Olympic super Pac advertising targeted in new grassroots movement
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Olympic ideal doesn’t say anything about politics or advertising, but that hasn’t prevented any number of ideological zealots and profit-hungry corporations from perverting the movement for their own ends.
For decades, NBC has been at the front of the line when it comes to trying to milk just a few more dollars from the games. Over the years, the network has been slammed for turning sports competitions into soap operas, for showing delayed broadcasts and trying to pass them off as live — all in the name of selling more advertising.
This year, the network is preparing to sell out to political super PACS during the London Games, breaking an unwritten rule that has minimized the number of political advocacy ads during major world sporting events. Already, the ultra-conservative Restore Our Future super PAC has bought $7.2 million in ads to air specifically during the London Olympics.
“Money has corrupted our republic, giving a tiny minority — less that 0.01 percent of the country — unprecedented influence over politicians,” said Professor Lawrence Lessig, Director of the Edmund J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and senior advisor to unPAC.org.
“Some call it a plutocracy. Some call it a corrupted aristocracy. I call it unstable. unPAC provides Americans of all stripes with a platform to come together and do something about it,” Lessig said, speaking during a congressional hearing on the influence of super PACs.
“Three hundred million Americans will come together to watch the Olympics, following American athletes as they take part in the ultimate display of sportsmanship,” said Matthew Palevsky, Director of a new campaign established to fight against political ads during the Olympics. “Super PACs are the political equivalent to juicing. They’re already corrupting our elections, and NBC shouldn’t let them ruin the Olympics,” Palevsky said.
The organizers are asking NBC to celebrate the values of national unity, congeniality and sportsmanship that the Olympics represent to Americans across the country and to exclude advertising that fosters division and rancor in its viewers.
See the video and petition here: http://www.unPAC.org/olympics.
The unPac wants to channel people power via the web and social networks to increase transparency and to counteract the domination by special interests of the discourse surrounding the 2012 elections.
In 2010, 47 percent of independent expenditures went undisclosed. With spending projected to reach $9.8 billion in the 2012 elections, unPAC.org is launching to empower scores of citizens in the struggle to reclaim their voice in democracy.
“The problem of money corrupting politics is not new,” said Josh Silver, CEO of United Republic and founding partner of unPAC. “What’s changed is that the floodgates have been opened and that for the first time, a and nearly 90 percent of the public agrees that something needs to be done about it. This is not a right vs. left issue. Liberals, conservatives and independents are unified in their opposition to the auctioning of our democracy.”
Special interest groups have commandeered this Congress to vote on proposals ranging from defining pizza as a vegetable in school cafeterias to doling out enormous tax breaks on behalf of their top funders. unPAC is calling for comprehensive reforms, including passage of The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750 and H.R. 1404) and the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175) and a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.
To find out more about unPAC, sign the petition or view video calling on NBC to reject Super PAC advertising, visit www.unPAC.org.