After watching some of the raunchiest (and least entertaining) ads ever aired on television, it was clear CBS was either lying when they gave their reasons for not running Moveon.org‘s ad, or truly believe they are the Guardian of Democracy, and that our impressionable little minds would have been scarred for life and caused severe public mayhem, had 30 seconds of a four hour spectacle be devoted to and ad politely pointing out the effects of federal spending out of control.
Thanks to CBS’s firewall of decency and protection, the Republic was saved, and the CBS commitment to tasteful, “non threatening” advertising was in full force for the big game. True, within moments of the first quarter, we were entertained by an endless array of penis-related humor (including a dog biting a man in the crotch for Bud Lite) and penis-related medication, but that’s ok. Who knew that so many options existed for male erectile issues – or so many cutesy metaphors to refer to them?
Perhaps MoveOn.org should go into the brewing business, come out with a beer brand and use some farting horses in a new ad to get some exposure. Or perhaps they could buy the naming rights to Viagra II or some other male enhancement drugs, and bypass the media firewall that way?
Breathe easy folks. Amidst a rain of advertising, that one little thirty second ad raising questions about a federal budget with more red ink than a Red Army recruitment poster wasn’t shown. The fragile minds of the “mob” were spared this horror.
FCC Chairman Mike “My Dad Went To DC And All I Got Was This Job” Powell saw no problem with public airwaves being used to sell beer, penis medications, or endless potty humor, nor did he see a problem with public airwaves being denied to a group who wanted to raise some issues regarding out-of-control government spending – but you can bet someone’s gonna hang once they get to the bottom of “Breastgate.”
Writing a column like this and adding to the pile of “Why did they do that when they air blah blah blah” is almost superfluous at this point – I’m sure if someone did a Lexis Nexis search of ideological moral outrage filed in the press and online, they would find a plethora of similar columns. So why add to the pile?
It’s an issue bigger than one ad – we’re beginning to see the effects of the centralized control of our media by the corporations that fund federal elections and want to exorcise all public interest out of governing and our daily lives.
I’ve never bought into the idea that the media has a “right/left” bias – but it is not hard to see it does have a narrow bias geared towards making more money for themselves, and the truth be damned.
The fact that it does tend to lean rightward on some issues is not as much about the ideology of their owners but about the convenient convergence of conservative interests (at least today) and narrow business interests which tend to be at odd with those of small business and individual needs. (Maybe in the case of Rupert Murdoch there’s an exception to this rule, but the jury’s still out on that one for me.)
Thus, it’s no accident that Howard Dean took an avalanche of negative press concluding with the silly “news coverage” of Dean’s Iowa “scream” – something the press wizards have belatedly admit was foolish – and wrong. It’s also no accident that Sen. John Kerry, who was able to save his faltering bid with a pile of his own money, is now “the sensible choice” to rally around, and the one least likely to upset the status quo if elected in 2004.
True, the media is not responsible for Howard Dean’s dumb campaign decisions, nor are they responsible for Kerry’s ability to get a loan at prime rate to save his campaign. They are responsible for covering issues, and bringing up difficult questions all candidates, and the President, need to answer – and they simply do not, opting instead to do what makes for a good “story” with cutesy, smart-ass commentary, all of which ultimately benefits their bosses – and no one else.
Thus, when even the last resort – buying time at market rate to get some issues discussed – is denied by networks operating over public airwaves – it’s time to take action.
For myself, I’ll back anyone who can convince me they’d go to Washington, kick ass and take names at the FCC. Even if they don’t succeed, it sure would be fun to see the suits sweat if a President, who didn’t owe them anything, got into power, even if it was for just a few short years.
Now that’s a story with some real drama – and would make for an interesting read in the papers once in a while.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com
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