Angry Shareholders Still Flock to Their Shepherd

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- They are rioting in the streets and Bank of America ( BAC) annual meeting aisles! This must mean that angry shareholders are exerting considerable influence and CEO Brian Moynihan is on the ropes, right? Well, not exactly. But we'll get to that in a moment. The media did not -- and that, unfortunately, runs the risk of giving traders the wrong idea.

Typically, the media went into full schoolyard fight mode. They focused on the size, noise and (apparent) influence of the mob. The New York Post ran the headline: "Brian gets broiled at BofA annual meeting."

And an excitable lead: "Police, protesters and irate stockholders!"

The Associated Press got in on the riot act, noting that the protests extended inside and outside the meeting, forcing police to invoke "a new ordinance to declare the gathering an extraordinary event subject to special restrictions." They even told the story of an angry nun inside the meeting.

Problem is, The Associated Press -- and many of the other offenders -- neglected to mention a telling caveat: that Moynihan got his pay package approved. Not only that, but he got it approved by more than 90 percent of voters. Geez, even Citigroup's ( C) pay package was voted down. Moreover, all Bank of America shareholder proposals failed. Got that? Any attempts to make substantive change fell flat.

The Wall Street Journal started with their coverage with the pay package approval and Reuters did similarly well to mention the shareholder proposal failures. If you are trying to get a bead on just where Bank of America management stands versus the protestors, you probably want to know the whole story.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.