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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Music for America

Music for America blog:

It doesn't matter which channel you choose, political news seems to be nothing more than polling numbers and gotcha politics (I could care less what a candidate's wife says about another candidate's wife). Call me selfish, but I want to know how my life will change depending upon who is elected on November 2.

That is why I've recommended CompareDecideVote to all my friends. This interactive site cuts through the bull and shows you where Bush and Kerry stand on 20 issues important to us, allowing us to choose who we agree with on each issue and have the results totaled at the end.

The differences between the two candidates are stark. Take minimum wage: Bush wants to keep it at $5.15 an hour while Kerry will increase it to $7.00 an hour. Bush has bragged about his $300 tax cut, but if you work full time and earn minimum wage, Kerry's plan will give you $300 EACH MONTH in increased wages. That's 3,600 differences a year for people earning minimum wage.

The point is, we need to look at where we want to be four years from now and decide which candidate will help us achieve our goals. We need to compare the candidates on student loans and credit card debt. And health care, cause let's face it, we aren't getting any younger.Wouldn't it be nice to be able to afford a full tank of gas? Well compare the candidate's energy policies.

What about jobs? I'm guessing you're also hoping to have a better job in the next four years, where do the candidates stand on outsourcing and job creation? What about overtime pay, if you're working long hours are you earning what you deserve? Speaking of which, what
about equal pay for equal work?What about the environment? And don't even get me started on the draft.

Our generation will earn respect from the politicians if we inform ourselves where they stand on our issues and then vote for our interests. You can help by using CompareDecideVote and helping us get the word out that this new site exists.

Music for America is a partner, you've probably seen the flashing pic directing people to CompareDecideVote.

You know the drill, if you want to help increase youth voting, email your friends a link to www.CompareDecideVote.com




- Compare Decide Vote

Thursday, October 21, 2004

COLLEGE STUDENTS PLAN TO VOTE IN RECORD NUMBERS

Harvard:

COLLEGE STUDENTS PLAN TO VOTE IN RECORD NUMBERS,
KERRY BUILDS ON LEAD, HARVARD POLL FINDS
Students favor Kerry 52-39; Economy Cited as Top Issue
Boston, MA – A new national poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP)
finds exceptionally high interest in the presidential campaign on college campuses, and
turnout among college students is expected to rise dramatically. Nearly 72 percent of
college students report that they are "certain" they are registered to vote and "definitely"
plan on voting this November. More than in other years, students believe that they have a
stake – and will have a say - in the outcome of the election.
The Harvard poll also reports that Senator Kerry maintains a 13-point lead among college
students, and a slightly stronger 17-point advantage among likely voters in key swing
states. Kerry’s lead appears to be a function of several factors, including strong support
from female voters and Independents, dissatisfaction over the war in Iraq, concern for the
economy, and movement of formerly uncommitted voters to the Kerry camp.
"There are over nine million college students in America, and their vote will matter this
year – especially in swing states," said IOP Director Philip Sharp. "Neither campaign
can afford to ignore them. Our findings represent a major revival of student political
engagement."
Higher than average student turnout in swing states appears linked to get-out-the-vote
efforts. "Students in swing states have been approached time and again about registering
and about voting, and those on-campus drives have clearly mobilized thousands of new
voters," reports Professor David King, Associate Director at the IOP.
The survey of 1202 college students, drawn randomly from a national database of nearly
5.1 million students finds –
• Although they believe Bush is a stronger and clearer leader, they continue to
favor Kerry over Bush. Fifty-two percent of students favor Kerry, while 39
percent say they support President Bush. However, President Bush leads Kerry,
49-36, on which candidate is a "strong leader," and the President outpaces Kerry
57-27 on which candidate takes a "clear stand on issues." President Bush also
edges Kerry out 46 percent to 42 percent on who "will make the country safer and
more secure."
-- 2 --
• They feel more connected to Kerry and believe he would be a better Commander
in Chief. Kerry leads Bush 54-31 among students on which candidate
"understands the problems" of people like them, and again 49-39 on which
candidate students feel shares their values. Kerry also edges Bush 49-42 when
students were asked which candidate is better qualified to be Commander in
Chief.
• Kerry’s support high in "battleground" states. Likely voters favor Kerry 55-38
in fourteen key swing states. Nearly one-third of college students nationwide
attend four-year public or private colleges in these states, making the campus vote
even more important in this election.
• Economy is the number-one issue in determining college students’ vote for
President. Forty-two percent of college students say the economy is the most
important or second most important issue in determining their vote for President.
Other important issues include the situation in Iraq with 38 percent citing it as the
most or second most important issue, followed by terrorism and homeland
security at 33 percent, moral value issues (such as gay marriage and abortion) at
29 percent, and education at 27 percent.
• Dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq reaches a new high. Agreement with the
war in Iraq has reached an all-time low among college students. For the first time
since 2002, more students oppose having gone to war than support it.
• More students feel country headed on wrong track than in the right direction.
For the first time since the IOP began asking in the fall of 2002, more students
feel the country is headed off on the "wrong track" than in the right direction.
Forty-five percent believe the country is on the "wrong track," while 41 percent
believe the country is headed in the "right direction" – a five percent drop in the
last year.
• Students are engaged and motivated. Ninety-one percent of college students care
"a good deal" about who wins the Presidential election. Seventy-three percent
believe political involvement can have tangible results, and 87 percent believe
politics is relevant to their life right now – up 25% and 20% respectively from
April 2004 IOP polling. Students are also focused on the upcoming election - 75
percent report having discussed the election in the past 24 hours.
• As the election draws closer, students are beginning to identify with one of the
major parties. For the first time since 2000, a plurality of students do not identify
themselves as independents. Thirty-four percent identify themselves as
Democrats, 33 percent as Independents, and 29 percent as Republicans. The
number of students identifying themselves as Independents has fallen 8 percent
over the past year from 41 percent last October to 33 percent today. Undecided
voters continue to break for Kerry. Kerry’s vote share has increased to 52 percent
from 48 percent six months ago, while Bush’s vote share has remained static at
38-39 percent.
• Kerry gets the female vote, but Bush's advantage among men disappears. The
poll found strong support for Kerry among female voters on college campuses,
which tracks his support by women in the general population. However, Bush,
who enjoys stronger numbers than Kerry among men in the general population,
does not seem to have an advantage over Kerry with male college voters. While
female students favor Kerry over Bush, 58-34, the race is almost dead-even
among male college students, 47-46.
• Not only are students coming, they are talking – and doing their homework.
Eighty-four percent say they talk about politics or current events at least once a
week – representing the highest level of political discussion on college campuses
since the days following September 11, 2001. Sixty-nine percent reported that
they watched the presidential debates as a way to get information about the
candidates.
• Reaching out to students is making a difference. Sixty-two percent of students
reported that they have been encouraged to vote. Over half said they had been
either assisted in registering or encouraged to register by a group or individual. Of
those who had been encouraged to register, over 72 percent had been encouraged
by their college administration or a student group at their college.
• College students are much more likely to vote early or by absentee ballot. Well
over half of college students who plan to vote in the November election will not
be voting in person at a polling place. Forty-two percent of students reported they
will be voting by absentee ballot, and another 14 percent reported they plan on
"early voting."
Harvard students designed the poll, in consultation with Professor David King and
pollster John Della Volpe, whose firm Schneiders/Della Volpe/Schulman conducted the
survey and analyzed the data. Complete results and past surveys are available online at
www.iop.harvard.edu/.
# # #
Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, located at the John F. Kennedy School of
Government, was established in 1966 with an endowment from the John F. Kennedy
Library Corporation to engage young people in politics and public service. The Institute
has been conducting national political polls of America’s college students since 2000.



- Compare Decide Vote

Mr. Paine

Tom Paine:

Viacom has a near monopoly on the youth television market. The company owns MTV—which reaches 86 million households—as well as Comedy Central. But Viacom recently rejected an ad by an independent political group, Compare Decide Vote, citing an unofficial policy that they don't accept issue ads from noncandidates. But they do accept advertising from huge corporations—including controversial
ones like Halliburton. Viacom has a responsibility to provide free speech on the issues that are important to young people, and polls have shown that young voters don't think political candidates provide enough issue-based ads. Join Compare Decide Vote and call or e-mail Viacom's president, Sumner Redstone. Tell him to give young people access to information from a variety of sources—not just those that make him a profit. ACT NOW


- Compare Decide Vote

straight talk

Straight:

Viacom Helps Bush
By charlie smith
Publish Date: 21-Oct-2004

A
U.S. media conglomerate involved in a public-private partnership with the City
of
Vancouver is under fire in the United States for censoring criticism of
President George Bush. On October 18, protesters from Let US Decide, a coalition
of 14 organizations, staged a demonstration outside the New York City
headquarters of Viacom after the company refused to broadcast political ads
targeted at young voters.

Viacom owns the CBS, MTV, and Comedy Central
networks. According to a news release issued the same day by Let US Decide,
Viacom recently rejected an ad by one of its members, Compare Decide Vote, which
urges young people to compare presidential candidates' positions on key issues.

U.S.­based Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has issued a bulletin
highlighting this incident and pointing out that Viacom has previously rejected
an antiwar group's ad on MTV and an anti-Bush ad during the Super Bowl. Viacom
chairman Sumner Redstone told Time magazine on October 4 that he believes a
Republican administration is better than a Democratic one.


- Compare Decide Vote

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New York

NY Daily News:


Blindfolds over Viacom ads

About 20 young people gathered in front of MTV's studio on Broadway yesterday holding signs and making noise - and it wasn't to catch a glimpse of a hot pop star.
Wearing star-spangled bandanas over their eyes, the MTV generation group was there to grab the attention of Viacom chief Sumner Redstone and to protest MTV Networks' policy of not accepting advocacy ads.

"We're asking Sumner Redstone to stop hiding and face his audience," said Lisa Seitz
Gruell, director of advocacy group Compare Decide Vote. The group urged supporters to deluge the Viacom mogul with calls and E-mails.

They're fuming because MTV-owned network Comedy Central rejected one of their ads promoting Senator John Kerry.

The spot portrays Kerry and President Bush as video game characters and tells viewers to "play the game" and "control the system."

The group claims Comedy Central accepted the commercial but dumped it three
days later.

MTV Networks spokeswoman Jeanine Smartt said as a matter of policy, "we do not accept advocacy or issue oriented advertising like the ad submitted by Compare Decide Vote."

But because MTV Networks has such a stronghold on young viewers, not being able to reach them is a huge roadblock, said a spokesman for the group.

The cable programing giant does accept political ads from candidates on all its nets with the exception of MTV.



- Compare Decide Vote

Kansas City

Kansas City Star:

Let us decide
A new campaign called Let Us Decide, representing 13 youth, civic and political organizations, is pressuring media company Viacom to lift a ban on advertising submitted by the youth voting organization Compare Decide Vote.

The groups decided to launch the campaign after an ad it submitted to Comedy Central was accepted and then rejected.

"Sumner Redstone has no problem using his Viacom bully pulpit to make his political views widely known," Lisa Seitz Gruwell, director of Compare Decide Vote, said in a prepared statement. "But when it comes to allowing free speech to young people on its networks, Viacom clearly has a double standard. While the media giant proudly promotes programming aimed at young people, it denies them access to ads from organizations like Compare Decide Vote providing simple information about candidates' positions."


- Compare Decide Vote

Monday, October 18, 2004

FAIR Action Alert

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

ACTION ALERT: Viacom Blocking Independent Political Ads
October 18, 2004

In the wake of the CEO of Viacom's declaration of support for George W. Bush, the media giant that owns both CBS and MTV Networks is refusing to air political advertising from advocacy organizations on its cable channels (MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central).

The independent progressive group Compare Decide Vote produced an ad comparing the presidential candidates' policy positions on issues important to young people, which the group says was accepted for placement by MTV Network's Comedy Central. Two days later, the station rejected the ad, citing an MTV Networks policy against running advocacy ads (Washington Post, 10/13/04).

"The reason behind our policy distinction between issue-ads and political campaign ads is simply that across all our properties, we talk about these issues every day," explained a Viacom spokesperson (Media Daily News, 10/13/04).

That reasoning—that outside perspectives on important political issues are blocked because Viacom's own coverage of the issues is sufficient—is undermined by CBS's recent decision to hold until after the election a 60 Minutes story on forged documents that the Bush administration used to sell the Iraq war. The network said it "would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election." (See FAIR Action Alert, 9/28/04.)

While Viacom stifles the messages of both political organizations and its own reporters, Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom, has made his own political voice
heard clearly (Time, 10/4/04): "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."

Citing FAIR's criticism of the spiking of the 60 Minutes story in the wake of Redstone's declaration of support for Bush, L.A. Times media critic David Shaw (10/10/04) wrote that a politically motivated delay would be "reprehensible, a worse abdication of the network's journalistic responsibility than even [CBS anchor Dan] Rather's careless rush to judgment" on the supposed National Guard memos. Even if the motive was a "limit-the-damage public relations maneuver" in the wake of the Rather imbroglio, Shaw wrote, the delay would be "no less regrettable."

This isn't the first time Viacom has come under scrutiny for rejecting political ads. In March 2003, an anti-war group's ad was rejected from MTV (New York Times, 3/13/03), and Viacom blocked an anti-Bush ad from the group MoveOn.org from airing during the 2004 Super Bowl (Reuters, 1/16/04).

The media conglomerate's position that its own take on the election issues is sufficient is arrogant and presumptuous, particularly given that Viacom has a near-monopoly on media outlets that appeal primarily to young voters, like MTV and Comedy Central. This censorious policy is one that should be reversed.

ACTION: Compare Decide Vote has provided an 800 number that will connect you to Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone's office, where you can leave a message about the company's ban on independent political advertising—as well as CBS's decision to hold an exposé of the Bush administration until after it can no longer affect the election.

CONTACT: Sumner Redstone, Chairman,
Viacom 800-421-0245

As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone. For background information from Compare Decide Vote, see: www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom/issue.htm


- Compare Decide Vote

What beer?

Rachel at MFA: Choosing the right beer is serious business


***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

New York, NY
October 18, 2004

Free speech activists and marketing execs. are outraged today at news that Media Giant Viacom backed out of a deal to run advertising from Budweiser on their collection of youth-targeted channels (MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central). The ad--which Budweiser had created especially to appeal to the beverage concerns of 18-30 year-olds--included a comparison of the quality, taste and purity of their product with that of Coors' beers.


In related news: Viacom CEO, Sumner Redstone, has recently publicly endorsed Coors beer, shocking some who have known him to be a lover of the Bud family of
products for his whole life. He, himself, has said, "I actually like Budweiser a fuckton better--it tastes better and they don't use contaminated water to make their product the way Coors does; BUT," he continued,"I own stock in the Coors Corporation, so I have to support the company that best serves my financial interests."

Apologists for Viacom have pointed out that, since there is already plenty of alcoholic beverage advertising on the above-mentioned channels, Viacom is not obligated to run any more beer ads...and, besides, if you want to schill for your brand of beer--or even just let the kidz know it's out there, and what kind of shit you use to make it, so they can decide which beer to drink for themselves--you can always advertise on some of the other youth-oriented channels not owned by Viacom, like...um...um...ah...okay, can't think of any right now...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Does this sound ridiculous? Think it could never happen? Well, YOU ARE RIGHT. Viacom doesn't pick and choose what brand of products get to advertise on their television channels (channels representing the vast majority of the market share of programming for 18-30 year-olds, as it happens).

Yet, somehow, it's okay for them to decide what political advertising young people in this country ought to see? In the hypothetical scenario above, that would be like Media Conglomerates telling our generation, "We want to promote the consumption of large quantities of beer, but we don't want to give you any information that might put one beer company's profits at risk, even if that information is important for you to know before you decide which brand of beer to purchase. Can you think of anything more "un-American?" Seriously.

Go to www.comparedecidevote.com. You look at the facts on issues you care about. You decide which candidate will better represent YOU. Because, "just vote; it doesn't matter for whom, just vote because it's your right and your duty" is not going to help when it comes to making an informed choice about what YOU want for yourself, your family, your friends, and the future of this country.

- Compare Decide Vote

Baltimore Chronicle

Baltimore Chronicle:

Viacom Blocking Independent Political Ads
Source: Fairness and Accuracy
in Reporting (FAIR) -->

Oct. 18, 2004-- -->In the wake of the CEO of Viacom's declaration of support for George W. Bush, the media giant that owns both CBS and MTV Networks is refusing to air political advertising from advocacy organizations on its cable channels (MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central).


The independent progressive group Compare Decide Vote produced an ad comparing the presidential candidates' policy positions on issues important to young people, which the group says was accepted for placement by MTV Network's Comedy Central. Two days later, the station rejected the ad, citing an MTV Networks policy against running advocacy ads (Washington Post, 10/13/04).

"The reason behind our policy distinction between issue-ads and political campaign ads is simply that across all our properties, we talk about these issues every day," explained a Viacom spokesperson (Media Daily News, 10/13/04).

That reasoning—that outside perspectives on important political issues are blocked because Viacom's own coverage of the issues is sufficient—is undermined by CBS's recent decision to hold until after the election a 60 Minutes story on forged documents that the Bush administration used to sell the Iraq war. The network said it "would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election." (See FAIR Action Alert, 9/28/04.)

While Viacom stifles the messages of both political organizations and its own reporters, Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom, has made his own political voice heard clearly (Time, 10/4/04): "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."

Citing FAIR's criticism of the spiking of the 60 Minutes story in the wake of Redstone's declaration of support for Bush, L.A. Times media critic David Shaw (10/10/04) wrote that a politically motivated delay would be "reprehensible, a worse abdication of the network's journalistic responsibility than even [CBS anchor Dan] Rather's careless rush to judgment" on the supposed National Guard memos. Even if the motive was a "limit-the-damage public relations maneuver" in the wake of the Rather imbroglio, Shaw wrote, the delay would be "no less regrettable."

This isn't the first time Viacom has come under scrutiny for rejecting political ads. In March 2003, an anti-war group's ad was rejected from MTV (New York Times, 3/13/03), and Viacom blocked an anti-Bush ad from the group MoveOn.org from airing during the 2004 Super Bowl (Reuters, 1/16/04).

The media conglomerate's position that its own take on the election issues is sufficient is arrogant and presumptuous, particularly given that Viacom has a near-monopoly on media outlets that appeal primarily to young voters, like MTV and Comedy Central. This censorious policy is one that should be reversed.

ACTION: Compare Decide Vote has provided an 800 number that will connect you to Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone's office, where you can leave a message about the company's ban on independent political advertising—as well as CBS's decision to hold an exposé of the Bush administration until after it can no longer affect the election.

CONTACT: Sumner Redstone, Chairman, Viacom 800-421-0245
As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you
maintain a polite tone.

For background information from Compare Decide Vote, see: www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom/issue.htm



- Compare Decide Vote

Viacom


A security guard watches as Peter Glantz, spokesperson for Compare Decide Vote, calls Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone from outside the company's headquarters to protest the company's refusal to air political advocacy ads on its youth networks. Glantz led a protest of fourteen youth organizations in New York's Times Square, Monday, October 18, 2004.



A group of blindfolded protesters from Compare Decide Vote call attention to Viacom's restrictive political ad practices during a protest outside the company's headquarters in Times Square, New York, Monday, October 18, 2004.

BLINDFOLDED YOUTH PROTESTERS CHALLENGE VIACOM TO DEBATE, MEDIA GIANT REFUSES TO "TALK BACK LIVE"

New York (October 18, 2004) – Protesters from fourteen leading organizations took Viacom's Times Square headquarters by surprise this afternoon when they demanded a debate with the media giant's CEO over its restrictive ad policies. Viacom executives refused to acknowledge the protesters representing over two million young voters and instead sent out security guards to move the young people away from the building. The protest was organized by the Let US Decide campaign which was initiated after Viacom accepted then later refused to run an ad by the youth voting organization Compare Decide Vote.

"Sumner Redstone had the opportunity to tell us why he’s banning legitimate ads on Viacom’s youth networks," said Lisa Seitz Gruwell, director of Compare Decide Vote. "The company has been abusing its virtual monopoly over youth programming to censor legitimate political advertising. It’s time for the media giant to tell us why they’re banning debate on vital issues."

Viacom recently rejected an ad by Compare Decide Vote. "Play the game", which urges young people to compare presidential candidates’ positions on important issues. It can be viewed at http://www.comparedecidevote.org. A draft of the ad was submitted to Comedy Central and was accepted on September 28, only to be rejected days later on October 1, citing instructions from senior management.

The Let US Decide campaign is pressuring Viacom to reverse its advertising ban through a variety of tactics including placing hundreds of calls each day directly to the offices of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone and other executives through the campaign’s free hotline: 1-800-421-0245. In addition, an email campaign has sent thousands of messages to Viacom’s executives. In the next few weeks, Let US Decide will announce a college newspaper campaign and a corporate advertiser boycott.

About Let US Decide

The Let US Decide coalition is committed to promoting free speech among America’s youth. Bringing together leading youth, civic and political organizations representing millions of members, the coalition is asking Viacom to stop banning advertisements on issues of concern to young Americans.

Coalition members include Compare Decide Vote, People for the American Way, Music for America, Downhill Battle, Young Democrats of America, Young Voter Alliance, Project Billboard, 21st Century Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, New Democrat Network, The Youth Project, American Progress Action Fund, Network Progress and the Participatory Politics Foundation.


- Compare Decide Vote

Knock Knock Knock

Knock Knock Viacom: Your Audience Is Outside, And We Need To Talk:

Protesters from fourteen leading organizations will take Viacom's headquarters by surprise this afternoon when they demand a debate with the media giant's CEO over its restrictive ad policies. Starting at 12.30pm, protesters, many of them wearing blindfolds, will place hundreds of calls directly to Viacom's CEO Sumner Redstone, asking him to justify his company's ban on certain political ads to young people. The Let US Decide campaign was initiated after Viacom accepted then later refused to run an ad by the youth voting organization Compare Decide Vote.

A press conference outside Viacom's headquarters in Times Square will be held at 12.30pm (1515 Broadway, between 44th and 45th streets)

"We're asking Sumner Redstone to stop hiding and face his audience," said Lisa Seitz Gruwell, director of Compare Decide Vote. "Viacom has been abusing its virtual onopoly over youth programming to censor legitimate political advertising. It's time for the media giant to tell us why they're banning debate on vital issues."



continued:

"Viacom has a virtual-monopoly on youth programming and makes massive profits from advertising to young people," said Franz Hartl, spokesperson for Music For America. "They have a responsibility to their audiences as well - to let us compare candidates and decide for ourselves who to vote for."

Viacom recently rejected an ad by Compare Decide Vote. "Play the game" urges young people to compare presidential candidates' positions on important issues. It can be viewed at www.comparedecidevote.com. A draft of the ad was submitted to Comedy Central and was accepted on September 28, only to be rejected later on October 1, citing instructions from senior management.

The Let US Decide campaign is pressuring Viacom to reverse its advertising ban through a variety of tactics including placing hundreds of calls each day directly to the offices of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone and other executives through the campaign's free hotline: 1-800-421-0245. In addition, an email campaign has sent thousands of messages to Viacom's executives. In the next few weeks, Let US Decide will announce a college newspaper campaign and a corporate advertiser boycott.


and more...


The Let US Decide coalition is committed to promoting free speech among America's youth. Bringing together leading youth, civic and political organizations representing millions of members, the coalition is asking Viacom to stop banning advertisements on issues of concern to young Americans.

Coalition members include Compare Decide Vote, People for the American Way, Music for America, Downhill Battle, Young Democrats of America, Young Voter Alliance, Project Billboard, 21st Century Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, New Democrat Network, The Youth Project, American Progress Action Fund, Network Progress and the Participatory Politics Foundation.


-- Knock Knock Viacom: Your Audience Is Outside, And We Need To Talk
-- Youth protesters to take Viacom headquarters by surprise
-- Demand a debate with CEO over restrictive ad policies
-- TV ad by Compare Decide Vote banned by media giant
-- Press Confernce Outside Viacom Hq: 12.30pm

Viacom Action Center
CompareDecideVote
blog


- Compare Decide Vote

Friday, October 15, 2004

Compare Decide Vote Ads

See the Ads:

  • "Clear Choice"

  • "Account Balance"

  • "Play the Game"


  • - Compare Decide Vote

    Focus on Issues

    Bush and Kerry on Abortion and Family Planning
    Bush and Kerry on Constitutional Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage
    Bush and Kerry on Minimum Wage
    Bush and Kerry on Stem Cell Research
    Bush and Kerry on Equal Pay for Equal Work
    Bush and Kerry on Jobs Plan
    Bush and Kerry on Outsourcing American Jobs
    Bush and Kerry on Overtime Pay
    Bush and Kerry on Public Education
    Bush and Kerry on Balanced budget
    Bush and Kerry on AIDS
    Bush and Kerry on Child Care
    Bush and Kerry on Health Care
    Bush and Kerry on Homeland Security
    Bush and Kerry on War in Iraq
    Bush and Kerry on College Tuition
    Bush and Kerry on Credit Card Debt
    Bush and Kerry on Energy Policy
    Bush and Kerry on Environment
    Bush and Kerry on Military Draft



    - Compare Decide Vote

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    Let US Decide

    This morning's Washington Post headlines, "Not Playing on MTV: Political Ads". The story chronicles how Viacom (which owns MTV, VH1, Comeday Central and BET) is using monopoly status to effectively keep political ads from being seen by young voters. Yesterday, the industry publication Broadcasting & Cable reported:


    MTV spokeswoman Jeanine Smartt says suggesting that Viacom is squelching speech is "not a fair characterization since on all of our channels we speak directly to our audience about issues."


    China doesn't censor, since it has Xinhua to talk about the issues people should care about. Likewise, should we just trust the people who own the TV networks to tell us what issues are important? Never mind that MTV is owned by Viacom and Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone set off a huge debate when he endorsed George Bush (see last weeks' in-depth Newsweek article).


    "Disenfranchising Youth Voters"


    Matt Stoller says this censorship is "disenfranchising youth voters":


    And now, Viacom steps in to the fray, and shows a cynical disregard for its viewership by refusing to run political advertising on the youth oriented networks it controls, which comprises most watched youth programming nationwide. This is another way of disenfranchising youth voters, by treating them as if the political system does not apply to them and enforcing censorship on the channels they use to get information about their lives.


    Of course, there are always ways of getting around censorship, they just cost a lot more money. That is why Viacom has created a situation where an ad on equal pay for equal work would cost three or four times as much as an ad for Girls Gone Wild. If you wanted to run ads on BET focusing on issues important to black voters, you would face the same price gourging. Broadcasting & Cable continues:


    Because it can't buy time on Comedy or networks like MTV and Spike TV, Compare Decide Vote now has to buy time on local cable and broadcast to reach potential young voters, which is pricier than buying time on a national network, according to director Lisa Seitz Gruwell.


    Naturally, a lot of us young people are pissed off. Which accounts for the huge traffic over at the Viacom Action Center.


    Over at Music for America, Josh Koenig writes:


    They probably believe they have a right to refuse to run political content because they give space to 501c(3) orgs like Rock The Vote and Declare Yourself, which urge people to vote more or less "just because."


    But here's the thing: becoming an engaged participant in civic life and the political process isn't something you do "just because." It's about formulating and acting upon opinions, and that's about information. Participation starts with making choices based on your (hopefully informed) judgement as to which candidate(s) will best protect and advance your interests, not printing a voter reg form off the internet because a celebrity implied that it was cool. While I'm glad (super glad!) that Rock the Vote and Declare Yourself exist and are registering gobs and gobs of people to vote, they do not in and of themselves express or constitute an informed political consciousness.


    Viacom apparently believes that their channels, which reach millions of potential young participants, are not an appropriate forum for additional data which might set their viewers down the path towards forming such a consciousness for themselves.


    On the other hand, if an ad promotes getting drunk (Bass, Guiness, Baileys, Coors Light), flashing your tits (Girls Gone Wild), getting regular boners (Enzite), or even just staying in and playing video games it's all good.


    So, yeah. The message is clear. Consumerism, intoxication and sex are great, but don't try and spread the raw materials from which people might form some political opinions. We oppose that. We will not take your money to run ads which do this.


    Can you think of anything more condescending than that? Anything more patronizing? Anything more un-American? Our future is on the line -- our jobs, our education, our health, the looming spectre of widening warfare and compulsatory military service -- and the corporate masters of our media universe want to keep us in a happy haze. Viacom really wants to be the opiate of the masses.


    That and they want to hide the fact that Bush's record and agenda sucks ass from the youth perspective. Sumner Redstone is clearly trying to help his man out by keeping Bush's record on education and the minimum wage off the airwaves. My response? Fuck you, Sumner. I will burn you down.


    So lets make a stink. I'm tired of the anesthetization of our generation by the broadcast giants. This is bullshit, and we shouldn't stand for it. If we can put the screws to Sumner and his Viacom cronies, maybe we can get them to re-think their position.


    JOIN THE EFFORT


    Visit the Viacom Action Center.


    Call to complain: 1-800-421-0245


    And of course, let's not forget why we are doing this. If you know any young, or virgin voter, let them know they can get information on where Bush and Kerry stand on the issues by visiting http://www.comparedecidevote.com.


    If you want to follow this scandal, visit the CDV Blog


    Coalition members include Compare Decide Vote, Music for America, Downhill Battle, Project Billboard, People for the American Way, America Votes, 21st Century Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, New Democrat Network, The Youth Project, American Progress Action Fund, Network Progress and the Participatory Politics Foundation.



    - Compare Decide Vote

    Concord Monitor

    News in the Concord Monitor.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    New York Times covers Viacom Scandal

    The New York Times:

    Political Ad Policy At Viacom Is Protested
    An advocacy group called Compare Decide Vote has started a campaign urging Viacom to accept political advertising on its MTV Networks cable channels. The campaign began after one of the group's commercials promoting Senator John Kerry was rejected by Comedy Central.

    Jeanine Smartt, a spokeswoman for MTV Networks, said its policy prohibited accepting all political advertising for the MTV channel or any political spots for other channels that are not sponsored by the candidates or party committees.

    The rejected commercial depicts Senator Kerry and President Bush as characters in a video game and urges viewers to "play the game" and "control the system." Compare Decide Vote said Comedy Central accepted the spot on Sept. 28 but reversed its decision three days later. Ms. Smartt said she was "not aware of that chain of events."The commercial started appearing Tuesday after Compare Decide Vote bought time on local cable systems in markets including Boston, Minneapolis and Washington. Many such systems have less stringent policies against advocacy ads.

    Compare Decide Vote, based in Redwood City, Calif., is joined by groups including People for the American Way and 21st Century Democrats in the effort to urge Viacom to change its policy. The groups are asking viewers to call or write Viacom executives and advertisers.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Politopics

    Politopics, "The blogs are blowing up and bringing to light some other networks that are doing the same such as Viacom with the CompareDecideVote ad they won't run."


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Compare Decide Vote Ads

    See the Compare Decide Vote ads banned by Viacom:


    Compare Decide Vote - "Clear Choice" ad
    Compare Decide Vote - "Account Balance" ad
    Compare Decide Vote - "Play the Game" ad

    - Compare Decide Vote


    We got Bob Neill

    Howze 'bout I say "Bob Neill" and you read on:


    www.comparedecidevote.com is a new website that offers voters direct comparison between Bush and Kerry on the issues that matter. No more side-stepping, bull-sh*tting, or prepackaged soundbites. This site cuts to the chase and serves up the facts. Check it out.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Washington Post covers Viacom Scandal

    Not Playing on MTV: Political Ads
    By John F. HarrisWednesday, October 13, 2004; Page A09

    Young people tend to watch a lot of MTV. Political activists tend to spend a lot of time trying to connect with young people. It would seem only natural that buying ads on MTV and its sister channels would be a great way to reach young people with a political message.

    But there's a roadblock. On Viacom's MTV Networks, which owns MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central -- all popular with younger viewers -- no issue advocacy ads are allowed; some channels do allow advertising directly from candidates.

    Now the spurned political activists are fighting back. A coalition of 13 advocacy groups yesterday announced the creation of Let US Decide, devoted to pressuring Viacom into changing its policy. The group's organizers said they are launching a petition drive, and have set up a toll-free hotline, in which calls will be transferred to the executive suite of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone.

    The group was born out of the experience of Compare Decide Vote, an independent liberal group that is encouraging young people to vote. The group said it had an ad accepted on Comedy Central last month, only to be rejected two days later when the network cited a policy of not taking ads from such political groups. Lisa Seitz Gruwell, director of Compare Decide Vote, accused Viacom of a "double-standard," since Redstone has prominently backed President Bush and other Republicans, but does not make some of the company's most popular shows open to ads "providing simple information about candidates' positions."

    An official with MTV Networks said that public affairs issues are regularly raised through programming, but the company has a long-standing policy of turning down advocacy advertising.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Media Post

    Liberal Groups Charge Viacom With Bias
    by David Kaplan

    A coalition of liberal groups is charging Viacom with bias in connection with the media company's apparent refusal to run the coalition's advertising on its networks.

    The coalition, Let US Decide, which claims to represent 13 leading youth, civic, and political organizations such as People for The American Way and The New Democrat Network, has launched a media campaign Tuesday intended to pressure Viacom to rescind its ban on political advertising on its youth networks, said Tom O'Reilly, a spokesman for the coalition. Let US Decide plans to use advertising, e-mail, and phone campaigns in its effort to get the ad that Viacom accepted--and then later refused to run--on air. The initial ad was created by a member of the coalition, a self-described youth voting organization called Compare Decide Vote.

    "[Viacom Chairman and CEO] Sumner Redstone has no problem using his Viacom bully pulpit to make his political views widely known," said Lisa Seitz Gruwell, director of Compare Decide Vote, in a teleconference Tuesday. "But when it comes to allowing free speech to young people on its networks, Viacom clearly has a double standard. While the media giant proudly promotes programming aimed at young people, it denies them access to ads from organizations like Compare Decide Vote providing simple information about candidates' positions."

    "Play the Game," the ad Viacom purportedly rejected, was created by Compare Decide Vote, and urges young people to compare presidential candidates' positions on a variety of issues. It can be viewed at www.comparedecidevote.com. A draft of the ad was submitted to Comedy Central and was accepted on September 28, O'Reilly said, adding that the group was informed of its eventual rejection on October 1, citing instructions from senior management.

    In the coming weeks, the Let US Decide campaign will pressure Viacom to reverse its advertising ban through a variety of tactics:

    In addition to Let US Decide's media campaign, the group plans to call for a boycott of Viacom's major advertisers in hopes that those targeted companies will in turn endorse the group's desire to get its ads on Viacom's networks.

    A Viacom spokeswoman said that the company does not accept "issue-oriented" or advocacy-based advertising on any of its networks as a matter of policy. Furthermore, the company does accept national political ads on all its properties except for MTV.

    "The reason behind our policy distinction between issue-ads and political campaign ads is simply that across all our properties we talk about these issues every day," said the Viacom spokeswoman.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Virgin Voter

    I was really glad to find this post. Zachary Geballe created the blog to take a "look at how the 2004 election process is affecting first-time voters, specifically the 18-25-year-old population."

    Virgin Voter:

    Political advertisement has always been a down-and-dirty type of game. One needs not look any further than the 1964 “Daisy” ad of President Lyndon Johnson.

    The last year has seen a number of battles waged over a slew of political advertisements. No, I’m not just talking about all that Swift Boat nonsense, or even about the reams of false information about VP Cheney and Halliburton. I’m talking about a systemic effort by certain media companies to promote or prevent certain views from getting out.

    It all began at this year’s Super Bowl. Some of you might remember that MoveOn.org attempted to buy airtime during CBS’ broadcast of the Super Bowl for an ad critical of President’s Bush’s economic policies, only to be denied because CBS felt it was “issue-advocacy advertising.” That didn’t stop them from airing an ad from anti-smoking zealots TheTruth.com [to view the ad, click here and then choose your playback medium]. Earlier this year we documented our feelings about this issue. Now, it seems that the high-ups at CBS might have changed their minds a bit. First, there was “RatherGate,” and then the CEO of Viacom, which owns CBS, and the co-president, both gave the maximum to Kerry-Edwards. That doesn’t change the fact that CBS thought that the Super Bowl was a forum for farting horses, not legitimate political discourse.

    Viacom isn’t exactly done, either. In a story that has so far flown under the major-media radar, Viacom is refusing to air a series of ads produced by website CompareDecideVote.com. The ads were meant to run during such Viacom programs as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Chappelle’s Show, and Total Request Live, shows mainly watched by Virgin Voters. Why? Maybe because the ads are critical of President Bush, who just happens to support deregulation of media conglomeration. Viacom, and it’s CEO, Sumner Redstone, are looking to garner even more market share, so it might not be a surprise that he’s voting for Bush. Oh, except he did give money to Kerry (see above). Now that’s what I call a flip-flop.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Baobabs

    Zephyr at Boababs:

    No Ads on Jon Stewart
    Compare Decide Vote tried to run ads on the Jon Stewart Show, MTV, other places to reach young voters, but Viacom said no. Compare Decide Vote is asking for help pressuring the shows, to get information to voters

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Around the world

    Democrats Abroad Japan:

    CDV is an excellent tool for the younger voter to look at the issues and make an informed choice. and viacom is trying to make sure that MTV and its other youth-focused channels don't air the commercial that goes with this project. http://www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom/


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Last week's Newsweek

    Great article in Newsweek:

    Media Mogul Maelstrom
    The Viacom CEO endorses George Bush and sets off a debate about political partisanship

    Oct. 4 - Should media moguls refrain from endorsing presidential candidates? After all, their empires include television networks and other properties that provide news coverage of the campaign. And much—if not all—of their business is regulated by the federal government. The question has gained new urgency in New York and Washington after Sumner Redstone, who controls CBS-parent Viacom, enthusiastically endorsed President George W. Bush.

    Keep reading...
    On the whole, these companies have pushed for broad deregulation of the media industries, seeking to extend their reach and size in television, radio, cable and programming. They want greater protection of their TV shows and movies from digital piracy. And they have moved aggressively against any legislative or regulatory moves to allow consumers to pick and chose the cable channels they want. Currently, consumers are mostly stuck with choosing among packages, or tiers, of channels assembled by the cable operator.

    Viacom has been a major supporter of rules that would allow it to expand in television, especially through ownership of local TV stations. “You have to believe Redstone, in making his endorsement, is keenly aware that his desire to own more media properties and to be further deregulated depends on favorable treatment from White House,” says Kimmelman of Consumers Union.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Multichannel News

    Linda Moss at Multichannel News:

    Viacom Blitzed for Not Running Ad

    A coalition of Democratic-leaning groups has launched a protest against Viacom Inc. -- including a raft of phone calls channeled directly to chairman Sumner Redstone’s office -- because the media giant’s network, Comedy Central, is refusing to run its ad.

    The Let Us Decide coalition is urging the public to e-mail and phone Viacom as part of its protest. The group claimed that its members placed hundreds of calls to Redstone’s office Tuesday using a toll-free hotline the organization has set up, and it is also urging audiences to boycott Viacom’s major advertisers.

    Coalition leader and member Compare Decide Vote, a youth-voting organization, said a draft of its animated TV spot was submitted to Comedy and was accepted Sept. 28, only to then be rejected Oct. 1, “citing instructions from senior management,” according to the group. The ad buy on Comedy was for $115,000, part of a $750,000 ad budget.

    The “Play the Game” ad -- which is set up like a video game with a graphic style bearing some resemblance to Comedy’s South Park -- compares President Bush’s and Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) three issues: the cost of college, minimum wages and the war in Iraq.

    During a press-conference call Tuesday, Compare Decide Vote alleged that Viacom has a near-monopoly on the youth market, and that it has a responsibility to promote free speech on its networks.

    In response, MTV Networks spokeswoman Jeanine Smartt said the company has a strict policy of not accepting any issue-oriented or advocacy ads on its channels. MTVN does accept political advertising on its networks, except for MTV: Music Television, but those commercials must be sponsored by political candidates, political parties or committees, she added.

    Smartt also denied that MTVN is trying to hamper anyone’s freedom of speech in any way. “We speak to our audiences all the time in a nonpartisan way,” she said.

    Because it can’t buy time on Comedy or networks like MTV and Spike TV, Compare Decide Vote now has to buy time on local cable and broadcast to reach potential young voters, which is pricier than buying time on a national network, according to director Lisa Seitz Gruwell.

    The Let Us Decide coalition also pointed out that Redstone made remarks favorable to Bush in an interview with the Asian Wall Street Journal.

    “Sumner Redstone has no problem using his Viacom bully pulpit to make his political views widely known,” Gruwell said in a prepared statement. “But when it comes to allowing free speech to young people on its networks, Viacom clearly has a double standard.”

    The coalition being spearheaded by Compare Decide Vote also includes People for the American Way, Downhill Battle, 21st Century Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, New Democrat Network, The Youth Project and the American Progress Action Fund.



    - Compare Decide Vote

    overflowing inbox

    The Viacom Action Center has a tool to allow people to easy email the decision makers in charge of the censoring. It is set up so Compare Decide Vote gets a copy of the email. I want to share some of the comments people are emailing to Viacom:

    I could hardly believe it when I heard about your decision to ban issue-based political advertising on your channels with youth audiences. As the owners of MTV, VH1, BET and Comedy Central, surely you are aware that you have a virtual monopoly on advertising outlets for 18-20-somethings.

    While you apparently feel no qualms about using your priveleged access to advertise for the inane and offensive "Girls Gone Wild" videos ("Real College Girls"??? I mean, PLEASE!), and countless brands of alcohol and sexual performance-enhancing drugs, you feel that young voters must be shielded from any information that may help them make an informed political decision?


    At best, this is patronizing to the extreme; at worst, it is an intentional suppression of free speech to serve your own political ends (which you have clearly stated comprise the re-election of George W. Bush). Why are you so afraid that young people will find out about where the candidates stand on issues? Your very actions betray the reality you are trying to obscure: that the policies of our current Administration are terrible for young people.

    And you want to keep it that way, because "It's good for Viacom." Well, at least this time you're honest about why you're doing it.

    But, as a member of your audience, I implore you to reconsider; stop suppressing free speech before this most important of elections.

    another person writes:

    Viacom controls the most important youth-oriented channels in this country. As a media giant, you have a civic responsibility to allow meaningful debate of the important issues ahead of one of the most important elections in our history.

    Young people in this country deserve to compare the candidates, decide which they agree with and make an informed vote. We don't need media giants censoring the issues we want to talk about.

    I'm an avid Viacom audience member - I'm the reason your company makes millions of advertising dollars every year - and I am asking you to stop banning important political debate on your networks.

    Please, live up to your civic responsibility. Stop restricting free speech on Viacom's youth networks and please, let US decide.

    Here is another great email:

    Your decision to censor a legitimate campaign asking your audience to compare the candidates and vote is outrageous. Not only are you harming democratic debate merely because of your personal political preferences, but you will be harming your advertisers through shameless partisanship which will reflect on their bottom line.

    The media has a responsibility to the public. Your license depends on it. Stop banning the advertisements.


    And:

    Why do I consistently hear about "left-wing media bias"? It's amazing that I hear so much about this phenonmenon, yet everywhere I turn, either Sinclair Broadcasting is airing partisan documentaries prior to the election or Viacom refuses to air legitimate, paid-for commercials by young people attempting to make their voice be heard by letting their
    peers decide for the best candidate.


    Is this really the lesson we want to be teaching to our young people? That big media is in control of the public sphere? Viacom controls the youth market. What better way for a youth group to persuade young people to vote is there than letting their commercials appear on your networks? The website these young people are trying to advertise makes sure that
    it's up to the individual to decide who to vote for... a non-partisan site.


    Please reconsider your decision and air these Let Us Decide commercials. I am a 40-year-old, and I would really hate to stop watching the Daily Show because you wouldn't let young people voice their opinions.

    Please take a moment and Email Viacom, let them that what they are doing is wrong!

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Matt Stoller: "disenfranchising youth voters"

    First Kos, now Matt Stoller? This is going Big Time on the blogosphere:


    Media consolidation is a theme that strikes Americans as deeply ominous, and we are starting to see why, and how we can fight back. Sinclair decided to give an illegal $5 million in-kind contribution to the Bush/Cheney campaign in the form of a free Swift Boat ad. Jay Rosen, journalism chair at NYU, calls this 'unprecedented.' And it is. It's abuse of a broadcasters' responsibility to its viewers, and to make matters worse, Sinclair classified this movie as 'news'. The emergent blogosphere reacted, with a database of Sinclair advertisers and a great discussion on how to influence them.

    And now, Viacom steps in to the fray, and shows a cynical disregard for its viewership by refusing to run political advertising on the youth oriented networks it controls, which comprises most watched youth programming nationwide. This is another way of disenfranchising youth voters, by treating them as if the political system does not apply to them and enforcing censorship on the channels they use to get information about their lives.

    Stoller continues...

    This is not just stupid and irresponsibility on Viacom and Sinclair's part. It is bad for business. If broadcasters use their channels to suppress the political agenda of mainstream groups, they will find their audiences will go elsewhere. Even now, advertisers are pulling off of Sinclair's channel. And there will be other avenues for youth programming, on the right and on the left. And in the middle.

    So if you think that Howard Stern jumping to Sirius Satellite Radio is one-off, you're wrong. Stern is saying, you don't own me, you don't own my fans, and you don't own this community of listeners. And the revolution that post-broadcast politics is forcing on the country will bypass the corporate behemoths, unless they learn to operate in concert with the needs of their communities.

    Because now those communities can and will talk back. So check Viacom and Sinclair's stock.

    Viacom
    Sinclair Broadcasting

    And then check it again in a year.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    bloggy

    Bloggy:

    I learned about CompareDecideVote from Cory Arcangel (warning - web page with sound). They do some great side-by-side comparisons of Kerry and Bush positions, but I went to see the ad by Ben Jones and Paper Rad. Click on the "see the ads", then "Play the Game" to see it.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Broadcasting & Cable

    From the (subscription only) Broadcasting and Cable:

    Viacom Inc. faces a possible boycott of its advertisers, and chairman Sumner Redstone a lot of phone calls, as part of a protest from a coalition of Democratic youth groups like Compare, Decide Vote and The Youth Project and not-so-youthful groups like People for the American Way and the American Progress Action Fund.

    The Let Us Decide Coalition says that it had a $115,000 buy booked on Comedy Central for the first ad in a planned $750,000 combined local and national cable and broadcast campaign, only to have it rejected by Viacom Oct. 1, citing its standing policy against issue advertising.

    The ads ask young voters to compare policies of the two candidates--like minimum wage--and then decide who to vote for, with the current administration clearly suffering in the comparison.

    The coalition has a couple of problems with the decision. First there is the principle of the thing, which they say is Viacom "banning legitimate political advertising to young people on its networks." They argue that Viacom, through Comedy Central, VH1, BET and various MTV's, has a virtual monopoly on the youth audience that carires with it a civic responsibility to air the ads.

    Then there is the economics. It is more expensive to reproduce that $115,000 buy going market-to-market, as they have had to do with the campaign, with the first of three ads launching Monday night.

    The group plans to urge an audience ad boycott, take out ads in college newspapers, send signed online petitions to Viacom executives and place "hundreds of calls daily" to Redstone's office.

    Compare, Decide, Vote Director Lisa Seitz Gruwell say the the groups will push hard for two weeks to try to get Viacom to reverse its rejections, while continuing its scattershot approach with local buys on cable and some broadcast.

    Viacom had not returned calls at press time, but Seitz says the coalition alerted Redstone's office to expect the calls and that Viacom responded that it "welcomed the input."

    Viacom caught some heat for refusing to run a moveon.org ad in the Super Bowl that was critical of Bush economic policy, also citing its policy against issue ads.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    e.the People

    e.thePeople:

    For undecided voters, or anyone who wants to take a quiz seeing how their own views compare to those of Bush and Kerry, go to http://www.comparedecidevote.com/ It's in a quiz format, and you see side-by-side comparisons of the candidates' policies and proposals. It only takes a few minutes.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Blogosphere support continues

    From Bay to the Beltway:

    What a bunch of fuckers. If you want to target young people on TV, you have to go through Viacom. But the assholes don't want the young voters to find out about the issues at stake in this year's presidential race. Call Viacom at 1-800-421-0245 and complain. This is total bullshit.Here is the link for more information.

    UPDATE: I just called, they sounded fed up, like a whole lotta people had
    been calling. Good.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    CJ weighs in

    From My Beer Included:

    Making It Easy
    I found this site through Kos and felt it would beneficial to those who have had trouble figuring out that John Kerry will make a better president than Shrub. It's very simply designed and will take you only a moment to see why I support John Kerry. Look at their thinking regarding college tuition and Pell Grants. My daughter goes to college on a Pell Grant. Thanks to Shrub, I know why she wasn't able to carry a full load this year. Vote for John Kerry! He is not living in a dream world.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    More Blogosphere Angst

    Fever Pytch joins the effort:

    Dude, Viacom make all their money off of kids, they simply must be held accountable.

    F**kers.


    Not to be outdone, Blogswarm headlines, Total Bullshit.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Weinberger Reports

    David Weinberger mentions:

    Outlandish Josh reports that Viacom is refusing to run ads (see one here) from Compare, Decide, Vote that compare Kerry and Bush on some Youth-Oriented Issues and find Bush wanting. Viacom has not said why they've rejected the ad. Sumner Redstone, the owner of Viacom, is a Bush supporter.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    What others are saying

    Cowboyz 'n' Poodles gave Let US Decide a plug.

    Southpaw says:

    If you have anyone who is still making up there mind about voting, especially younger people, send them to Compare Decide Vote. Send them today. The site offers an interactive quiz on 20 issues ranging from college tuition to Iraq to minimum wage, then compares the records of George Bush and John Kerry. Visitors can then choose which candidate matches their views, and decide who they fit with best. Finally, voting rights and information are given to help anyone cast a vote. No wonder Viacom wouldn't run the group's ads on it's stations.

    CompareDecideVote is a highly recommended site.


    Damn Liberals agrees.

    Just Between Strangers says:

    Compare, Decide, Vote -- they go through 20 issues, providing the two candidates' positions on each, and you can click which one more closely agrees with your thoughts. Then it will summarize your leanings, and provide state-specific information about voting. (This is intended particularly for young voters who may not be getting good information, but send the link to anybody who needs guidance!)http://www.comparedecidevote.com/

    Have you blogged about Compare Decide Vote -- let us know by emailing info[at]comparedecidevote.com


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Viacom: The Opiate Of The Masses

    Over at MfA, Josh Koenig writes:

    Viacom, the media mega-corp with a monopoly on youth-culture channels and a CEO who's backing Bush is refusing to air political advertisements that go beyond simply encouraging voting "just because" and step up to address the issues.

    Wanna do something about it?

    It's a moment to take a stand against media consolidation and against corporate elites who patronize and dumb-down our generation by trying to screen them from real political content.

    Here's the story. There's this little venture that wants to do youth-oriented political advertisements. They're called Compare, Decide, Vote. The ads are a little cheeky, but they're certainly no more offensive than any candidate ads, and a damn sight less creepy than any of that Swift Boat nonsense. They point out where Kerry and Bush differ on issues that might matter to younger voters -- college costs, minimum wage, Iraq -- and urge the viewer to compare, decide, and vote.

    The idea was to run them during the Daily Show, TRL, Chapelle, etc; get some good issue-based content out there to remind us tykes there are real choices at stake on Nov 2nd.

    Pretty simple, right? Well, Viacom, with it's near-monopoly on young-adult oriented programming (MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, BET) is refusing to allow the ads to air.

    Let me explain exactly why this is TOTAL BULLSHIT. First of all, Sumner Redstone (the tycoon in charge) is a Bush supporter by virtue of W's pro-consolidation platform. Suspect.

    Secondly, they've given no real reason why they're not going to air the ads. They probably believe they have a right to refuse to run political content because they give space to 501c(3) orgs like Rock The Vote and Declare Yourself, which urge people to vote more or less "just because."

    But here's the thing: becoming an engaged participant in civic life and the political process isn't something you do "just because." It's about formulating and acting upon opinions, and that's about information. Participation starts with making choices based on your (hopefully informed) judgement as to which candidate(s) will best protect and advance your interests, not printing a voter reg form off the internet because a celebrity implied that it was cool. While I'm glad (super glad!) that Rock the Vote and Declare Yourself exist and are registering gobs and gobs of people to vote, they do not in and of themselves express or constitute an informed political
    consciousness.

    Viacom apparently believes that their channels, which reach millions of potential young participants, are not an appropriate forum for additional data which might set their viewers down the path towards forming such a consciousness for themselves.

    On the other hand, if an ad promotes getting drunk (Bass, Guiness, Baileys, Coors Light), flashing your tits (Girls Gone Wild), getting regular boners (Enzite), or even just staying in and playing video games it's all good.

    So, yeah. The message is clear. Consumerism, intoxication and sex are great, but don't try and spread the raw materials from which people might form some political opinions. We oppose that. We will not take your money to run ads which do this.

    Can you think of anything more condescending than that? Anything more patronizing? Anything more un-American? Our future is on the line -- our jobs, our education, our health, the looming spectre of widening warfare and compulsatory military service -- and the corporate masters of our media universe want to keep us in a happy haze. Viacom really wants to be the opiate of the masses.

    That and they want to hide the fact that Bush's record and agenda sucks ass from the youth perspective. Sumner Redstone is clearly trying to help his man out by keeping Bush's record on education and the minimum wage off the airwaves. My
    response? Fuck you, Sumner. I will burn you down.

    So lets make a stink. I'm tired of the anesthetization of our generation by the broadcast giants. This is bullshit, and we shouldn't stand for it. If we can put the screws to Sumner and his Viacom cronies, maybe we can get them to re-think their position.



    - Compare Decide Vote

    Kos on Let US Decide campaign

    Kos just hyped the Viacom scandal:

    Viacom is in on the game as well. They have refused to air this ad by a youth GOTV outfit -- Compare | Decide | Vote. They also refuse to air the organization's two other ads (here and here.)


    This outfit is targetting the same-day registration states -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, and New Hampshire, but Viacome won't air their ads. And Viacom controls just about every youth-oriented cable station (Comedy Central, MTV, VH-1, BET).




    - Compare Decide Vote

    Let US Decide

    Let US Decide Campaign
    Calling on Viacom to lift its political advertising ban
    Action center at:
    www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom


    Join millions of young people telling Viacom to let US decide… place a free call directly to CEO Sumner Redstone on 800-421-0245 … visit the action center at www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom

    Who we are

    Let US Decide is a new campaign launching on Tuesday, bringing together the country’s leading youth, civic and political organizations to call on media giant Viacom to stop banning legitimate political advertising to young people on its networks. The coalition, representing millions of members, will use advertising, email and phone campaigns, combined with protest demonstrations and a Viacom advertiser boycott to pressure the company to promote free speech on its youth channels. Visit us, join us and join the fight through the Let US Decide Action Center at www.comparedecidevote.com/viacom

    Coalition members include Compare Decide Vote, Music for America, Downhill Battle, Project Billboard, People for the American Way, 21st Century Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, New Democrat Network, Young Voter Alliance, The Youth Project, American Progress Action Fund, Network Progress and the Participatory Politics Foundation

    The issue

    Viacom is abusing its near-monopoly position by banning ads that talk to young people about the issues they care about. The company has a civic responsibility to allow debate on its powerful channels.

    Most recently, the media giant rejected a message from non-profit group Compare Decide Vote, an organization urging young people to compare presidential candidates across a range of issues and to vote in this year’s election.

    The ad, addressing the issues of college funding, minimum wage and the Iraq war was banned by Comedy Central, citing Viacom’s unpublished policy to refuse any ads that don’t come from official candidates. View the banned ad at www.comparedecidevote.com.

    What we’re asking for

    We’re asking Viacom to do the right thing: stop banning free speech on your networks – let young people decide for themselves on the important issues they care about.

    Tell Viacom to let US decide: call 800-421-0245 – we’ll put you straight through to Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone’s office where you can leave him a message telling him to lift the company’s ban on free speech
    Send top Viacom execs an email through the Let US Decide action center at www.comparedecidevote.com.

    Most importantly, make sure Viacom doesn’t stop you from deciding: Compare, Decide and Vote in this election.

    Banning meaningful debate

    Viacom has been banning substantive advertising that engages young people on issues they care about most.

    Poll after poll show young people want to hear more about issues they care about and feel that this year’s presidential candidates don’t address their concerns. Viacom has duty to help by letting young people – their audience - decide for themselves on substantive issues. Hip voter registration drives are important, but they’re just not enough – you’ve got to engage on real issues to get young people interested.

    Viacom claims it accepts ads from candidates or parties, but that’s a hollow promise – this year more than ever, presidential candidates are ignoring the big issues young people care about. And campaign finance laws make it harder than ever for organizations who want to air advertising and spur debate.

    Viacom is the gate-keeper to young people

    If you want to speak to young people on television, all roads lead to Viacom. The company has massive reach over young Americans. Its subsidiary, MTV Networks has even been investigated by the Justice Department for antitrust violations and its channels negotiating tactics have been compared to the mafia.

    MTVN beats every network in market share to young people – New York Times
    The MTV channel alone has been the most watched channel by young people for over a decade, reaching more than 86 million households nationwide – Los Angeles Times
    Comedy Central, another subsidiary, runs two of cable’s most watched shows – Los Angeles Times

    Here’s what independent sources have said about Viacom’s dominance over the youth market:

    "Very few people have come to grips with how culturally significant MTV Networks is... We should be paying closer attention to people this powerful." Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television

    “MTV Networks … has given Viacom more influence over the fickle young audience coveted by Madison Avenue than any other media giant.” Los Angeles Times

    “Whether MTV's programming is producing a more tolerant generation is arguable, but few would disagree that MTV influences the trends and social norms of today's youth.” Washington Post

    “With this type of … access to teenagers, MTV has the potential to mold the opinions of its viewers.” Washington Post

    Viacom is putting dollars before democracy

    Let’s not forget why Viacom makes massive profits every year: by delivering the youth market to big advertisers. Viacom is perfectly happy to accept advertising dollars from numerous corporations – including highly polemic companies like Halliburton – but won’t take substantive ads on issues that really affect its audience. Why? Are they scared of angering some of their big corporate donors? With profits like these, Viacom can afford to put the audience first:

    According to the Los Angeles Times MTV has “generated some the biggest profit margins in the media world” - an estimated 56% in 2003 on sales of $929 million.

    With cash-flow margins exceeding 50%, MTV is five times more profitable than most broadcast networks and beats the typical cable outlet by 15%, analysts say.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    DailyKos

    There is a dairy about Compare Decide Vote on Daily Kos.

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    CDV on MyDD

    MyDD has a diary on Compare Decide Vote.

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    New Poll on CDV Ads

    Help us increase young voter turnout by telling us which ad you think is most effective -- take the poll.

    - Compare Decide Vote

    Compare | Decide | Vote

    Compare Decide Vote is a 527 organization that educates young voters about the differences between the two major candidates in the 2004 Presidential election. We use an interactive website to compare the records and plans of John Kerry and George W. Bush on twenty issues important to 18 to 30-year-olds.

    Then, we provide information about voting to make the process simple for the first-time voter. By providing factual information and by demystifying voting, Compare Decide Vote ultimately strives to increase voter participation among the youngest generation of eligible voters.


    - Compare Decide Vote

    Sunday, October 10, 2004

    Compare|Decide|Vote

    Bush and Kerry on Abortion and Family Planning, Bush and Kerry on Constitutional Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage, Bush and Kerry on Minimum Wage, Bush and Kerry on Stem Cell Research, Bush and Kerry on Equal Pay for Equal Work, Bush and Kerry on Jobs Plan, Bush and Kerry on Outsourcing American Jobs, Bush and Kerry on Overtime Pay, Bush and Kerry on Public Education, Bush and Kerry on Balanced budget, Bush and Kerry on AIDS , Bush and Kerry on Child Care, Bush and Kerry on Health Care, Bush and Kerry on Homeland Security, Bush and Kerry on War in Iraq, Bush and Kerry on College Tuition, Bush and Kerry on Credit Card Debt, Bush and Kerry on Energy Policy, Bush and Kerry on Environment, Bush and Kerry on Military Draft

    - Compare | Decide | Vote