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View Diary: Boycott Sinclair UPDATE: You can put F9/11 on cable TV for free (169 comments)

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  •  General Mills' response to my email (none)
    Here's what GM sent me after I emailed them about sponsoring Stolen Honor:

    Thank you for contacting General Mills.
    Many consumers have written to share their views on this issue.  Some have   urged General Mills to use its influence as an advertiser to ensure that the media reports the news in an unbiased manner. Some have urged General Mills to continue advertising, and have threatened to withdraw support for our products if we alter our advertising plans.  Passions run deep on both sides, particularly this close to an election.    
    Whenever possible, General Mills does strive to preview the programs on which our advertising appears.  We do so to assure that we do not advertise on programs inconsistent with the family-oriented nature of our products. This works well with entertainment programs produced and available for advance screening, but pre-screening of news broadcasts is usually not possible.
    Our view in this area is clear.   We believe one of the fundamental elements of our society is the freedom of the press.  Companies such as ours, in our view, should not attempt to influence, control or pre-empt the content of news through the leverage of advertising sponsorship. To do so would undermine that fundamental freedom.
    From time to time, any one of us as viewers may consider a particular news story to be inaccurate or imbalanced.  News organizations do err.  Judgment is not always well applied.  One major news organization recently acknowledged that errors were made in stories relating to the current presidential election.  When such errors occur, certainly a price is paid in terms of reputation.  But errors and questionable judgment are an acceptable price to pay, in our view, to assure the presence of a free and independent media in our society.  
    As viewers, each of us is free to make a choice.  We can choose to patronize or not patronize programs with our viewership.  We can choose to patronize or not patronize particular television stations, or even entire networks.  
    Similarly, advertisers may choose not to sponsor certain broadcasts, a particular network or specific publications because of their journalistic standards and judgment. But advertisers should not attempt to control or pre-empt news programming prior to broadcast or publication. That, in our view, would be inappropriate.
    In this instance, as in the example cited earlier, passionate voices are calling on advertisers to insert themselves into the election by threatening to boycott those who remove or who do not remove their advertising.
    We choose to stand with freedom of the press.
    We welcome the views that you and others have shared with us.  You may rest assured that we will remind the networks we sponsor that the integrity of their reporting reflects on the companies that advertise during their broadcasts.
    Hopefully, you will understand our views - and the importance we place on a free press.
    Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your views.
    Sincerely,

                         General Mills

    •  I.E., we support Sinclair. (none)
      Who are the General Mills CEO and directors, and to whom have they donated?
    •  This is not a news story (4.00)
      Stolen Honor is NOT a news story.
      I am boycotting General Mills.
    •  Here's my message (4.00)
      Dear General Mills,

      I believe that the text below, posted on a weblog today, is your form response to consumers who have contacted you announcing that they are boycotting your products for continuing to support Sinclair broadcasting's attack on our democracy.

      In this letter you are willfully mislabeling Sinclair's massive and dishonest in-kind contribution to the Bush campaign as 'freedom of the press'.  This has led me to have an extremely poor opinion of your company.

      This goes beyond partisanship but to the health of our democracy.  I now consider General Mills to be a bad citizen and neither I nor my family will EVER use your products again.

      sincerely, wetzel

      Here is the text I am referring to:

      Thank you for contacting General Mills.
      Many consumers have written...

      •  They infer (none)
        you are an enemy of freedom of the press.  Don't forget to tell them "p.s., suck it."

        Way to fight...

        •  Here's the email I sent to General Mills (none)
          two days ago:

          Because of your insistence on advertising on Sinclair Broadcasting stations, I have no choice but to discontinue my purchases of General Mills products.

          Sinclair Broadcasting is insisting on airing a "news" segment during which viet nam veterans bash John Kerry and make false and unsubstantiated claims about his service.  General Mills has been asked to discontinue its advertising on Sinclair stations, but it has refused to pull its ad dollars from Sinclair.

          Well I can't support you as long as you support a group of liars.  

          I have a 4 1/2 year old son and the first thing going is Cheerios-- no more are we going to buy those.  I'll find another cereal not made by you.

          I am not going to choose Betty Crocker cake mixes.  I use a lot of cake mixes (for preschool treats, birthdays, etc.) and I will simply choose another brand.  No more will I buy cake mixes from you.

          There are other products I will deliberately not purchase because they are General Mills products and because I cannot support a company that advertises on a station that would deliberately try to influence the outcome of our U.S. presidential elections through the spreading of lies and smears.

          Sincerely,

        •  Works both ways.. (none)
          If they want to howl about "freedom of the press" let's teach 'em about freedom of the MARKET.  I have freedom of my pocket book to buy someone else's breakfast offerings.  Ain't capitalism grand?

          "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think"-- Adolf Hitler

          by mrsdbrown1 on Fri Oct 22, 2004 at 07:48:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for the inspiration (none)
        Here's my General Mills boycott letter:

        I've followed the Sinclair story and the various related advertiser boycotts with interest for the last several days. Today, I saw the letter your company sent in response to the many consumers upset by your support for Sinclair's attack on our democratic elections and their blatant disregard for U.S. campaign law. I was so offended by the arrogance of that letter that I realized I could no longer remain a spectator and had to stand up to support this principle that I believe in so strongly.

        Many of your former customers have posted this public relations disaster of a form letter to various blogs and discussion groups throughout the Internet. In it, your company appears to excuse Sinclair's highly partisan actions by disingenously misrepresenting their attempts to influence the outcome of our elections via in-kind contribution to the Bush/Cheney campaign as "freedom of the press." This ridiculous assertion indicates to me that General Mills does not value ethics in broadcasting or fair play in general, and that has affected my once very positive opinion of your company.

        Of course, I do not anticipate that this letter or the loss of one small family's patronage will alter your course. However, I hope you will consider this - Fairness and the rule of law and order are too important to leave to "Republicans" or "Democrats" to fight over. Normal, everyday people who stand back and look at this one objectively know in their hearts that what Sinclair is doing stinks to high heaven and should not go unchallenged.

        For now, it appears that General Mills is unable or unwilling to face such a test of good corporate citizenship with honesty, so I must view the company's stance as an obstacle to the values I hold dear. My family and I will therefore be supporting your competitors exclusively for the duration of your Orwellian and blatant disregard for ethical advertising policies. We will encourage our friends, neighbors, and co-workers to do the same in the hope that positive changes may follow this action some day, so that corporate giants like General Mills will consider more carefully whether or not it is worthwhile to support the morally indefensible with your advertising dollars.

        I will miss many of your fine foods (a shocking number, as I look down the list), particularly the Cheerios and Gardettos. I can assure you that, as soon as the quality of your sense of corporate responsibility rises to meet the admirable level achieved by your products, we will be proud to purchase items bearing the General Mills logo once again.

        Regards,
        J. Rowan

    •  This Is Exactly The Same (4.00)
      FORM letter I got back from them. And I was responding to another Kossack who had POSTED this exact same form letter. I wrote them a second time, but doubt I'll get a 'real' response. No more PopSecret Popcorn. None of my money will go to Sinclair, even indirectly, if I can help it.

      "Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight!" - Garrison Keillor

      by RNinNC on Thu Oct 21, 2004 at 01:25:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  General Mills' non-response (none)

      "Companies such as ours, in our view, should not attempt to influence, control or pre-empt the content of news through the leverage of advertising sponsorship."

      That's disingenuous.  Never mind that it's questionable whether "Stolen Honor" (aka whatever) is news in any meaningful sense.  By buying or refusing to buy advertising from Sinclair, they can't help but influence the content of news.  That's part of the problem with the corporatization of news.

      Another reality-based voter for Kerry/Edwards

      by Bearpaw on Thu Oct 21, 2004 at 01:31:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heinz? (4.00)
      Perhaps, we should buy more Heinz products.

      Having recently had a baby I realized that I had bought a lot of Heinz baby food. As a Canadian I didn't think I could give to the Kerry campaign but I realized that inadvertantly I already had.

    •  Out for a Long Time (none)
      The news about this "news" has been out for a long time. What's disingenuous is the statement that they try to preview when possible. Since it's possible, why haven't they previewed it?

      It would be fair to sponsor programs that took some political heat in the name of fair press, but does that imply that they've never withdrawn their support? Of course they would under the right circumstances!

      What they say about the integrity of the news reflecting on their sponsors is accurate. If they back a program that slanders someone you have to wonder about how they make other moral decisions. How would they react, for example, if they found that one of their foods made people sick? Would they hide it to keep their profits up?

      They have to make a decision about sponsoring each program. In this case they have time to review this program and see whether it has inaccuracies that slander Kerry. If, in their judgment, it does, then they should pull their advertising.

      Either that, or they should make a decision to put money into programs without ever reviewing any of them. That would support freedom of the press, but it would also mean that they would not cave in to conservative pressure. How would that work with "family-oriented products"?

      Liberal Thinking

      Think, liberally.

      by Liberal Thinking on Thu Oct 21, 2004 at 03:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  General Mills Emailed response (4.00)
      Such a crock. I sent them this reply:

      Thank your for your reply.

      Unfortunately, I must beg to  disagree with you.  I think this is
      not an issue  of free speech---certainly everyone has  a right to
      their  opinion. But  this is  not just  "free" speech---  this is
      speech  that  costs  me  as  a taxpayer  (since  I'm  subsidising
      Sinclair's free  use of the public broadcast  spectrum); it costs
      me as  a General Mill customer  (since the money I  am paying for
      your products is being used to subsidize this "speech");
      it costs me as General Mills stockholder (since the
      money I invest in your company through my mutual funds etc
      may lose value due to Sinclair's political (rather than
      fiduciary) decision-making).

      As such, I demand objective, balanced political perspectives
      from companies that use public airwaves for their "costly
      speech". In addition, I also expect the companies I patronize
      and invest in to demand the same from the media which
      they pay for.

      I think there's a difference between "free" as in
      freedom,  and "free" as in "free beer". I am paying for this
      speech, and you are too. Shouldn't we/you demand quality in what we
      pay for?

    •  I wrote to them (4.00)
      and told them that Freedom of the Press couldn't be that important to them as they didn't do anything when Sinclair wouldn't air the Nightline when they read the names of the fallen soldiers.

      I also told them they might want to be concerned with freedom of speech since Sinclair fired employees for voicing dissent.

      To say they care about freedom of the press is laughable.  They care about the right-wing agenda.  They won't support it with my money anymore.  Bastards.

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