Sunday, November 06, 2005

Don't Call it Grassroots

Newsweek needs to learn some basic lessons of politics.

For one, if multi million dollar organizations even organized religion are involved in creating mass hysteria etc., don't call it grassroots.

One would think that journalists would know better.

The Conservative Christians in their effort to strangle any group that supports choice for women has called a boycott of American Girl the popular doll seller.

And then they would have us believe that one lady in Fort Worth, Tracie Cross, suddenly got to digging up information on the groups the company was giving money ton and passed it on to a few friends and they told a few friends, and now it's a nationwide thing to boycott American Girl Dolls because the organization that runs the American girl dolls division is giving money to Girls inc. (American Girls is now owned by Mattel)

The problem with the charity is that it supports a womans right to abortions and "Gasp" contraception. (Someone want to tell me what the 'H' is wrong with contraception now?

How do you idiots think we are supposed to keep women from becoming brood cows without contraception? Well, I've seen your women. I guess you like brood cows.)

Of course, behind the little grassroots passage of information was the big time big money Christian groups, but Newsweek's Samantha Meadows swallowed or passed the right wing talking points that the boycott was a 'grassroots's effort.

The LA Times was a little more awake on the subject. In an article copied in NewsDay

It showed that it is the right wing's link to Christian groups with radio stations and websites that push this and similar boycotts against, among others, Target (supposedly for not allowing begging from the Salvation Army last December but really to help bolster WalMart sales).

In the last 12 months, conservative advocacy groups have urged their millions of members to stop buying brand after trusted brand. Boycotts have long been a mainstay of both the right and the left, but analysts say there's a new intensity to the protests as social conservatives test their ability to punish companies for taking liberal stances on issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Their latest target: the popular line of American Girl dolls and books.

The American Family Assn., an influential conservative group, recently told its 2.1 million e-mail subscribers that American Girl made "a terrible mistake" by donating money to a nonprofit youth group that supports abortion rights. More than 100,000 consumers have used the group's website to e-mail a protest to American Girl.

The Pro-Life Action League, an antiabortion group based in Chicago, plans to announce a boycott of the brand today. That would put American Girl's dolls, accessories and books on a long list of products — including Allstate insurance, Nike shoes and Victoria's Secret lingerie — targeted in recent months.

"It's getting so that if you're going to boycott based on principles, you practically have to show up for work wearing a barrel and eat nothing but grass," said Peter LaBarbera, a conservative activist.

...

protests that come from the right tend to make a more visible splash because the American Family Assn., the Traditional Values Coalition, Focus on the Family and others can quickly mobilize hundreds of thousands of consumers, thanks to online newsletters and Christian radio stations.


...

Outside analysts often dismiss the impact of economic protests as minimal. They point to the eight-year Southern Baptist boycott of Disney, which had little practical effect.

Skeptics point out that many companies are ignoring the threat from the right.

Activist Doug Scott agrees that many boycotts are ineffective, and that frustrates him.

Scott tracks corporations that donate to Planned Parenthood and puts out an annual list of their products, which he believes consumers opposed to abortion should avoid. But he says he calls a boycott only after giving a company every chance to cut ties with Planned Parenthood.

"A boycott should be a last resort. You need to do it intelligently or you look weak," said Scott, president of Life Decisions International, an antiabortion group. "Too often now, it's being used willy-nilly."

The doll maker, a Mattel subsidiary, gives money to hundreds of causes, including children's hospitals and Girl Scout troops, Junior Leagues and public libraries. Critics, however, have seized on American Girl's yearlong partnership with Girls Inc. — a nonprofit that offers educational programs for girls, including information about abortion and homosexuality.

...

American Girl has donated $50,000 to the group and is raising additional funds by selling star-spangled bracelets.

That infuriates Judy Cross, 61, a longtime customer who always thought of American Girl as a wholesome brand that promoted character and moral values.


La Times Newsday: Right's Pocketbook Politics

And why look it's another Ms. Cross, who's grandchildren have a lot of AG dolls just like Tracie Cross's girls do. I'm betting that Newsweek's journalist just contacted Judy and got to talk to someone who is possibly Judy's daughter. Sloppy journalism Ms. Meadows. Sure you'd like to move on to the NY Times and take Judith Miller's place, but sloppy journalists like you and her are a dime a dozen. Next time file a real report, please.

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