Friday, February 06, 2004

There They Go Again!

CBS is at it again! Even though they insist they will not sell commercial airtime to broadcast "issue" ads, like MoveOn's "Child's Pay," they continue to sell airtime for "issue" ads to the fundamentalists destroying our nation.

I received this from MoveOn:

Dear MoveOn member,
We didn't think the hypocrisy at CBS headquarters could get any worse. But it just did.

As you know, CBS refused to run MoveOn Voter Fund's "Child's Pay" ad -- perhaps the most tasteful and uncontroversial advocacy ad in history -- during the Super Bowl. CBS executives claimed they had a blanket policy against all so-called "issue" ads.

Yesterday, we learned that the network plans to broadcast an ad promoting the Bush Medicare prescription drug law. This is part of a $13 million taxpayer-financed TV campaign to take the heat off the White House for pushing through a drug plan that benefits drug companies and insurance companies more than Medicare recipients.

The White House ad features the tagline "Same Medicare. More Benefits." But a report by Consumers Union last month said that most people covered by Medicare will wind up spending more for prescription drugs, as a result of the provisions in the law which favor drug companies. According to the Washington Post, the campaign is intended "to counteract Democratic criticism that changes to the (Medicare) program will harm older Americans."

If that isn't a controversial issue ad, we don't know what is. But since CBS appears to be changing its policy, our Voter Fund has submitted our own Medicare ad which exposes the facts behind this spin campaign to run on CBS. So far, we haven't heard back. Please give CBS a call today to let them know that they need to either pull the White House ads or run ours.

You can reach CBS at:

CBS Comment Line
(212) 975-4321


Web form

After you've called or emailed, please help us track the number of calls and emails that are pouring in by going to:

We're spreading out the calls across a number of relevant CBS numbers, so hopefully you won't get a busy signal. Also, we have no quarrel with CBS News or any CBS journalists, who have actually given fair coverage to CBS Corporate's unfair decision. Please don't call the CBS news desk.

There's another issue involved here that needs to be taken very seriously: if Bush's Medicare ad is intended to function as a campaign ad (and that clearly appears to be the case) then this may constitute a criminal election law violation. In fact, the ad company which made the ad which will air on CBS also works for the Bush/Cheney re-election committee. We've put in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Health and Human Services to begin the process of establishing the facts in this case.

For now, help us hold CBS accountable by asking them to stop running the Bush Medicare ad -- or to accept ours.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The Team
February 5th, 2004

P.S. Our friends at the Center for American Progress have done an incredible job documenting the links between the Bush administration, the ad company which is creating these Medicare ads, and the drug companies. Today's Progress Report is online at:

The Progress Report is a free, daily e-mail by the Center for American Progress. You can subscribe here:

The airwaves do not belong to CBS, they belong to the taxpayers. Networks have historically aired all points of view, and it is only since the rise of fundamentalism and the fundamentalist takeover of Washington, that networks have begun manipulating information so blatantly.

We all like to laugh at the Orwellian tone of the modern American media, and it is funny to see the irony of it all; but this is serious stuff. If you don't take action, who will?

Do you think CBS should manipulate your airwaves like this? I don't.

So, I wrote the following to

In your refusal to sell advertising time to to broadcast their “Child’s Pay” advertisement, you have said that you do not accept “issue” ads for broadcast on CBS.

Now you are accepting taxpayer dollars for what amounts to a campaign ad from the White House featuring the tagline "Same Medicare. More Benefits."

The White House's Medicaid plan will actually cost elderly people MORE money for prescription drugs, is an “issues” ad if ever there was one, and you are broadcasting it. This is an “issues” ad that, according to the Washington Post, is intended "to counteract Democratic criticism that changes to the (Medicare) program will harm older Americans." And it is not a great leap to call this an illegal campaign ad by the White House.

Though you have the Constitutional right to run your business as you see fit, your constant manipulation of the information “market” is unAmerican and I will boycott your broadcasts, ALL your broadcasts, and speak vociferously about my position until this unAmerican trend changes.

You should be ashamed of yourself for behaving this way.

The thing that will stop CBS from doing this is a boycott; but, I know Americans are unwilling to inconvenience themselves with a boycott. So, if you won't boycott CBS, I hope you will at least write or call them and tell them you think they are wrong in refusing to run "issue" ads from MoveOn while running "issue" ads from the republicans.

We can take back our nation from the fundamentalists, but you have to do some of the work!