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How MoveOn Wastes Its Donors’ Money

by JOHN SCAGLIOTTI

 

Editors’ Note. This is Vermont-based moviemaker JOHN SCAGLIOTTI’s second letter to MoveOn’s Matzzle. We ran John’s first dissection of MoveOn’s foolish expenditures in Alexander Cockburn’s CounterPunch Diary, April 24.

From: JOHN SCAGLIOTTI
To: Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org Political Action
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: MoveOn Iraq ad censored: fight back.

Tom: Here we go again. This time [see MoveOn’s appeal below, AC/JSC ] you want to humiliate yourself, Move On, and your members by taking their money to buy more expensive ads on Republican-owned television stations even after they tell you to take a hike. Then you have the chutzpah to tell us that the Republican party is threatening to sue stations if they run your ads. What a smart move on their part. Perhaps instead of raising money for ads, you should raise money to pay lawyers to threaten to sue stations for running ads by right-wing nut cases. Why not buy your own TV stations. Oh, I forgot, they already own them all because they are rich, have paid off Congress and the FCC in order to keep their monopoly in place. Being rich does not make you dumb.

But mostly the right wing knows it doesn’t have to spend much money on ads because Corporate TV news departments do their bidding for free.

I hope more people are beginning to understand that buying ads on Corporate TV Stations to get a few swing voters to switch to “our side” is a myth. You keep pointing out that you have hired smart media-polling organizations to prove your point. You say, “we’ve tested these ads, and we know they produce a punch with voters-even among people who don’t yet support leaving Iraq.” What political-industrial complex organization are you listening to and how much is this proof costing us? I am sure you realize that the more ads they tell you to buy the more money they make. That’s their job. It is a conflict of interest that you need to advise your contributors about before you keep spending their money on these ridiculous ads. These media consultants are not going to tell you that what they get paid for is to waste of our time and money. They have proof after all.

There are those of us who think you should spend the “grassroots” members money on alternative grassroots media and grassroots organizers in those so-called swing districts. Hire real grassroots people who can deliver the votes. If you dropped your expensive political media consultants and their ads you would have bundles to spend on real organizing. TV is fun and we all want to be on it (hi mom!) but you need to show the proof that these media consultants can swing voters to your side via expensive TV ads before actually asking us for more money.

Meanwhile, why don’t your convene a conference with some folks who do progressive media and ask then how you could raise and spend your grassroots money on grassroots media and organizers to achieve real change.

Sincerely,

JOHN SCAGLIOTTI
(grassroots media person)

—– Original Message —–
From: Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org Political Action
To: JOHN SCAGLIOTTI
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 11:01 AM
Subject: MoveOn Iraq ad censored: fight back.

Ads Censored: Fight Back

A TV station in Virginia run by Republican donors has refused our new ad on Iraq. We can create a disincentive for playing dirty like this if we can put more ads on the air on other stations in the district. Can you help? Make a contribution today.

Click Here

Dear MoveOn member,

As part of our big plan to win the election we’ve been running TV ads in key districts around the country. Yesterday I got news that a TV station in Virginia has refused us the right to air our newest ad that focuses on Iraq. They won’t even return our phone calls.

It smelled fishy so we looked into it. Sure enough, the Republican Party has been threatening to sue TV stations that run our ads. That’s not all. Two of the senior executives at the station-including one of the guys who makes the decision about running ads-actually donated to the Republican’s campaign!

We want to show that playing dirty doesn’t pay. Our plan is to INCREASE the size and length of the ad buy on other stations in the district. Can you contribute $20 or more to help fight back? Click below.

If we create a disincentive for playing dirty it can help make sure the playing field is fair across the country. We can do that when we raise $500,000 and keep the ads on TV for two weeks longer. And, we have a special new TV ad about Iraq.

The new ad uses the “Caught Red Handed” theme that has worked so well. It talks about how much money members of Congress are taking from defense contractors in Iraq at the same time our troops don’t have enough body armor.

Some people say that Democrats should avoid the Iraq debate during the election. We think that’s dead wrong but we need your help to show that’s true.

We’ve tested these ads, and we know they produce a punch with voters-even among people who don’t yet support leaving Iraq. (You can view the whole ad on the contribution page.)

To prove that Iraq is important to focus on during the election we hired a top political polling firm to investigate the opinions of voters in the top 68 “swing” districts-two-thirds of these districts are represented by Republicans.

Here is what we found:

o The war is by far the most important issue to voters in these districts right now.

o By wide margins these voters think the war was a mistake and not worth it. People are angry about the war.

o A discussion about Iraq during the campaign increases support for the Democrat.

o A Democrat who takes a firm stand for getting out of Iraq does better than a Democrat who takes a wishy-washy position-even in the face of Republican attacks like, “cut and run.”

o Republicans are vulnerable to all sorts of attacks-including their blind support for Bush’s policy of never-ending war.

o Voters are universally angry about how defense contractors have been put ahead of our troops and how priorities here at home have been neglected.

These results are paradigm-shifting news but not surprising. Every poll out there shows anger about the war. Voters are ready to hold Republicans accountable for letting Bush get away with everything-especially Iraq. Will you help keep these ads on the air with a $20 contribution?

To win in November we need to put Iraq in front of the voters. So far MoveOn is the only organization that will do that in these elections. That’s why we can’t leave these elections in the hands of the Democrats alone.

With your support we can do what the Democrats won’t yet: make 2006 a year of accountability for Republicans on Iraq. If we can show this works then Democrats and others will follow in our footsteps-boldly speaking out about the mess in Iraq.

The best way to bring our troops home is to show consequences for politicians who want to follow Bush on Iraq. This ad plays double duty by helping bring the troops home and win the election. We can do good and do well.

Help us keep going. Can you contribute $20?

Can we count you in? We’re going to need thousands of MoveOn members to step forward and make this commitment.

Thanks for all you do.

­Tom, Wes, Justin, Rosalyn and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION,
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Subscription Management:
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