Media Mash #20

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Oct 16 17:46:28 PDT 1998

[This is from Don Hazen's Media Mash, published by the Institute for Alternative Journalism. Michael Moore & Working Assets want us to vote Democrat. Moore's position is particularly bizarre, but it must come from the same place as his love letter to Hillary Clinton in Downsize This. Note the sharp contrast in the coverage of Working Assets between this & Jeff St Clair's piece in LBO #85. - Doug]

>MEDIACULTURE REVIEW ONLINE, Issue #, October 16, 1998
>(See contents at end of Media Mash.)
>Media Mash #20 -- October 16, 1998
>Working Assets Long Distance (WALD) is the politically correct long
>distance carrier who fills its billing envelopes with very progressive
>political messages. WALD is unique and has evolved into a major player on
>the left, particularly as it redistributes hundreds of thousands of dollars
>of its dough each year to many good causes (as well as a few clunkers, but
>the Masher isn't complaining).
>Even though WALD is a private company, up until now it has been extremely
>cautious about getting into the real politick of elections. That is until
>the spectre of Dan Lundgren reared its ugly head. For the non-Californians,
>Lundgren is to the right of the horrid Pete Wilson, who the state has had
>to endure for eight torturous years. So WALD has stepped up to the plate
>(sorry, it must be the World Series) and initiated an independent
>expenditure radio campaign hammering away at Dangerous Dan.
>WALD chief strategist Michael Kieschnick says: "Working Assets Long
>Distance has a long standing prohibition against direct involvement in
>candidate elections. But the prospect of Dan Lundgren being the governor of
>our home state, called for an exception to be made. We are confident that
>if swing independent women voters and moderate Republicans know the truth
>about Lundgren and his stands on guns, anti-choice and environmental
>despoliation, they will make a better choice."
>The Masher understands it's easy to piss a lot of money away in electoral
>politics when groups doing good work need it. But WALD's right. The
>prospect of Dan Lundgren sends chills up the spine.
>Michael Moore's Revolutionary Act -- Vote Democrat
>Michael Moore can create a fuss, no matter what the issue. The Masher has
>surely had his ups and downs with the Mikester, mostly downs. But at this
>stage, it's interesting to just sit back and watch the Michael Moore
>phenomenon. You can check it out at
>Moore was recently the MC at a mega dinner in L.A. for the Southern
>California ACLU, which raised $600,000. Phew, that's nice bucks. The event
>honored two Hollywood heavyweights: 1. Music mogul Danny Goldberg, the
>head of Mercury Records, who asked his newish friend Moore -- they actually
>hooked up the Media & Democracy Congress -- to do the kibitzing honors;
>and 2. Margery Tabankin, whose activist trajectory is as diverse as anyone
>in America -- stretching from bravely visiting Hanoi as an anti-war
>activist in the '60s, to heading Vista in the Carter administration, to
>honchoing the now defunct -- on account of we can't stand the sleazy money
>driven political system anymore -- Hollywood Women's Political Committee,
>to being the head of foundations funded by Barbara Streisand and Stephen
>One of the interesting things about the event -- that is, besides Elvis
>Costello debuting some of the new album he does with Bert Bacharach (yes,
>you read it right); Courtney Love making many trips to the bathroom and not
>looking nearly as good as she does in pictures; Joan Jett having a seizure;
>and Leonardo Di Caprio not showing up, though his lefty, bearded
>long-haired father, who visited Cuba last year with the younger Di Caprio,
>was in attendance -- was the celebratory videos made about the two
>honorees, akin to the things they show at the Academy awards for life time
>achievement. Tabankin was nicely saluted by Mike Farrell and Harry
>Belafonte, among others. But the Goldberg segment was a real education. It
>showed that Danny is a TV pitbull who has thrashed Pat Buchanan on numerous
>occasions over the years on such shows as "Firing Line." Get this guy on TV
>Anyway, the Masher apologizes for digressing. This is supposed to be about
>Moore. That night, Moore kept talking about the coup d'etat that the right
>was attempting by tenaciously pursuing the Clinton impeachment thing. The
>crowd wasn't into it, but Mike pursued it gamely. Perhaps his best line was
>saying that "only in America can a young women declare that she is going to
>D.C. with her knee pads on to give the president blow jobs and actually
>Anyway, Moore is still trying to get this coup d'etat message across and
>he's succeeding. He's generating an online audience, which is grat, because
>the left has not done well in cyberspace.
>The other day, Moore sent out an e-mail that got passed around to a lot of
>people. To give you an idea, the message was forwarded to the Masher by
>five unrelated people, with many cc's. The essence of the message: Fight
>the coup d'etat. Everybody go to the polls, hold your nose and vote for
>every Democrat. And people were buzzing about this? That's the Masher's
>point: Moore has become bigger than life. He says something demonstrably
>obvious and everybody is abuzz. Maybe it's necessary to say the obvious
>these days. Moore even got on "Good Morning America" to do this schtick.
>Moore says: "I don't think I have ever received this much mail in any given
>week since I learned what http means. The reaction is incredible. And not
>just from the usual suspects. I have received a lot of letters from people
>describing themselves as Republicans, retired military people, people who
>have not voted in a decade, etc. The letters are running 10 to 1 in favor
>of what I and others are advocating.
>"A number of letters have come in from Greens and other lefties who would
>rather puke their guts out than ever vote for a Democrat. I feel their
>pain. I've explained to them that we have never had a chance like this to
>mobilize so many people who have not been political, who do not vote, and
>who are so pissed off they will do anything right now to send a message to
>"Many people saw our "witch hunt" that we performed on Starr's lawn Friday
>morning which has also engendered a lot of press. Our next steps are to
>continue this get-out-the vote drive, and we will be taking our show to the
>local districts of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. They will
>rue the day they tried to subvert the will of the American people."
>In Moore, we may finally have a legitimate successor to Abbie Hoffman --
>the truest trickster.
>MediaCulture Review is the award-winning zine published by the Institute
>for Alternative Journalism. This week's roundup includes:
>* Global Economic Crisis Melts Down Human Rights -- (Don Hazen, AlterNet)
>Review of PBS TV Show, "Globalization & Human Rights," (to be aired on PBS
>-- October 29, 10pm).
>No question facing the world today is more important than how to ensure
>both global economic stability and human rights. As the global economy
>takes shape, what are its values? Ultimately, what is the best way to
>foster human rights and democratization -- by linking them to economic
>concerns, or rigidly separating the two?
>* Journalist Cyberstung -- (Andrew Hsiao, Village Voice)
>Bay area journalist Bruce Mirken gets entrapped by Sacramento vice squad
>cop masquerading as gay teenager.
>* Depressed by Your Computer - Debbunking the Homenet Study -- (Howard
>Rheingold, Feed Magazine)
>Critics like the New York Times' Denise Caruso and Salon's Scott Rosenberg
>have trashed the methodology and findings of this study that found that
>greater use of the Internet was associated with declines in participants'
>communication with family members, as well as increases in depression and
>lonliness. Here cyber guru Howard Rheingold goes deeper to say that maybe
>there is something important
>here, (although yes, this study pretty much sucked).
>* Image is Everything - (Mark Crispin Miller, David Shenk and Leslie
>Savan, Feed Magazine)
>Critics including Mark Crispin Miller and Leslie Savan annotate a passage
>of a new book by Mitchell Stephens "The Rise of
>the Image The Fall of the World." In the book, Stephens sees salvation in the
>development of a notion that he calls the New Video -- a process of
>images replacing the written word. And of course, there is disagreement from
>the critics.
>* Michael Moore's Revolutionary Act --Text of Moore's letter urging
>Americans to vote for Democrats

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