AS I SEE IT 4/26/2001
First, some "reading between the lies" from the newly restored PTC
"Taking Down Smackdown" section.
If you weren't aware, the Parents Television Council has actively resumed its efforts with the "Taking Down Smackdown" section, located at http://www.parentstv.org/AdvertisingInfo/WWFSmackdown1.html
As you'd expect, the PTC's website continues to put forth the same continued lies about the status of WWF advertisers, with 5 of their so-called "Good Guys" that have "promised the PTC that they will not advertise on WWF programming"...actually advertising frequently, and with entirely new advertising campaigns.
Some of you who've read this column or checked in on the WFAC website might remember this quote:
"...After Smackdown! began, we identified and contacted the five corporations in the Family Friendly Programming Forum who advertised on the show, letting them know exactly what they were sponsoring. All five pulled their sponsorship from the program, and M&M Mars, a major sponsor of Smackdown!, has just joined them. The PTC also succeeded in convincing the Army, Navy, and Air Force to remove their recruiting ads. Now we're turning to Burger King, AT&T, and the Coast Guard as consistent sponsors."
The above is almost comical, given the fact that WrestleMania was sponsored by M&M/Mars product Snickers. Burger King has advertised on both WWF Raw, Smackdown, and other shows, as well as the XFL. AT&T has been a consistent sponsor of both WWF programming and XFL games. The US Army and other military branches continues to advertise on WWF programming.
Further, Smackdown recently featured the debut of the new advertising campaign for Chef Boyardee (produced by ConAgra). It features a "town in the middle of nowhere", and a lone figure riding on a motorcycle, presumed to be the Undertaker on his bike... who eventually winds up being Mick Foley, pushing Chef Boyardee's Beef-A-Roni.
Readers may wish to send a note to the WWF sponsors falsely listed as having withdrawn, that their names are again being falsely used by the PTC, and that they should consider sending a cease-and-desist letter or engaging in other legal action to force the PTC to immediately remove their corporate names from their website.
M&M/Mars (Snickers, Starburst, Twix, and Uncle Ben's Rice)
800 High Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Phone at (908) 852-1000, fax at (908) 850-2624 , or e-mail at Contact.Us@Mars.com
Contact through the feedback page.
Office of the Chief of Public Affairs
1500 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-1500
ConAgra (Chef Boyardee, Slim Jim)
Corporate Communications/Media - Karen Savinski (402) 595-5392
You can also contact ConAgra online via e-mail: at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via their feedback page at this link.
Mr. Stefan Bomhard, Senior Vice President of Marketing
17777 Old Cutler Road
Miami, FL 33157
When those of us who know better attempt to question the obvious, the PTC makes its usual claims, such as "We have no written proof, because we need no written proof...", or "We didn't say that they were withdrawing from all WWF programming, just Smackdown...".
Obviously, if a company finds the content of Smackdown distasteful for some reason, it would be hypocritical for them to advertise on one show but not the other, because they would be financially benefiting the same company in either case.
Any artificial distinction by the PTC is just one more example of their double-talk.
In any event, here is an actual count of RAW or Smackdown episodes that carried advertisements by those companies, from January 1, 2001 to this past Monday:
RAW 14/Smackdown 12
1 800 CALL ATT
RAW 8/Smackdown 3
RAW 12/Smackdown 3
RAW 8/Smackdown 1
US Army/other military agencies
RAW 3/Smackdown 4
Mind you, this isn't the number of ads actually run, just the number of shows on which these companies have advertised. The number of advertisements actually run is far larger.
Second, this past week, we saw the PTC's latest attempt at the Big Lie theory:
"...In a letter dated March 8, 2001, Pep Boys Senior Vice President Frederick A. Stampono tells the PTC, "We have spent considerable time reviewing the recent content of WWF Smackdown!, and have come to the conclusion that it is not an appropriate advertising vehicle for Pep Boys."
Perhaps L. Brent Bozell could then explain why the new Pep Boys "What if people treated you the way you treat your car" advertising campaign ran two commercials on Monday night's RAW.
It might be worth your time to let Pep Boys know what you think about the PTC has done, and suggest that they send a cease and desist letter to the PTC immediately, demanding their name be removed from and and all sections of the PTC website, and that a retraction be sent out in the next PTC E-Alert.
Go to their customer relations form at this URL, or e-mail them at email@example.com .
Third, how to get to the wretsling and mainstream media to insure accurate coverage souurounding what the PTC is doing.
It was a hopeful sign to see that Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer acknowledged inaccuracy of PTC claims on the website recently.
Per information I sent him, Dave Meltzer featured the following note on the inaccuracy of the claims made by the PTC in a recent Wrestling Observer.com update:
"...According to Bob Magee of Wrestling Fans Against Censorship, while the PTC's latest alert claims Pep Boys, Exxon and Papa John's have pulled their advertising from Smackdown, he said that Papa John's and Exxon never advertised on WWF programming in the first place. Magee also claims the PTC has not produced any written proof of their conversations with Pep Boys.
Magee said a number of companies the PTC claimed have pulled their advertising have stated they've had no communication with the PTC whatsoever.
Five companies the PTC claimed had pulled ads from Smackdown have had advertising appear this year, specifically, ConAgra (advertised on 12 episodes this year, although that was well known they reversed an earlier decision), 1-800-Call-ATT (three episodes), M&M/Mars (three episodes and sponsored Wrestlemania), Burger King (one episode) and U.S. Army or other military agencies (four episodes)...."
The fact is, however, that the PTC refuses to acknowledge any of this and still claims all of the above support them. The companies refuse to do anything about it...allowing the PTC to claim these companies as some sort of trophy...and allowing the mainstream press that still doesn't know any better to publicize the lies they spread as facts to be considered by the public.
It's important for those of us who DO know better to get out this information to the three major news sources on a regular basis.
So let's encourage them to do so. Here are some of the relevant e-mail addresses within the wrestling press.
Dave Meltzer/Wrestling Observer: Dave@wrestlingobserver.com
Wade Keller/Pro Wrestling Torch: firstname.lastname@example.org
1wrestling.com/Wrestling Lariat: http://www.1wrestling.com/contact
It should be noted that 1wrestling's Bob Ryder has been supportive on many occasions of the anti-PTC movement.
Here are a number of mainstream media outlets for readers to contact:
251 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
200 E. Van Buren Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
72 Marietta Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
501 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21278
The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
Boston, MA 02107
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053
1 Herald Plaza
Miami, FL 33101
The Herald's Jim Varsallone has been very supportive of the efforts of the anti-PTC movement.
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036
The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News
400 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19101
E-mail: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com and DailyNews.Opinion@phillynews.com
1000 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22229
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20071
77 West 66th Street
New York, New York 10023
524 West 57th Street
New York, New York 10019
Cable News Network
P.O. Box 105366
One CNN Center
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fox News/Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036
MSNBC and CNBC
2200 Fletcher Ave.
Ft. Lee, NJ 07024
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or TheNews@msnbc.com
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to go to work.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)