AS I SEE IT - 8/09/2000
by: Bob Magee
Welcome to phatwrestling.com which begins carrying the AS I SEE IT column this week.
It started with the AS I SEE IT column of November 28, 1999, located at http://pwbts.com/columns/b112899.html.
Here are some excerpts:
"....This week's column takes on an attempt by a right-wing United States organization calling itself the 'Parents Television Council'.
For those who aren't aware of this situation, let me explain. Many of you who watched WWF programming over the last few weeks have noticed references to Wal-Mart (and other stores, which the WWF hasn't mentioned) pulling the Al Snow 'Summer Slam' action figure.....'
I then made reference to it being an issue for WRESTLING fans, not just WWF fans:
"...Now, let's say you read this column and say 'I'm not a WWF fan. I'm a ECW fan. They're just copying what ECW did first.'
ECW fans, do you think that the international coverage that the fan-based STRICTLY ECW group, and those within the company worked so hard for two years can't disappear? Do you think if these right-wing zealots get a good look at ECW, either on TNN or the syndicated version, that they won't go berserk? Hell, TNN was barely tolerating ECW only weeks ago...
WCW fans... just remember if censors attack the WWF's product on UPN and USA...with the recent hiring of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera and their TV-14 content, WCW's programming on TNT and TBS can just as easily be targeted by this group, if not more so...
.... It's not just the companies that own the WWF, WCW, and ECW. Do you think advertisers can't be pressured by even such a small pressure group? With this "Parents Television Council" alone, the Defense Department has pulled recruiting ads from Smackdown. Coca-Cola has pulled its ads from WWF programming.
Do you STILL think this won't happen? Do you STILL think it's a bunch of people on the Internet running around half-cocked? Go ahead and believe that.
Suddenly, you'll see that someone who has appointed themselves your moral guardian will have told you what you can watch. Suddenly either one or more major promotion's wrestling shows will not air, at least in any fashion recognizable today.
Your wrestling will have been 'sanitized for your protection' by a right-wing front group run by a man named L. Brent Bozell III, whose father wrote speeches for Joseph McCarthy, the United States Senator responsible for creating a generation of political cowardice and fear during the 1950s. L. Brent Bozell who worked for the Unification Church, better known to all as the "Moonies" religious cult.... [through his work with the Unification Church-owned Washington Times and membership in a Unification Church front group]."
Many of us who were concerned about what the Parents Television Council was doing to our sports entertainment through its pro-censorship tactics and attacks on WWF advertisers, and sought a way to strike back.
I suggested one in the December 18, 1999 AS I SEE IT column:
"....For those of you who think the Parents Television Council has gone away, it hasn't. Not by a long shot. And for those of you who think the PTC is just a small misguided group with a website, wrong again.
Many of us knew that the Parents Television Council has some pretty serious funding to do what it does. Now we know just how much.
If you check out the Wrestling Fans Against Censorship website and link to the PTC, or go directly to http://effinity1.onesoft.com/effinity/frames.asp?mpc=PTC , you'll find something called the "Market Place" website. This website lists, by name and category, a number of companies that contribute directly to the Parents Television Council every time people make purchases from them online.
Since there is no additional cost involved, that money amounts to a direct contribution to the PTC, and effectively, an endorsement for what they do.
Let's look at a sample (but not all) of those companies, many of them well-known to everyone:
* 1-800-flowers.com, which provides fresh flowers and other gift and floral-related items to customers around the world.
* Avon.com, the website for Avon Cosmetics.
* Brainstorms.com, which markets educational or "smart" children's toys.
* Burpee.com, the website of Burpee, the leading seed supplier in the United States for over 120 years.
* BuyTelco.com, a web subsidiary of BellSouth Business products.
* CBS SportsLine. This one is EXTREMELY ironic, given the fact that the well-known WrestleLine site is owned and operated by CBS SportsLine.
* Cooking.com, a one-stop shop online for cooking products.
* Creditland, an online financial super-store to offer consumers choice of the best financial products, from trusted brands such as MBNA and Bank of America.
* Dell.com, the website for the popular Dell computers and the associated Gigabuys by Dell website.
* Designer Outlet, an online store for designer fashion overstocks.
* E-Stamp.com, the first company approved by the U.S. Postal Service to sell postage over the Internet.
* ESPN-the Store, ESPN's e-commerce site.
* eTranslate.com eTranslate is a fast-growing company that uses the power of the Internet to provide unparalleled quality on translation
jobs - both traditional corporate communications and Web sites.
* Fashion Mall, a website marketing various fashion-related items.
* Fragrance Net, an online discount fragrance "store".
* FTD.com, the website of the internationally known FTD company.
FTD.com lists itself as a special supporting partner of the PTC MarketPlace.
* FultonStreet.com, associated with the famous New York Fulton Fish Market, sending fish, lobsters, and oysters.
* GiftCertificates.com, an e-merchant selling original gift certificates to stores, restaurants, airlines, hotels, and more.
* GreatCoffee.com, an on-line purveyor of fine coffees and equipment from the world's best farms, roasters, and manufacturers.
* Green Marketplace.com, an e-merchant that provides environmentally friendly products.
* Hickory Farms.com, the website of Hickory FarmsŪ, the popular merchant known for holiday gift giving of meats and cheeses.
* HostAmerica, a consumer webhost.
* Intel.com/Anypoint, a company with a home network that allows for sharing Internet access, printers, and more.
* JC Penney.com, one of America's largest retailers.
* Joseph A. Bank.com, a major seller of fine quality menswear
* K-TEL, the merchant known for selling CD's tapes and records, as well as a wide variety of consumer products in the 1960s and 1970s.
* Lady Classic, an online shop for golf gloves/accessories for women and children.
* Landsend.com, well-known upscale clothing merchant.
* LL Bean.com, the website of the prototypical Yuppie apparel and accessories merchant for sports enthusiasts.
* McAfee.com, the company that produced the leading anti-virus software, as well as many other consumer PC applications.
* More.com, an e-merchant for health, beauty and wellness products.
* Moret Online, the largest marketer of bodywear and activewear for women, in the world.
* NetNations, a leading web hosting and E-Commerce solutions company offering a wide range of services: web site and web store hosting, web server co-location and domain name registration.
* New York First, an online department store for "New York's Gifts to the World".
* Office Max, the leading merchant of office supplies and products.
* Omaha Steaks, which offers many fine cuts of corn-fed Midwestern beef and gourmet foods.
* PaulFredrick.com, a website for this leading American man's dress and casual merchant.
* Pet Quarters, a leading Internet site for e-commerce pet supply sales and services.
* Planetoutdoors.com, a merchant of outdoor gear on the Internet.
* ProTeam.com which markets licensed sportswear on the web.
* ShopMattel.com., a e-merchant of popular software titles, discounts every time you shop, outstanding technical support, the latest product updates and so much more!
* Sparks.com, an online greeting card store.
* SweetLobster.com, an online place to purchase high quality lobsters, steamers, clam-bakes, New England clam chowder and other seafood straight from the cold waters of the North Atlantic.
* The Golf Warehouse, an online golf super store.
* Toysrus.com, the website of Toys 'R Us.
* WholeFoods.com, a natural and organic product store
* Wicks End, an online supplier of candles and candle accessories anywhere.
That is just a SAMPLE of the participating merchants that participate in the PTC MarketPlace program.
Quite simply put, readers... if you spend your money through any of these websites, a portion of what you spend supports the efforts of the Parents Television Council.
It's time to go to work, readers.
Let's show the Parents Television Council and the merchants listed above that wrestling fans have disposable income. Let's show them that we can use that disposable income and the purchasing power that it gives us to influence events, just as well as the organized lobbies of the right-wing thought police.
Go to the above company websites, which the PTC helpfully (if unintentionally) links for you, and find the appropriate e-mail address for consumer comments. Again, you can find those company websites at http://effinity1.onesoft.com/effinity/frames.asp?mpc=PTC .
Let those companies know that, as long as they provide financial support to an organization that advocates censorship of TV programming you watch, you will not purchase products from their company. Let them know that you will encourage your friends to follow suit.
If you still have Christmas shopping to do, take a moment and let those companies know that they lost out on a potential customer this holiday season because of their financial support of the PTC...."
As months passed, it seemed that over the winter and early spring of 2000, things with the PTC died down. How little we knew...and how little THEY knew.
On June 15, 2000, when the PTC announced that it had pressured MCI Worldcom into removing their advertisements from WWF programming, wrestling fans reacted with outrage.
A group of fans organized under the name PTCSucks.com, continued and turned up the heat on the WFAC lobbying effort of PTC Marketplace participants...and then some. Other websites and groups of fans also organized to push this effort.
Most of you who read this column regularly; or read the daily updates called PTC Watch on many of these websites have followed the battles with the PTC over the last three months; which included me being ridiculed by L. Brent Bozell on the Michael Reagan radio program.
Now flash forward to my report on Wrestling Fans Against Censorship and the websites I post news on Tuesday afternoon, August 8, 2000:
"From a staffperson at Effinity.Net as of about 3:25 pm EDT:
BREAKING NEWS: Effinity.Net has shut down PTC Marketplace....
Effinity.Net has shut down the PTC Marketplace.
According to a statement by telephone by a representative of Effinity.Net, owing to the controversy surrounding the issue the PTC Marketplace has been closed 'until such time as the controversy blows over...which we anticipate will be some months'.
The effort by numerous wrestling fans, was initiated by Wrestling Fans Against Censorship in November 1999, and has been carried on by other groups, such as PTCSucks.com, who were opposed to the Parents Television Council's campaign against advertisers on the UPN-carried WWF Smackdown program.
The Marketplace had as many as 90 companies participating in this Marketplace program. Because of the efforts of what the Effinity.Net representative acknowledged to be a 'deluge' of e-mails and letters directed toward participating companies, many pulled out, until only 18 remained as of earlier today. "
A number of us involved with the effort to keep the wrestling we watch PTC free, whether or not its that of the WWF, WCW, or ECW have been receiving a ton of e-mails, asking us what comes next, now that the PTC Marketplace has been closed.
First, what I'd like to see us do is to is use the energy that we've used to go after the PTC Marketplace to take a moment to say thank you to those companies that distanced themselves from the PTC Marketplace.
If you've purchased a product or service from a merchant that removed themselves from the Marketplace, send a photocopy of the proof of purchase.
Write them in a POLITE manner. If we don't do this, any further contact with these merchants will be reasonably regarded by them as harassment.
People who feel they've been treated in a polite manner by you will be more willing to listen to your arguments.
AFTER (and only after) we do that, we can continue to contact the advertisers of Townhall.com (the Heritage Foundation's website) Marketplace programs. As I've mentioned in previous columns, The Media Research Center (the PTC's parent organization) states that it is a member of Townhall.com.
Many advertisers who have withdrawn from the PTC Marketplace program are still funding them indirectly through their participation in Townhall.com's equivalent.
Don't buy the the spin-doctoring and claims of lack of participant responsibility by a number of companies. If one contributes financially to a political cause or effort, then one is giving tacit approval to the cause they represent.
If what wrestling fans are doing weren't having an effect on their efforts and on their bottom line, the PTC wouldn't have bothered to address what we did doing on their website, and their Marketplace would still be serving as a funding source to the PTC.
Participants in the Townhall.com Marketplace program can be found at:
Individual corporate participants and their e-mail addresses can be found through each URL.
Third, become involved with WWF.Vote.com or with other voter registration efforts that you may be familiar with. Be sure that YOU are registered to vote.
The WWF's voter registration effort, WWFvote.com, was at the Madison Square Garden RAW Monday night, with members of YouthVote 2000, one of the affiliated organizations with WWFVote.com doing voter registration of voting-age fans attending the shows.
YouthVote 2000, located at http://www.youthvote2000.org/about/ is the largest non-partisan coalition committed to encouraging civic participation among our nation's young people. YouthVote 2000 is demanding accountability by politicians on the issues of importance to young people today. YouthVote2000 volunteers will be staffing the voter registration tables at RAW and Smackdown! events during the next several weeks.
WWFVote.com is also working together with two other established voter registration organizations. They are MTV's Choose or Lose, located at http://www.mtv.com/nav/intro_chooseorlose.html is a resource for younger Americans that provides news, chat rooms on political issues and reporting on the political campaigns from MTV's Street Team.
Choose or Lose also provides YOU the opportunity to register to vote online right now at http://www.mtv.com/sendme.tin?page=/mtv/news/chooseorlose/register.html.
The other program, Project Vote Smart, located at http://www.vote-smart.org/index.phtml is a national library of factual information on 13,000 candidates for public office from the President of the United States to state legislature. The site is divided into five basic areas that include: backgrounds, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances, and performance evaluations made by over 100 liberal to conservative special interest groups. In addition, Project Vote Smart (www.vote-smart.org) interviews all 13,000 candidates and provides special services on issues for journalists, teachers and students.
Next, get involved with one or more of the many groups working against the efforts of the PTC:
* PTC Sucks http://ptcsucks.com
* Wrestling Fans Against Censorship http://www.geocities.com/wfac_2000/
* 3Sixteen Anti-PTC Page http://stop-the-ptc.com
* No-PTC.com http://no-ptc.com
* Rock Out Censorship http://theroc.org/
Fourth, try some "preventive maintenance" ala the well practiced tactic used by the folks at Strictly ECW. Send thank you e-mails to current sponsors of WWF programming and to those companies that have withdrawn from the PTC Marketplace.
As I said earlier, if you've actually purchased a product or service from a company that withdrew from the PTC Marketplace program, send them a proof of purchase to show you're supporting them.
Fifth, bring signs showing your opposition to the PTC to any WWF televised event, such as RAW, Smackdown, and the upcoming SummerSlam PPV weekend. Fans brought anti-PTC signs to the ECW Heat Wave PPV, and to several RAWs, especially the Monday Night RAW at Madison Square Garden.
For that matter, bring them to any WCW or ECW event. Remember, L. Brent Bozell has announced he will be expanding his group's efforts to these two promotions, as I suggested in past AS I SEE IT's that they eventually would.
Sixth, another tactic is to contact Visa and Mastercard, and express your concern that they are providing the Parents Television Council (through an issuing bank) an opportunity to put their names on Visas and Master Cards. That lays out some potential ideas for those interested in keeping our professional wrestling free of the attempt to censor it by the Parents Television Council.
All the above should show you what "just wrestling fans" can do when they are organized and committed to preserve the right of enjoy their favorite forms of entertainment.
As I've said many times in this column, it would be so much easier to just talk about when Austin's coming back... or if WCW will ever use the incredible potential it has to be a force within the sports and entertainment industries... or if Paul Heyman will be able to reach agreement with USA Network or another national carrier to insure that ECW survives.
But until that happens, we will all be spending too much time talking about those people who would limit our right to enjoy those very things.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)