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Targeting The Advertisers

Sage advice from a TPM reader. I also think looking at the institutional investors -- Putnam and T. Rowe Price -- seems semi-promising. It really is gross mismanagement by the Sinclair executives. If these people want to spend their money and use their resources to help re-elect George W. Bush, that's their right (I'm not a campaign finance reformer, I really do think it's their right), but they're trying to use their jobs as managers to deploy the shareholders' resources as part of the Bush campaign. It's not only one bad management decision, but demonstrates a reckless attitude toward corporate governance. You don't want your money tied up with these people.

October 12, 2004 | Permalink

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» Companies, Shareholders, Unions and Members. from Tim Worstall
Matt Yglesias has a go at a company that appears to be using money and influence in favour of GW Bush. I'm not up to date on all the details so here's what he says: If these people want to [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 13, 2004 6:09:56 AM

» Can You Feel The Cash Tonight from Points of Information
This is by no means news, but I'm getting slightly fed up about the overt corporate endorsements in the US Presidential campaign. There are numerous examples, from Costco supporting ... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 24, 2004 11:56:39 AM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 10:20:15 AM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 10:22:07 AM

Comments

Yes, but...
Getting George Bush elected *is* their long-term profit strategy.

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 12, 2004 11:01:11 AM

Grumpy beat me to the punch: if GWB's election increases the likelihood of growth/profitability etc., then this is might not be a bad strategy. It's kind of like a lobbying expense.

Which is not to say that I approve of this tactic...

Posted by: T: Central | Oct 12, 2004 11:04:17 AM

T Rowe Price eh? Their name keeps popping up, they are also the largest investor in Diebold and Choice Point Data. Also, the NY Times. hmmmmmm

Posted by: Alice Masrshall | Oct 12, 2004 11:13:41 AM

Thanks for the info, Matthew. Can you also look up who the biggest investors in HBO are? They are, after all, running Alexandra Pelosi's puff piece on Kerry right now.

One more favor: how about the biggest investors in PBS, which is running an anti-Bush/pro-Kerry Frontline piece tonight? I wanna boycott them too.

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 11:16:48 AM

I love the whole boycott idea. People thought conservatives were bat-shit insane when they lined up to boycott CBS and the Reagan miniseries. I suspect some of you folks thought it was the wrong thing to do. Now you're all opting for a similar strategy. I actually hope it works. I hope enough folks scare Sinclair into pulling the plug. It would make for some hilarious blogfodder. Keep it up.

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Oct 12, 2004 11:23:09 AM

And what Al said about Frontline and HBO...

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Oct 12, 2004 11:24:11 AM

Al: Have you seen tonight's Frontline already? If not, what gives you the impression it's anti-Bush and/or pro-Kerry? The promos? The press release?

Posted by: mattS | Oct 12, 2004 11:26:08 AM

Matt, you may not be a campaign finance reformer, but surely you advocate corporations obeying existing laws? And, Sinclair would clearly be violating existing campaign finance laws by making this multimillion dollar donation of free air time to the Bush campaign. I have to wonder if there are any laws governing corporations that the Bush administration will enforce. Probably not.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Oct 12, 2004 11:30:08 AM

Have you seen tonight's Frontline already?

Nope, just read the reviews. When even the New York Times calls it "hideously unfair" to Bush, you know there's a problem. More:

""Frontline" does not cut the president any breaks. Not only does it suggest, very firmly, that Mr. Bush used his connections to get into the Guard and then failed to live up to his obligations, it even begrudges him his entry to Harvard. After an early discharge from the Guard in 1973, Mr. Bush "enrolled'' in the Harvard Business School, a narrator said, as if "enrolling" did not require applying and competing for a slot. The illustration of his Paper Chase years is a still photograph of Mr. Bush, sitting on an outdoor step, a huge bubble of gum hanging from his lips. "This is the only picture we could find of him at Harvard," the narrator intones sorrowfully."


Another 1-hour campaign ad for Kerry on the "public" airwaves. Boycott! Boycott!

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 11:34:33 AM

One more favor: how about the biggest investors in PBS, which is running an anti-Bush/pro-Kerry Frontline piece tonight?

PBS is a non-profit. It doesn't have "investors" whose job it is to produce a financial return for.

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 12, 2004 11:44:07 AM

Nope, just read the reviews. When even the New York Times calls it "hideously unfair" to Bush, you know there's a problem.

But whose to say the problem isn't with the New York Times?

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 12, 2004 11:45:10 AM

PBS is a non-profit. It doesn't have "investors" whose job it is to produce a financial return for.


Snark lost on cmdicely...

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 11:49:49 AM

But whose to say the problem isn't with the New York Times?


Could be. And maybe all the newspapers are wrong and the piece Sinclair in running is actually pro-Kerry!

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 11:51:22 AM

PBS is a non-profit. It doesn't have "investors" whose job it is to produce a financial return for.

Nope. But people can "boycott" its fundraising drives. The various calls for such action over the years from the right have yielded paltry results. Which, hopefully, will be the outcome of the liberal outrage, and calls for economic action, of the Sinclair brouhaha.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Oct 12, 2004 11:52:32 AM

Pursuing the Frontline tangent...

Without seeing the piece, I wonder what the implictions are for the Halperin memo. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that one candidate's background really was imeccable while the other wasn't in the same league. Is it fair & balanced to ignore the disparity?

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 12, 2004 11:56:47 AM

Al,
Is the characterization you quoted controversial?

As far as I can tell, Bush used his connections to get in the Guard. Do you think that is unfair?
Bush did not live up to his obligations. He did not. Bush enrolled at Harvard. He did. And he enrolled at Harvard Buisness School after being rejected from University of Texas Law School.

Posted by: theCoach | Oct 12, 2004 12:05:55 PM

Al: Thanks for pointing out the NY Times review. I should note, however, that I think you're taking the "hideously unfair" remark out of context. Here's the quote:

""Frontline" presents side-by-side résumés of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, which is, of course, hideously unfair to Mr. Bush. Starting with black-and-white film of Yale in the mid-60's, PBS slowly and painstakingly contrasts images of Mr. Kerry's youthful seriousness of purpose and wartime bravery with Mr. Bush's irresponsibility and eagerness to avoid combat. A Goldwater hawk, Mr. Bush is shown posing cockily next to a Texas National Guard jet. The documentary shifts to faded color film of American servicemen under fire in Vietnam. Mr. Bush is shown failing in the oil business, while Mr. Kerry is serving the public as a prosecutor. And so on."

Seems to me the author is merely pointing out the obvious: Bush's past is not as impressive, public service-wise, as Kerry's. Any unfairness is merely a product of side-by-side comparison of the two, a comparison Frontline can't really be faulted for making. That said, whether there were more flattering moments in Bush's life to choose from is certainly up for debate.

Posted by: mattS | Oct 12, 2004 12:12:05 PM

As far as I can tell, Bush used his connections to get in the Guard. Do you think that is unfair?


Nope, this is just plain false.

Bush did not live up to his obligations. He did not. Bush enrolled at Harvard. He did. And he enrolled at Harvard Buisness School after being rejected from University of Texas Law School.


Bush lived up to his obligations every bit as much as Kerry did.

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 12:15:01 PM

For those who don't care to rely on neverending nincompoopery of Al, the New York Times characterization of a section of the Frontline report as "hideously unfair" is a joke.

The full sentence is: "'Frontline' presents side-by-side résumés of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, which is, of course, hideously unfair to Bush."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/arts/television/11stan.html

Posted by: Jon | Oct 12, 2004 12:21:52 PM

Any unfairness is merely a product of side-by-side comparison of the two, a comparison Frontline can't really be faulted for making.


Of course Frontline can be faulted for producing a "hideously unfair" comparison between their resumes, if Frontline is using demonstrably false allegations like "Mr. Bush used his connections to get into the Guard".

Hey, I wonder if Kerry's resume includes his meetings with the North Vietnamese in Paris? Or his first campaign's Watergate-style break-in (by Kerry's brother)? Just, you know, asking. I can surely put together a comparison of resumes that will make Kerry look a heck of a lot worse than Bush.

Posted by: Al | Oct 12, 2004 12:29:21 PM

I urge anyone reading this: DO NOT ARGUE with Al's preposterous claims. He would not admit the sky is blue, if his dearly beloved George Bush were saying it was green.

It must be a year ago at this point that I saw Al claim the Bush administration hadn't lied about Iraq's purported WMD. I provided him with extensive documentation of three such lies -- all statements that were 180 degrees the opposite of what was known at the time the statements were made.

Al then disappeared. When he reappeared somewhere else, I again provided him with the evidence. He once more evaporated.

It's funny to see him in action. But it's also frightening and bizarre to witness someone with such a deep hatred and fear of reality.

Posted by: Jon | Oct 12, 2004 12:34:25 PM

Al: ...demonstrably false allegations like "Mr. Bush used his connections to get into the Guard".

So, demonstrate.

Posted by: Dave L | Oct 12, 2004 12:51:05 PM

Interesting argument. Last time I saw this line of reasoning, it was being used to attack corporate charity by libertarians... I agree with both applications -- and the idea behind them, which is that the duty of directors and managers is to maximize shareholder wealth, not to try to help society. What do you think Matthew?

Posted by: DC Corporate Lawyer | Oct 12, 2004 12:56:59 PM

Eh, sorry for the misplaced modifier. In my post immediately above, the second sentence should read "Last time I saw this line of reasoning, libertarians were using it to attack corporate charity..." My bad.

Posted by: DC Corporate Lawyer | Oct 12, 2004 12:59:44 PM

Corporate charity can maximise shareholder wealth - it's a form of good PR. It means your firm's coffee shops (for example) might not be vandalised by anti-globalisation protestors; your products boycotted by people incensed at your policies; or, more subtly, it could mean your products would be bought by altruistic consumers who want a little side order of help for the poor with their strawberry ice cream. The libertarian argument would hold against anonymous corporate charity; but it rarely is. Think how much companies' publicity departments make of, say, mentoring schemes in inner cities.
They don't call it "a form of propaganda", they normally call it "good relations with the surrounding community", but it's the same thing, isn't it? Hell, I don't mind if that is why they do it.

Posted by: ajay | Oct 12, 2004 1:05:15 PM

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