Monday, December 06, 2004

That's one of several photographs of Arizona billboards, taken just around the time of the election, and posted here. Some of the other billboards are scarier, but at least they seem to be the work of organizations or individuals who merely hired billboard companies to convey their messages. This message is actually from Clear Channel, the billboard/concert promotion/broadcating firm that seeks monopoly control of radio markets -- and sometimes succeeds in obtaining such control.

So, is Clear Channel ordering us to believe in God?

You know what? I don't think so. Surely Clear Channel knows that this is a highly religious country in which most people accept the message of that billboard without question -- and the rest of us aren't likely to be persuaded.

Here's my theory. What do you suppose a conservative, traditionalist American thinks when he or she sees this billboard? My guess is that such a person thinks, "Damn straight -- and what's wrong with this country that there are some people who need to be reminded that this is one nation under God?"

And I bet those people have a similar reaction to this Clear Channel billboard:

("Hey, I'm focused -- what's wrong with all those people who aren't?")

These aren't public service announcements. They're subtle reminders to traditionalists that America is full of evil people.

Us, to be specific.

I think Clear Channel posted these ads right around the time of an election not just to show solidarity with conservatives but to remind people to vote for Bush -- without ever mentioning his name, the name of his party, or the fact of the election. These are political ads that can't be identified as political ads. Remind traditionalists that they're surrounded by evil atheist appeasenik liberals, and maybe they won't stay home on Election Day. (Karl Rove is certain that far too many stayed home in 2000.)

We know Clear Channel wanted a Bush victory because early in the 2004 election cycle we learned that

Clear Channel executives ... and Clear Channel's political action committee gave 77% of their $334,501 in federal contributions to Republicans. That's a bigger share than any other entertainment company, says the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

What's in this for Clear Channel? One of CC's regional VPs told The Washington Post a couple of years ago,

"Every issue we discuss, every decision we make, comes down to a simple test: Will it increase ratings or revenue? If it doesn't, let's move on."

Well, here's the chart for Clear Channel stock, via Yahoo:

Interesting uptick right before the election, no? You don't suppose stock-buyers were betting on a Bush win -- and seeing it as a win for Clear Channel as well?

Bu the way, here's some news about Clear Channel, just anounced today:

Fox to Provide News to Clear Channel

Clear Channel Communications Inc. said Monday it has selected Fox News Radio to be the primary source of national news for most of Clear Channel Radio's news and talk stations under a five-year agreement.

Fox will provide a five-minute top-of-the-hour newscast, a nightly news broadcast, and around-the-clock dedicated national news coverage, and will also be the primary provider for breaking national news. In return, Fox News Radio will have access to news produced by Clear Channel's news network....

No comment.

(Billboard link via BuzzFlash.)

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