media report on a survey conducted by former Washington
Post reporter Morton Mintz and published this month in Nieman Reports.
survey found that corporate newspaper editorial writers rarely condemn corporate
crime and other wrongdoing. He surveyed 124 leading editorial writers,
columnists, and commentators about what they had said about egregious corporate
behavior during the ten years ending December 1998.
concluded from the responses he received, and from the large number of writers
who failed to respond to his inquiry, that "it's fair to say that it's a
rare day in 3,650 days when the national media expose Americans to opinions on
corporate, and media elites have little time for and little respect for the
victims of corporate crime and violence. They will rant and rave about
Abu-Jamal, but hardly give the time of day to Alexander and his rampage.
time that we begin to give a little respect to those who put their lives on the
line to protect us against the ravages of the corporate criminals. Call your
local newspaper editorial offices and urge them to take a strong stance against
corporate crime. Support your local corporate crime police. Condemn corporate
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor. Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999, http://www.corporatepredators.org)