Saturday, March 15, 2008

Undue Influence: MTV weighs into political fray

MTV is producing provocative ads as part of its Think program.

This first one claims a Holocaust of Palestinians and also makes one think about authoritarianism within the US.

This one is also quite explicit in its viewpoint against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
I'd really like a citation to the Red Cross claim that statistics of the Holocaust were a "fabrication". Statistical methodology can always be critiqued, but to call it a complete fabrication... I think that would require intent and is damned strong, I'd like to see something to verify that claim.

I found this on the Red Cross website.

The Center will search the world over for information leading to the fates of loved ones missing since the Holocaust and World War II. Nearly every inquiry that is processed by the Center is forwarded to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Arolsen, Germany which is the largest repository of original Nazi documents in the world. It contains an index of over 17 million names of victims and survivors—both Jewish and non-Jewish—of the Holocaust and World War II. The ITS is administered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Before a request is sent to the ITS it is translated into German by a member of the Center's translation team. Many of these volunteers are Holocaust survivors themselves.
Hitler killed many groups besides Jews like gays, Catholics, Roma, Poles, Russians...

Trying to count the number of dead in a war, much less a pogrom, has to be as much art as science... which isn't to say it's pointless, just to say that it's an inexact science. The number might be wrong, but a complete fabrication? Those are fighting words to academics, luckily the academics being insulted are likely all dead or in retirement homes.

While these ads are powerful, they strike me as the visual equivalents of verbal "sound bites". Images provoke a visceral response unlike the more detached reaction from reading. This is also a problem with all TV news.

I've been reading up a bit on 527 organizations, named for section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code dealing with political campaigns, but these new organisms created by McCain-Feingold, such as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Move-On played a significant role in the last election, and both of them were fined for their actions by the FEC in 2006.

The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.

These ads remind me of the issue advocacy that 527's are designed to engage in, like the Sierra Club advocating for the environment, without tying their view to either candidate necessarily.

MTV is certainly entitled to its viewpoint.

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