Why Are These Men Smiling?

May 2, 2002

You would too if you received the money they do from Channel One.

There is an obesity crisis among our children yet these three are happy to do whatever they can to keep Pepsi and Twinkie commercials in classrooms. “Deal with it, kid,” they might tell an unfortunate student in a school with Channel One.

Violence a problem in America? Forgetaboutit. These gentlemen have been helping to get commercials for violent entertainment in classrooms for years. Supernova, Bats, The World Is Not Enough, Planet of the Apes, and on and on. Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and other movie studios pay Channel One to promote violent movies to kids and Channel One pays these men to make it happen and to make it keep happening. Money makes these men smile.

Do these men have a problem advertising sex comedies and pro-drug movies to children? You would think so, but money makes people do strange things. They turn their head when Channel One does something awful to kids. When you turn your head, you can keep that smile.

[Right now, make a note to yourself to go to the video store and rent “Dude, Where’s My Car?” This movie that glorifies “stoners” and drug use and is filled with the vulgar sexual content, was advertised repeatedly on Channel One. 20th Century Fox paid Channel One to promote this trash to children and Channel One used that money to pay these men. “Dude”-money is each one of these men’s bank accounts. After you watch the movie, you understand why so many citizens want to wipe the smiles off these three men’s faces.]

The first smiling man is Ralph Reed. He has been taking money from Channel One since at least 1999. His consulting firm, Century Strategies, in Atlanta, receives checks from Channel One in exchange for Reed’s efforts to convince conservatives that national advertisers have every right to be in America’s public school classrooms.

Obligation has made countless efforts to make a presentation to Mr. Reed or anyone in his company to show the vulgarity and violence that Channel One tries to bring into children’s lives and we have always been rebuffed.

The smiling man in the middle is Jim Ritts. He is the president of Channel One. He has a nice salary from Channel One, but probably has less of a reason to smile than the other two. He is presiding over a company that struggling to keep advertising in public schools that are more and more appreciating the true cost of Channel One’s onerous contract.

Last year, Ritts probably wasn’t smiling when he had to vacate his plush office on Madison Avenue and is now making do in extra space in About.com’s (Channel One’s sister company) headquarters. He had to move because Channel One had to cut expenses because students, teachers, parents and other taxpayers across the country have been very successful in knocking the stuffings out of this company. Ritts was let go by his former employer, the notorious Digital Entertainment Network (look it up on the web – you aren’t going to believe what that company was going to put in front of kids), so he is just happy to have a good paying job.

The third man is “Casino Jack” Abramoff. No, he doesn’t refer to himself as “Casino Jack” but he has earned his nickname. He is lobbyist in Washington DC for a firm called Greenberg Traurig. He has worked hard to help Indian tribes get casinos started in their states.

“Casino Jack” has become very important to Channel One since ad money from the federal government has become essential to Channel One’s continued existence. Casinos and Channel One have a lot in common. Neither should be in a community that cares about children and both are going to take you to the cleaners.

Even by Washington standards Channel One is paying “Casino Jack” a lot of money. That smile on Abramoff’s face has got to be sincere. He really has hit the mother lode. Whether he can get a good night sleep knowing he is benefiting from junk food and trashy movies being advertised to children during their school day is another matter.

Big money, Hollywood, and fat cats like these three have no chance against a mother or a father or a student who stands up and says “I want Channel One out of my school.

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