Want to End Media Hate Messages? Go For the Gold.

basketball.jpgUpdate: 4-28-14 No, I’m not going to write a feature about the Clippers controversy to give even a smidge of attention to the ignorance and arrogance of teamowner Donald Sterling’s racist ramblings purportedly captured on audio tape, as it appears his ouster is long overdue, and since media claims that he LIKES attention, akin to the shock jock genre of baiting outrage, it pays to use media mindfulness…(“Don’t bite the hook” and use the George Bernard Shaw quote about pigs and mud to keep ourselves clean amidst media misfires as heinous as this…)

Besides, my position is essentially the same as it was when we all jaw-dropped at the horrific Don Imus slurs circa 2007 below…The best way to toss Sterling is to go for the gold, “whack ’em in the assets” in lather, rinse repeat mode. Fast forward to 2014 and Clippers sponsors are already scrambling but it’s extra painful knowing the players on the TEAM get a double dose of injustice with the fallout…

Salon purports that social media’s acceleration of our culture’s “outrage machine” will help take care of Sterling’s conduct swiftly, but I’m not so sure that it doesn’t continue to tarnish kids worldview with a distorted lens when they’re exposed to mass media drek like this…

Hmn…How do we address myopic miscreants in a civilized society reframing as a ‘teaching moment?’

Tonight on Twitter at 5pmPT/8pmET media literacy voices and media studies teachers like Ms Solomon are using the #K12media hashtag to attempt to do just that. I’m tuning in. I could use a hand making sense of this idiocy.

Reminder: Racism needs pushback and hard stops from voices of every color of the rainbow, not just ‘people of color’…This is EVERYone’s “issue.”Join me?

Original Article April 17, 2007 Imus: Rutgers Race & Respect:

Procter & Gamble bailed first, followed by American Express, General Motors, and GlaxoSmithKline…Incident? The heinous, sexist, racial slurs made against the talented Rutgers women’s basketball team by Don Imus that slammed their moment of celebration.

Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer eloquently stuffed Imus when she contrasted his depiction of the girls as “nappy-headed hos” with the actual facts, “These young ladies who sit before you are valedictorians of their classes, future doctors, musical prodigies and, yes, even Girl Scouts.”

Team captain Essence Carson, for example, is a music major who plays four instruments. Here’s the Rutger’s response via npr audio clip from All Things Considered, and the npr roundtable responses too.

Though the Rutgers team is in the process of forgiving, incidents like this are never forgotten. Slurs uttered into a mass media microphone leak into mind streams like pollution. You can ‘clean it up’ but it’s never quite the same.

Sadly, pop culture has actually promoted shock jocks by embracing outrageousness in ‘can you top this’ modality. Ratings spikes fuel money-grubbing free-enterprise fans whether the message is damaging or not, so the only way to prevent escalation of these mean-spirited blabbermouths is to hit advertisers in the wallet.

Yesterday, an Ad Age article validated, “the best way to effect change in media is to go after the ad dollars.” Denigrating athletes, and an entire race and gender is a fast way to tank profits, eh? Gee, one would think. An estimated $2.5 million in ad revenue left MSNBC altogether; now THAT is some serious clout…

When they started with a slap on the wrist (initial response was just a suspension) it really irked me, because people seem to ignore that the severity and idiocy of comments like this ‘stick,’ particularly with kids.

As I’ve written here before, media misogyny and racism has been tolerated as ‘satire’ far too long; it’s high time we get these clowns to SEE the damage they’re doing when they open their ‘piehole.’ (as the Nickelodeon element would say)

Thankfully, this time, the public outcry was massive, and media advocacy arms were well prepared.

Dads and Daughters immediately launched a full force e-blast to support the Rutgers’ coach and team, applauding their stellar handling of themselves, and urging others to reinforce the fact that the girls KNOW in their hearts and minds that media pundits like Imus do NOT speak for the masses.

Advertisers caved like whipped cream under studio lights (you do know they use shaving cream, right?) and Imus’ show is now dead and gone.

I’m not saying we should rein in free speech, I’m saying we should intelligently vote with our mouths and means to put pressure on advertiser support…because “show me the money” is the media battle cry.

Talk about target marketing. I have a few faves I’d like to bid good riddance to right this minute.

Unfortunately, as long as the public yells encore for “hate TV,” bullying, humiliation, and mocking peer groups for fun, there will be sizable audiences aggregated, where advertisers will flock and flourish.

Hold your snarky e-mails, I’m not saying all media should be squeaky clean Doris Day sunshine either.

In order to switch the track on this runaway train and head in a positive direction, we need to make sure we don’t screech on the brake and kill all the passengers in the process…

We need to seamlessly throw the switch and start supporting media (and advertisers) with meaningful, positive efforts while dialing down the damage of harmful messages already out there.

Our ‘reality show’ counter-marketing to kids leverages this dynamic by revealing the ‘brandwashing’ and brainwashing intentions and deconstructing what’s really inside those media morsels aimed at kids.

Kids have their own purchase power, so we flip the message to negate the pester power, and have kids teach the adults to shut off the valve of support.

That’s all I’m saying…support the positive, counter-market the negative.

Yes, free speech is integral, and actions, words, and dollars DO count, especially with the power of the digital arena…The impotent shrug of parents that have a ‘what can I possibly do’ mentality need a solid bracer; let’s get started on a healthier course.

As Guy Kawasaki said in The Art of the Start, “the enemy of activation is cogitation.”

The next time something chaps your hide that’s sending a toxic cue to kids, go for the gold…The ad dollars are the Achilles heel of the media machine.

Act now.

Consider it a trial offer, redeemable for a healthier worldview for kids.

Pros/Cons of Using Ad Clout to Drive Media Content

Reverb comes in all forms, so it’s important to use media power wisely and be mindful of the message.

Here are a few wake-up calls from Ad Age that foreshadow what happens when advertisers, lobbyists, and special interest groups collide. Worth digesting on multi-levels, with a keen eye toward how advertisers avoid trouble at ANY cost.

Advertiser: Boston Beer Co.
Show: “Opie & Anthony Show”
Event: The “Sex for Sam” contest segment of the “Opie and Anthony Show,” co-sponsored by Boston Beer Co., encouraged people to engage in sexual intercourse in public places — one of them near New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
A public apology by Boston Beer Chairman Jim Koch and cancellation of the program.

Advertisers: Lowe’s Home Improvement and Tyson Foods
Show: ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”
Event: Marketers such as Lowe’s and Tyson thought the show was too racy and violent, and withheld ads in its first season.
Result: Enough other advertisers were more than happy to buy up a bona-fide hit.

Advertiser: Ford Motor Co.
Event: The American Family Association
pressured the car company to drop ads targeted to gays in order to “clean up its act” and be more “family-friendly.”
Result: Ford first agreed to pull ads, but then reversed its decision and continued to advertise Volvo in gay and lesbian publications and said it planned to maintain its “commitment to diversity as an employer and corporate citizen.”

Advertisers: Sony, Viacom Paramount, Combe’s Just for Men, Chattem’s Icy Hot and Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion
Show: NBC’s “Book of Daniel”
Event: After striking a deal to advertise on the NBC dramedy, marketers felt the backlash of signing on to such a controversial show. The American Family Association persuaded advertisers to withdraw their support.
Result: A canceled show.

Advertiser: General Motors Corp.
Show: CBS’s “Survivor: Cook’s Island”
Event: Uproar ensued after CBS reveals that contestants will be separated by race. Although GM was the show’s top advertiser for 12 seasons, it severed ties with the reality show. The company claimed the show no longer fit into GM’s business objectives, and it was too hard to incorporate a vehicle on an island.
Result: The show quickly merged tribes into multicultural groups early in the season, but lost out on the potential $12.8 million GM would’ve spent on advertising, as well as Home Depot, Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola North America.



  1. Sadly, pop culture has actually promoted shock jocks by embracing outrageousness in ‘can you top this’ modality.

    It is interesting, isn’t it, that broadcast companies hire people like Imus to say outrageous things, and then act surprised and outraged when they actually do.

  2. Indeed…hate to be cynical, but it seems like a bit of a numbers game to me. Broadcasters welcome the shock jocks when they’re pulling the Arbitron ratings, yet Ad Age summed up the thoughts of those who buy radio reacting to Imus’ departure as “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

    When I first read it, I thought it was an INTEGRITY statement, to reinstill goodwill among rational, thinking, people who support the team and were notably outraged. BUT if you read on further for context, in the same breath, Ad Age quotes director of broadcast at JL Media saying Imus was a “nonentity, w/no ratings; 60% of his audience was over 50. He’s ranked 29th in N.Y. He’s also 66 years old.”

    So what that really means to me is industry overall can be ageist/racist/clueless as long as focus remains exclusively toward profiteering from people as “products” and opportunities…Denigrating with abandon is wrong-headed whether the spotlight is on Imus, Rutgers, or American Idol for that matter…Sheesh.

    We’ve come down to ‘what sells’ is ‘what matters,’ no matter WHO gets hurt in the process. To me, that’s one portion of the media equation in dire need of an overhaul.

  3. UPDATE: 48 hours later and Adrants has posted this. (below) Advertisers like GM evidently have VERY short memory spans. This disgusts me beyond belief.
    “How soon we forget…but just one week? Yup. Advertiser are already talking about hooking up with Imus just a week after he was fired from CBS for his “nappy headed ho” remark. GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said, “We obviously don’t condone his statements, but we have found value advertising on Imus in the past. Up to this point, the good has outweighed the bad. If an opportunity is presented to us, we would assess it just like we do all the other opportunities that come our way.” Ah yes, corporate drooling for eyeballs continues to outweigh taking a stand on an issue. It’s just too alluring to ignore the wallets of those who might still listen to Imus if and when he ever were to reappear.

    Of course, to be clear, most advertisers didn’t want Imus to go away in the first place. They saw a need to distance themselves temporarily from the situation but most realize the man still has a following and that following has money to spend on advertiser’s product. That sentiment always trumps any higher moral ground a marketer might espouse during the short terms.

    And so it goes. An offense occurs. Advertisers claim disgust and bail. Then advertisers see revenue fall and return to the very place they once vehemently shunned. Classic capitalism.”

    THIS, my friends, is where taking action should kick in…advocacy watchdogs, are you listening??? GM, your antics repulse.

  4. Here’s more evidence, in a piece called, “They bailed for now, but advertisers forgive” AAAAAARrrgh. I often feel our industry is mind-numbingly incorrigible and ethically bankrupt:

  5. And for an entirely different perspective on the entire issue, with some very valid points, check this piece by Jason Whitlock, AOL Sports Commentator:

    Time for Jackson, Sharpton to Step Down
    Pair See Potential for Profit, Attention in Imus Incident

    Sports Commentary

    Whitlock writes, “I’m calling for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the president and vice president of Black America, to step down. Their leadership is stale. Their ideas are outdated. And they don’t give a damn about us.

    We need to take a cue from White America and re-elect our leadership every four years. White folks realize that power corrupts. That’s why they placed term limits on the presidency. They know if you leave a man in power too long he quits looking out for the interest of his constituency and starts looking out for his own best interest.

    We’ve turned Jesse and Al into Supreme Court justices. They get to speak for us for a lifetime. Why?

    If judged by the results they’ve produced the last 20 years, you’d have to regard their administration as a total failure. Seriously, compared to Martin and Malcolm and the freedoms and progress their leadership produced, Jesse and Al are an embarrassment.

    Their job the last two decades was to show black people how to take advantage of the opportunities Martin and Malcolm won.

    Have we at the level we should have? No.
    Rather than inspire us to seize hard-earned opportunities, Jesse and Al have specialized in blackmailing white folks for profit and attention. They were at it again last week, helping to turn radio shock jock Don Imus’ stupidity into a world-wide crisis that reached its crescendo Tuesday afternoon when Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer led a massive pity party/recruiting rally.

    Hey, what Imus said, calling the Rutgers players “nappy-headed hos,” was ignorant, insensitive and offensive. But so are many of the words that come out of the mouths of radio shock jocks/comedians.

    Imus’ words did no real damage. Let me tell you what damaged us this week: the sports cover of Tuesday’s USA Today. This country’s newspaper of record published a story about the NFL and crime and ran a picture of 41 NFL players who were arrested in 2006. By my count, 39 of those players were black.

    You want to talk about a damaging, powerful image, an image that went out across the globe?

    We’re holding news conferences about Imus when the behavior of NFL players is painting us as lawless and immoral. Come on. We can do better than that. Jesse and Al are smarter than that.

    The Rutgers players are nothing more than pawns in a game being played by Jackson, Sharpton and Stringer.

    Jesse and Al are flexing their muscle and setting up their next sting. Bringing down Imus, despite his sincere attempts at apologizing, would serve notice to their next potential victim that it is far better to pay up than stand up to Jesse and Al James.

    Stringer just wanted her 15 minutes to make the case that she’s every bit as important as Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma. By the time Stringer’s rambling, rapping and rhyming 30-minute speech was over, you’d forgotten that Tennessee won the national championship and just assumed a racist plot had been hatched to deny the Scarlet Knights credit for winning it all.

    Maybe that’s the real crime. Imus’ ignorance has taken attention away from Candace Parker’s and Summitt’s incredible accomplishment. Or maybe it was Sharpton’s, Stringer’s and Jackson’s grandstanding that moved the spotlight from Tennessee to New Jersey?

    None of this over-the-top grandstanding does Black America any good.

    We can’t win the war over verbal disrespect and racism when we have so obviously and blatantly surrendered the moral high ground on the issue. Jesse and Al might win the battle with Imus and get him fired or severely neutered. But the war? We don’t stand a chance in the war. Not when everybody knows “nappy-headed ho’s” is a compliment compared to what we allow black rap artists to say about black women on a daily basis.

    We look foolish and cruel for kicking a man who went on Sharpton’s radio show and apologized. Imus didn’t pull a Michael Richards and schedule an interview on Letterman. Imus went to the Black vice president’s house, acknowledged his mistake and asked for forgiveness.

    Had Imus’ predictably poor attempt at humor not been turned into an international incident by the deluge of media coverage, 97 percent of America would’ve never known what Imus said. His platform isn’t that large and it has zero penetration into the sports world.

    Imus certainly doesn’t resonate in the world frequented by college women. The insistence by these young women that they have been emotionally scarred by an old white man with no currency in their world is laughably dishonest.

    Let it go and let God.

    We have more important issues to deal with than Imus. If we are unwilling to clean up the filth and disrespect we heap on each other, nothing will change with our condition. You can fire every Don Imus in the country, and our incarceration rate, fatherless-child rate, illiteracy rate and murder rate will still continue to skyrocket.

    A man who doesn’t respect himself wastes his breath demanding that others respect him.

    We don’t respect ourselves right now. If we did, we wouldn’t call each other the N-word. If we did, we wouldn’t let people with prison values define who we are in music and videos. If we did, we wouldn’t call black women bitches and hos and abandon them when they have our babies.

    If we had the proper level of self-respect, we wouldn’t act like it’s only a crime when a white man disrespects us. We hold Imus to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. That’s a (freaking) shame.

    We need leadership that is interested in fixing the culture we’ve adopted. We need leadership that makes all of us take tremendous pride in educating ourselves. We need leadership that can reach professional athletes and entertainers and get them to understand that they’re ambassadors and play an important role in defining who we are and what values our culture will embrace.

    It’s time for Jesse and Al to step down. They’ve had 25 years to lead us. Other than their accountants, I’d be hard pressed to find someone who has benefited from their administration.” —Add your comments to Whitlock’s piece or our original post?

  6. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1816608/posts

    One more blog link to add to the conversation with some insightful comments on the above article written by Jason Whitlock…

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