A few weeks ago, I blogged about one particular media outlet’s coverage of the upcoming trial of two women who face criminal charges for the alleged theft of chickens that were being raised for Foster Farms.

As I wrote, KMPH Fox 26 appeared to be biased toward the suspects and against Foster Farms.

I am again writing about the media coverage of the case now that jury selection procedures have begun. And what I’m noticing is there is quite a lot of coverage, more than you would expect for a case like this. It appears that one of the main reasons for that is because one of the suspects is known actress Alexandra Paul.

It’s interesting, because of the first four articles I found online, three had Paul’s name in the headline and three had Foster Farms’ name. Two of them included both names, but in both of those instances it was Paul’s name that came first. (I just did the same thing.)

Who is Alexandra Paul?

I’ll admit, Paul’s name was vaguely familiar, but I didn’t know who she was. But the articles about her often referred to her as a former star of the show “Baywatch.”

I never really watched that show, but it did have enough of an impact on pop culture in the 1990s that you knew who at least some of its stars were, like David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yazmine Bleeth and Carmen Electra. But I drew a blank on Alexandra Paul.

Easy fix to that. I Googled her name, and I did recognize her. I then went to IMDB and checked out what else she was in. Her most memorable role to me was that of Connie Swail in the movie “Dragnet” with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. I liked her in that role.

She has quite a lot of acting credits since her “Baywatch” days, but nothing I have actually seen. That’s probably why she is most often referenced for her role in the iconic lifeguard show.

Does star power matter?

Paul is a member of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), as is the other suspect in the trial, Alicia Santurio. But you aren’t seeing Santurio’s name in headlines, obviously because her name doesn’t have the star power or the claim to fame Paul has.

DxE to me is most known for two things:

  • Taking animals that don’t belong to their members for the sake of their perception of rescue
  • Gathering media attention

And the organization has no doubt worked the Alexandra Paul angle as well as tried to make this out to be a humane move in making sure those chickens were “rescued.”

Having Paul involved has upped the public interest in the matter, which has put Foster Farms’ name out there more than it ordinarily would be. And because of the way Paul and her DxE cohorts have portrayed the situation, many people likely aren’t looking at Foster Farms in a favorable manner. Reports like that one from KMPH didn’t help.

They further tried to play at people's emotions by naming the chickens they displaced from a truck "Ethan" and "Jax."

But what will the jury decide?

I wouldn’t think too much leniency would be given to Paul and Santurio, considering DxE made public a video of the act that led to criminal charges being filed.

But then again, there were people who thought there was no way stars O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake would be found not guilty of the murder charges brought against them.

I’ll just say I hope justice is served in the Paul-Santurio trial and leave it at that.