e-organizing example

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Jan 28 10:45:47 CST 2004

[ed:  this is a forwarded example of MoveOn's current organizing drive 
to get an ad aired during the Super Bowl.  For those of you unfamiliar 
with the effort, MoveOn sponsored a competition for the best ad critical 
of the Bush administration and then raised the money to get it on the 
Super Bowl.  CBS rejected the ad, even though it is running other 
political ads favorable to Bush.  The two messages below describe their 
organizing strategy and outcomes to date.]

>>second message>>

From:   "Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org" <moveon-help at list.moveon.org>

Dear friend of MoveOn,

Our CBS campaign continues to gain momentum: thousands of calls
were made to CBS yesterday, and over 400,000 emails have been

Some of these calls have been reaching CBS News, which is not our
intended target.  CBS News doesn't have any say in the decision
not to run our ad, so we don't want to interfere with their
operation.  Please make sure that you call the switchboard for
CBS Corporate, which you can reach at:

   (212) 975-4321

We'd love to know if you've made your call -- it helps our
efforts in the press.  You can report that at:

One other piece of great news: Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Wyden
(D-OR) and over 20 members of the House of Representatives
released letters today asking CBS to run ads like "Child's Pay." 
Congratulations: the ground swell that you started has reached
our nation's capital.

Thanks for all that you do,
--Eli Pariser
  January 28th, 2003


>>first message>>

Dear MoveOn member,

Over the last four days, something incredible has happened.  CBS has
received over 340,000 emails and phone calls asking it to stop its
censorship.  Clearly a huge number of us believe that CBS's refusal to run
our Voter Fund ad, while allowing the Bush White House to run an advocacy
ad of its own, is just plain wrong.

Columnists and editorial pages are writing about it.  And on Monday, FCC
commissioner Michael Copps issued a statement on it.  These folks
understand that this issue isn't just about our Voter Fund's ad -- an ad
by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was censored as well.  At
heart, it's about free speech.  Huge companies like CBS that control
access to the publicly owned airwaves have to air opposing points of view.

CBS still refuses to run "Child's Pay."  But together, we can increase the
pressure on CBS.  And through the power of the Internet, we can make sure
that millions of people see the ad and learn about the controversy.  As a
first step, forward this email or the original message attached below to
your friends.  Ask them to check out the ad at:

They can also send an email to CBS and join the campaign at that address. 
If you haven't joined the campaign yet, you can sign the petition there as

Next, consider taking a moment to call CBS and let them know why you
believe their refusal to run ads like this one is wrong.  If you call,
please be calm and polite -- it's not the folks who answer the phones'
fault that CBS made this decision.  You can reach them at:

CBS Comment Line
(212) 975-4321 

(We're spreading out the calls across a number of relevant CBS numbers, so
hopefully you won't get a busy signal.)

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

If you have a website or blog of your own, you can also help by placing a
banner ad or button on the site.  This'll help push the ad to a whole new
level of prominence.  Click on the link below to get images and the code
to put on your site: http://www.moveon.org/cbs/banners.html

Finally, you can contribute to the conversation in the nation's editorial
pages by writing a letter to the editor.  Here are a few tips on writing
an effective letter:

 - Brevity is the soul of wit.

 - The key to publication is to pounce on something specific you've seen
 in the newspaper -- such as a story on Super Bowl advertising.  

 - Be sure to include your name and address, and especially your phone
 number when submitting your letter.  Editors need to call you to verify
 authorship before they can print your letter.  They don't print your
 phone number. 

 - Your newspaper's letters page should give you an email address or fax
 number to use, or you can try this website:

 - Please let us know when you've sent your letter by going to:

Here are a few talking points you can use in your letter:

 * It's about free speech. The First Amendment doesn't mean a whole lot if
 we're denied access to the airwaves.  CBS has a constitutional obligation
 to air opposing points of view.

 * If the White House can run an ad, other groups should be allowed to
 also.  CBS will be airing an ad sponsored by the White House on this
 year's Super Bowl.  Previous ads in this series have implied that buying
 drugs funds terrorism -- a much more controversial claim than the one
 "Child's Pay" makes.  

 * CBS just got a huge favor from the White House.  Senator John McCain
 said that the bill was custom tailored to CBS and Fox, which have been
 lobbying heavily to be able to grow larger.  MoveOn and other groups have
 lobbied against this bill.  Now the White House is allowed to run an ad,
 and groups like MoveOn Voter Fund are not.

 * What's "controversial"? CBS claims that it has a policy against running
 "controversial" issue ads. But the only line in the whole ad is a fact:
 President Bush has created a $1 trillion deficit.  In fact, according to
 numbers released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office
 yesterday, that number's low.

As you know, this campaign is bigger than one ad.  It's about free speech.
 We're putting the country's media on notice that we're not going to take
censorship lying down.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
  The MoveOn.org Team
  January 27th, 2003

P.S. Some of you have written in to tell us that local CBS affiliates are
willing to run the ad.  It's true, and it points out CBS' hypocrisy: If
the "policy" under which it rejected this ad made sense for the national
organization, one would think it would apply to the affiliates as well. 
Placing the ad nationally via affiliates would likely cost several times
the $1.6 million to run it on the network.  But even if in the end CBS
still refuses to broadcast the ad nationwide, we'll make sure it gets on
TV in a powerful way.  Please stay tuned.  

P.P.S. Here's the original message:


Dear friend of MoveOn,

During this year's Super Bowl, you'll see ads sponsored by beer companies,
tobacco companies, and the Bush White House.(1)  But you won't see the
winning ad in MoveOn.org Voter Fund's Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest.  CBS
refuses to air it.(2)

Meanwhile, the White House is on the verge of signing into law a deal
which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says is custom-tailored for CBS and
Fox,(3) allowing the two networks to grow much bigger.  CBS lobbied hard
for this rule change; MoveOn.org members across the country lobbied
against it; and now our ad has been rejected while the White House ad will
be played.  It looks an awful lot like CBS is playing politics with the
right to free speech.

Over the last year, you've been a part of our incredible campaign against
media consolidation.  CBS's censorship demonstrates why this issue is so
important: a few big media companies can effectively stop political
speech.  If we can successfully highlight CBS's unfairness in the media,
we'll be able to push forward our FCC campaign as well.

To watch the ad that CBS won't air and sign our petition to CBS, go to:

If you want to skip the ad and just sign the petition, go to:

We'll deliver the petition by email directly to CBS headquarters.

You also may want to let your local CBS affiliate know you're unhappy
about this decision.We've attached a list of the CBS affiliates in your
state at the bottom of this email. Remember, a polite, friendly call will
be most effective -- just explain to them why you believe CBS' decision
hurts our democracy.

Of course, this is bigger than just the MoveOn.org Voter Fund.  People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) submitted an ad that was also
rejected.(4)  But this isn't even a progressive-vs.-conservative issue. 
The airwaves are publicly owned, so we have a fundamental right to hear
viewpoints from across the ideological spectrum.  That's why we need to
let CBS know that this practice of arbitrarily turning down ads that may
be "controversial" -- especially if they're controversial simply because
they take on the President -- just isn't right.

CBS will claim that the ad is too controversial to air.  But the message
of the ad is a simple statement of fact, supported by the President's own
figures.  Compared with 2002's White House ad which claimed that drug
users are supporting terrorism,(5) it hardly even registers.

CBS will also claim that this decision isn't an indication of political
bias.  But given the facts, that's hard to believe.  CBS overwhelmingly
favored Republicans in its political giving, and the company spent
millions courting the White House to stop FCC reform.(6)  According to a
well-respected study, CBS News was second only to Fox in failing to
correct common misconceptions about the Iraq war which benefited the Bush
Administration -- for example, the idea that Saddam Hussein was involved
with 9/11.(7)

This is not a partisan issue.  It's critical that our media institutions
be fair and open to all speakers.  CBS is setting a dangerous precedent,
and unless we speak up, the pattern may continue.  Please call on CBS to
air ads which address issues of public importance today.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
  The MoveOn.org Team
  January 23rd, 2003

P.S. Our friends at Free Press have put together a page which explains
simply how CBS and the FCC rule change are integrally linked.  Check it
out at: http://www.mediareform.net/media/

P.P.S Here are the CBS affiliates in your state:

WBNS-TV, Columbus: (614) 460-3700
WTOL-TV, Toledo: (419) 248-1111
WOIO-TV, Cleveland: (216) 771-1943
WKBN-TV, Youngstown: (330) 782-1144
WKRC-TV, Cincinnati: (513) 763-5500
WHIO-TV, Dayton: (937) 259-2111


1. "Who's Buying What At the Super Bowl," Ad Age, 1/20/04

2. CBS fax to MoveOn.org Voter Fund, 1/14/04

3. "Democrats Fold on 39% TV Cap Fight", Broadcasting and Cable, 1/21/04

4. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

5. "New Media Campaign Stresses Link between Drugs and Terrorism," U.S.
Dept. of State http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/02020501.htm

6. OpenSecrets.org: "CBS Television Network Soft Money Donations"

7. "Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War," PIPA/Knowledge Networks
Poll http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Iraq/Media_10_02_03_Report.pdf


More information about the Colist mailing list