Good Morning America's David Wright on Wednesday touted a new phone app to fight the "super rich" and combat "billionaires blocking the beach." The journalist toured some of California beaches, which are public, but are in front of wealthy homes. Wright lectured, "The app is free like the beach is supposed to be." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC graphic warned, "Billionaires Blocking the Beach: Secret Passages of Malibu Revealed." The "billionaire" obstruction apparently amounts to living in the homes and not advertising the beach's availability. Talking to Jenny Price, a professor and creator of the app, Wright gushed, "In a way, this is Robin Hood at the beach." Sensibly, Price talked him down from the class warfare rhetoric, "Well, except that we're not stealing anything."
The journalist closed his segment by lecturing, "Paradise lost to the super rich because of this app. Or at least now paradise they'll have to share."
Interesting, Price's bio indicates a rejection of class warfare:
Her current project, a cultural critique of contemporary environmentalism, takes two forms: a satiric advice column, Green Me Up, JJ; and a short new book, Stop Saving the Planet! The project focuses particularly on how popular environmentalist rhetorics—including the obsession with personal virtuous acts, and the shibboleth that we are all in this together--are implicated in a persistent class divide, which historically has haunted environmental action and policy, and which, the project argues, is currently the greatest barrier both to building broad popular support and to accomplishing ambitious environmental goals.
These ideas did not come up in the segment.
A transcript of the May 29 segment is below:
ABC GRAPHIC: Billionaires Blocking the Beach: Secret Passages of Malibu Revealed
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We all know that California has some of the greatest public beaches in the world. What you may not know is that so many of them are hidden behind the homes of the rich and famous. But, now there is an app to help you seek out those hidden treasures and ABC's David Wright checked it out.
DAVID WRIGHT: It's a piece of paradise most of us have only glimpsed through the paparazzi's lens.
JENNY PRICE: You have celebrities. You have media moguls.
WRIGHT: Writer and activist Jenny Price walks us down a stretch nicknamed billionaire's beach. To buy a home here, easily 20 million bucks. To rent, $250,000 a month.
PRICE: I mean, it's very hard not to walk along this beach and go, I want that one.
WRIGHT: Malibu is exclusive but in California, there's no such thing as a private beach. So Price helped develop a new smart phone app to make Malibu more accessible. In a way, this is Robin Hood at the beach.
PRICE: Well, except we're not stealing anything.
WRIGHT: A guide to public access ways home owners have tried to block or in media mogul David Geffen's case, disguise.
BEN ADAIR (Escape Apps): It's made to look like a garage so people won't park in the most convenient access. It's not until you get up and start looking at it, that door doesn't open, does it?
WRIGHT: The app even tells you where you're entitled to put your beach towel. The app is free like the beach is supposed to be. Set up the beach chairs. Set up the beach chairs. Some residents are resigned to it.
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don't think the crowds will come because there's no real infrastructure.
WRIGHT: Others are clearly bracing for a fight.
THIRD UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You're on private property.
WRIGHT: This Malibu resident threatened to call the sheriff on us.
THIRD UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Take your camera out of here before I break it.
WRIGHT: Paradise lost to the super rich because of this app. Or at least now paradise they'll have to share. For Good Morning America, David Wright, ABC News, Malibu.