Wednesday, September 29, 2004

We Don't Want Your Stinkin' Lefty Money 

Damn you, Dan Rather! First you expose CBS to a fusillade of right-wing monkey feces, giving network brass the excuse they need to kill the 60 Minutes yellowcake story (which might have done some real damage to Bush). Now the other networks -- plainly chastened by CBS's experience with the Offended Right -- are telling poor Michael Moore he can't even buy a 30-second spot on the nightly news:
L.A. Weekly has learned that CBS, NBC and ABC all refused Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD advertising during any of the networks’ news programming. Executives at Sony Pictures, the distributor of the movie for the home-entertainment market, were stunned. And even more shocked when the three networks explained why.

“They said explicitly they were reluctant because of the closeness of the release to the election. All three networks said no,” one Sony insider explains. “It was certainly a judgment that Sony disagrees with and is in the process of protesting.”

And protest Sony did. (Michael Lynton, the onetime Pearson publishing executive who is now chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has privately told people he hasn’t seen anything like this since his Penguin Group published Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.) What especially galled the Sony suits was this: The networks had no problem having the DVD ads appear on their entertainment shows so long as the guidelines for R-rated content like Fahrenheit 9/11 were followed. However, Sony executives told L.A. Weekly they wanted only to market the movie’s DVD on CBS’s, NBC’s and ABC’s news shows. “But all three networks said no to straight news,” one Sony exec explained. “Then, suddenly, the networks were extending the definition of news programming to include the news magazines and the morning news shows and restricting access to those as well. That becomes very problematic to any advertiser trying to reach an adult audience” . . . .

WHERE IS THE LEVEL playing field? Gone, thanks to the shenanigans of Big Media. Nor is it an exaggeration to state that the networks increasingly look like they’re doing everything possible to help George W. win re-election. At least that wily old codger Sumner Redstone had the balls to come out this weekend and say what everyone already knows is true: “There has been comment upon my contribution to Democrats like Senator Kerry. Senator Kerry is a good man. I’ve known him for many years. But it happens that I vote for Viacom. Viacom is my life, and I do believe that a Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one.”

Like, duh! Who else but Dubya and his FCC frown posse, led by Michael Powell, is never going to meet one media merger after another they didn’t like? And in return for all that conglomeration and consolidation, all Big Broadcasters have to do is fork over minor fines whenever they deflower the virgin ears and eyes of the public.
After much pleading from Sony, the networks have reluctantly agreed to sell a few ad spots on the early-morning shows and on NBC's Dateline. The evening news shows are still verboten (not to mention farkakte.)

Let's face it: our Liberal Media lean so far to the right they could do the limbo sideways.

UPDATE: The F9/11 DVD is a two-disc set containing great galloping gobs of material that didn't make it into the theatrical release. Since you know you're going to buy it anyway, why not order a copy through our venerated colleagues at the All Spin Zone, who are donating all their affiliate proceeds to the DCCC? The same deal applies to pre-orders of Going Upriver, Bush's Brain, and the Greg Palast docu Bush Family Fortunes.

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