Thursday, June 22, 2006

mind if I ask you a question?


6/26: With only eight comments in two weeks, I know this little cause [which, I admit, just puts a spear point on what is basically automated complaining] is going to be my own little project for a while. That's OK. I wanted to keep my PHP/mySQL up to snuff anyway. I am just going to go forward with this as time and cash permit.

6/22: I have left links to this post in the comments on a few of my favorite sites and begged people to respond to the proposal. Had Shakes Sis only written that she thought it was a good idea, I would have given it a banner font and treated it like a trophy endorsement but.... I was getting exactly what I asked for: the wisdom of the web. Shakes Sis knew, and it looks like a few others should know of Progressive Secretary. This is a site that runs on volunteer effort to provide a way you can easily fire off email to a range of decision makers in government and industry urging them to adopt more enlightened and ethical policies in key environmental and social issues we face. I'll be signing up with them.
So I need to clarify two points. I am proposing a service that is a bit different:
  1. Snail Mail, when properly addressed has more cred than email.
  2. The targeting is more dynamic...we will be able to respond to the wanker of the week by the end of the week.
  3. We are going after a different kind of decision maker: the sponsor who puts up enabling money for liars in the media.
  4. Our power to influence will come from the effect we have as consumers, not voters, on the profit margins of those decision makers we communicate with.

6/19: Hmmm, not such an appealing idea after all, it would appear. Or maybe I should have bothered to use the spell checker? The response makes me wonder exactly what the distinction is between apathy and an unwillingness to adopt a somewhat aggressive tactic. Am I just learning that liberals don't want more than their share of the influence or that I need to reach more people? Are liberals unwilling to imitate the organized harrassment used by the likes Sinclair Broadcast Group, the PTC and the AFA? Please keep in mind just what you are all up against if you'd hope your views were getting a fair airing on the TV. The proposed way of expressing your displeasures is very effective and should work for liberals as well as for conservatives.

6/17-6/18: Out of touch, gotta show my face at a wedding in NY.

6/16: Bora has very kindly lent me some eyeballs/visits. I hope others will comment here if they think of a better way to accomplish the purpose of giving us a voice where it matters: where the checks get written. I will leave this post at the top of the blog for a few days while the comments dribble in. Thanks for reading!

The original post, more or less:

I was wondering how many would take advantage of a little service idea I had....

PZ Myers argued that we should not ignore Anngry Coulter even though almost anyone not sharing her particular form of rabies has stepped back from her latest embarrassment. I am inclined to agree with PZ but the question then is what is the most effective way to stand up and be counted among those who are outraged by her vile caracature of conservatism? How to punish those who are desperate or stupid enough to give her airtime? Why don't those sponsors and networks offer us more palatable porn than a black vinyl miniskirted harpy who tries to berate disabled vets?

  1. Would you write to a sponsor of a show on which Coulter appeared to tell them you were negatively influenced about brands and products that promoted [inadvertently or otherwise] hate speech and ignorance?
  2. Would you actually boycott a product if it were identified to you as a sponsor of brainless unbalanced reportage or other content, assuming you had an alternate vendor to choose?
  3. Would you "write" such letters if doing so were as automated as, for instance, a e-mail petition drive?.
  4. If your personal information were suitably protected and used only when and as you directed, would you allow your name and zip code to appear in a letter written to sponsors, to FCC, to Congress? Most of these letters are considered garbage if not from individuals who are identifiable, at least to a degree that can eliminate duplicates. Advertisers know in which zip codes their bread is buttered.
  5. Would you worry if one of the bits of data used in such a letter writing campaign were "household income" used in the following anonymous way? Only the average buying power of those who assent to a protesting letter in their names would be reported. The objective is to show the sponsor the clout of those whom their carelessness has offended.
  6. How much email would you tolerate in participating in such a letter writing bank? One action alert per day? One per week?
  7. How would you like the targets to be chosen? [this answer I already know! Democratically!] Would you be willing to vote via polling on a blog such as this one [you know, select a radio button for the most egregious rightwing rabid squirrel least deserving of uncritical media attention of the week, then hit the "Vote" button] so I'd know who to look up?
  8. Would a "tips" inbox or form be useful? All the people who might want such a service to make their voices heard also provide a powerful way to collect some important information that is otherwise going to take some digging: Who spoke, what nature of baloney did they speak, what program, what station, what network, what sponsors....?
  9. Would you insist on your personal and positive confirmation for each and every letter sent out to each and every sponsor/network/newspaper/elected representative in your name? You should. This would be the least convenient and most important part of the little service I am hatching: you would have a PIN or password and you would email or respond to a form on a blog or key in something using IM or TM [note, the cost of the service is getting higher here as we go more mobile.] That level of effort is the only way to [1] keep it honest and [2] give it real force and respect [3] protect your privacy while you retain complete authority over your voice as a consumer of goods and one can speak for you.
  10. I plan to offer a choice of prewritten letters, as MO does but you could always add a personal touch. It is important to avoid abusive language, an advantage of prewritten letters nearly as important at the presumed enabling-by-convenience they provide. Do you think we could keep it civil?

I could write the code. Media Matters, and any others you care to suggest, might be willing to "own and operate" the service. Some servers , a few screens worth of UI for setting up the polling, taking registration, sending email notifications and blasting out the mailings, a fair sized installation of MySQL and a batch of printers and we are mostly there as far as infrastructure. Its just an idea. Its not so terribly different from some that are already out there. It needs money to set up and more money [I think "users" should subscribe and pay into a "postage account" with dues set to just keep us at break-even] to run.

11. Would you buy that?

I really want to know and I wish for a valid sampling of opinion so pass the link on to any busier sites or blogs that you think might be receptive.

I am sick to death of the utterly ignorant crap, pre-digested conservative views in many cases, fed to us by TV and most newspapers and I want to take back the air waves. And if they flip over to some kind of utterly ignorant liberal crap, they still deserve to get shot from both barrels. I get a few readers and naturally, given what I say and where I link, you are mostly liberal. I think its time I had a few readers at Toyota and Coke and Verizon. And NBC. [NSA are welcome to read as well but its yet further waste of my taxes for them to do so.]


Mike the Mad Biologist said...

Yes, I'll back you

GreenSmile said...

Great, thanks Mike.

I am getting some traffic help from Coturnix and I will leave this post at the top of the blog for a few days. If people have experience, or improvements or details I have overlooked, I hope to gather up all the advice and then see what resouces I lack. I already own a pile of domain names and have a site up where I have privs to upload limited CGI [no https]. Its cheap and I can upgrade if the interest warrants.

GreenSmile said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny Lee said...

i've been a news junky since walter cronkite brought viet nam and civil rights to my living room when i was just a kid.
that's why it is so difficult to cut off cold turkey all of the main stream media's steady stream of propaganda.
it's pretty hard to boycott all of their sponsors but if you don't watch at all you're never going to see any of the sponsors' ads.
as i discover who all is who; i'll also stop going to websites like microsoft's msn and since i forgot my hotmail password i'm quitting it too.
for several years now i've been having to glean and dig for info on the net from whatever foreign sources i could find and i still am sure that there is tons of stuff going on right now that we may never know about.
i sent e-mails to the news stations that i am boycotting--yeah what's one e-mail...what could a million e-mails do?
p.s. i still watch keith olbermann (even tho he has that ridiculous celebrity shit) and c-span of course.

boyhowdy said...

An interesting idea, but I believe anti-rabidGOP action is best served by letting Coulter and others continue to have a voice. Two reasons, here:

1. I believe all sides should have equal voice. And I want there to continue to be shows where people I agree with have a chance to expound, rather than be attacked. Ergo, I want there to be shows where people -- regardless of whether I agree with them or disagree with them -- have the same chance. (Yes, this does mean supporting the status quo. My NPR station thanks me for this).

2. Coulter is great fun -- dening her a chance to once again put her foot in her mouth would be both unsporting and ultimately more damaging to the Dems and others she opposes.

Opposed in approach, not politics
- boyhowdy.

The_Lex said...

Honestly, I think I would work with this organization. Any chance it could become a nonprofit?

And as much as I support free speech, fighting against this scourge of Right Wing crazy talk acts as a way to fight and protect free speech.

After all, as can be seen on, Coulter wants to kill liberals. . .have a death penalty for liberals. Honestly, if people like her continue having control of the airwaves and not give an equal share to more reasoned minds, the reasoned minds could. . .well. . .disappear.

After all. . .look at the current stuff going through Senate and Congress to tier Internet prices. It already happens to a degree, but to have it occur on a more direct level acts as an economic way to curtail free speech.

Every angle of free speech, and that includes the market share of it, needs to be protected.

Gerry said...

I love the idea. A list of sponsors plus sample letters. Way to go. Keep me posted, GS.

Shakespeare's Sister said...

I think it's a good idea. It sounds, if I'm understanding it correctly, a lot like Progressive Secretary.

donna said...