Move on?

From: Jay Lemke (
Date: Wed Jan 28 2004 - 17:54:58 PST

I'm sending this without having yet caught up with recent xmca posts, so
forgive me if this has already been mentioned.

Friends have been sending me information about the refusal of CBS to
broadcast a paid political commercial (actually it counts as a
public-service announcement under US rules) that was produced by a
grass-roots (sort of) internet based organization and which criticizes,
very briefly, Bush for running up a big deficit that the next generation
will still be paying off when we're all retired. It's a cute little
commercial featuring a fantasy of kids (the next generation) working in
low-paying jobs, with the deficit as a punchline at the end.

CBS says it's "too controversial" to broadcast. It was to be aired during
the SuperBowl, when there was a maximum audience. CBS did run a White House
backed "public service announcement" claiming that using drugs finances
terrorism (presumably an uncontroversial claim in minds disposed to be
uncritical) in this time slot.

CBS was also recently the beneficiary of legislation supported by Bush that
was tailored to its advantage (and probably not in the public interest).

Two US senators and a couple dozen congressmen have complained to CBS.
Evidently the chairman of the FCC has also raised some questions about the
action and policy.

We have long been worried about whether corporate control of the media,
especially by corporations that are beholden to the government, would
eventually start limiting democratic public debate and showing open
political bias. When it happens something needs to be said, loudly, I
think. (I am not claiming this is going to change things, but at least
devils should be named rather than allowed to pass unindicted.)

If interested, have a look at the website . It's an
interesting organization more generally as an example of a political-action
internet-based community.


Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Tel. 734-763-9276

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