Wednesday, December 30, 2009

California's Award-Winning Bigots

This was writtn by Maia Spotts for Change.org. She says it all, and I have nothing to add, but it is worth sharing:

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Do you have a ballot measure that needs passing? Are you worried that logic and basic human rights could stand in your way? Do you need someone with a proven track record of success, based on highly dramatic, totally misleading, and often unfounded claims about your opposition? Have you got a few million dollars? Does Maggie Gallagher make you swoon? Then come to California, one-stop shopping for all your defeat gay marriage needs!
Let me introduce you to Frank Shubert and Jeff Flint, CEO's of Shubert Flint Public Affairs, a Sacramento company. If their names don't ring a bell, certainly their work will. These boys are the dream team that brought you such hits as Yes on Prop 8 in California and Yes on Question 1 in Maine.
Shubert Flint finds itself the leader of what The New York Times called a "cottage industry" fighting against same-sex marriage. The other big money players in that special California niche market are Mar/Com, Inc. (also known as Criswell Associates), a San Fransisco based company who produced those fantastic radio and TV spots, along with campaign printing companies, research companies and "information" services. According to the campaign finance report, about 75% of expenditures for the Yes on Question 1 campaign went to California companies. The rest appears to have been spent on pizza, bagels and office supplies. The Times reports that Mar/Com, Inc. was paid an additions $1.6 million by standformarriagemaine.com.
The numbers on the Prop 8 campaign have yet to be revealed, currently embroiled, as they are, in a minor legal skirmish in the Federal Courts. Some folks don't want us to know what it takes to get 52% of the voting population to believe that extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples infringes upon the Constitutional rights of doctors, teachers, clergymen and five-year olds. I'd imagine it takes some pretty creative, and aggressive, marketing and PR. You don't win 18 Political Consulting awards for a couple of radio spots.
Look, I'm no fool. I'm not a bit surprised about the money. The awards irk me a bit. I, like many folks out there, am supremely ticked off about the tactics. Frank Shubert and Jeff Flint have now written the book on how to defeat gay marriage at the ballot box. Chapter One: Fear Works. Chapter Two: Abusing Faith. Chapter Three: Lie When Necessary. As Ted Olson and company begin their federal court battle in California, the scare tactics of Shubert Flint will (hopefully) be revealed. So decisions to "bet the farm" on schools -- scaring people into believing that marriage equality requires kindergarten teachers to teach homosexuality -- may come back to bite them in the ass. One can only hope.
As the National Organization for Marriage marches on with projects from D.C. to Iowa, Shubert Flint may be able to keep the lights on for another year of fear mongering. With each new campaign, however, they (Shubert Flint, NOM, the Mormon Church, all of them) reveal more and more from their playbook. It's only a matter of time before we can use it against them. I'm talking to you, Jersey.

1 comment:

Mark in DE said...

Again, this is why matters of civil and human rights need to be decided by courts, not by referendums that are heavily swayed by money, fear, and misinformation.