George W. Bush's re-election campaign has been accused of appropriating the Olympics for political means. A recent Bush/Cheney advertisement that links Iraq's and Afghanistan's participation in the Olympic games with the White House's "war on terror" is drawing criticism. "To the embarrassment of their media handlers in Athens, members of the Iraqi football team have reacted furiously to the news that their efforts are being used to aid Mr Bush's efforts to win a second term in the White House," The Guardian reports.
Arts / Culture
The Business Software Alliance's "copyright-crusading cartoon ferret" appears in "marketing campaigns to teach kids to be good cybercitizens," and its "antipiracy comic book and teacher's guide" is mailed to grade-school classrooms.
The Showtime reality series "American Candidate," set to air during the lead up to the U.S. presidential election, will follow a dozen people as they stage and manage a "virtual" run for the White House.
"The seemingly endless media adulation and myth-building surrounding the drawn-out death and funeral of Ronald Reagan is in keeping his media-savvy teflon-coated presidency. For all the conservative squawking about liberals dominating Hollywood, it is the right-wing that has excelled at putting actors into office."
Punk Voter is "a coalition of over 130 bands and about 30 independent record labels" seeking to register and mobilize punk rock fans for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. But will the effort "serve to strengthen the very political system that punk has made its reputation attacking?" Scott Evans would say yes. He writes: "Last March [political punk band] Propagandhi withdrew from Punk Voter's Rock Against Bush Vol.
"I feel sorry for Steve Kurtz because he lost his wife ... and he didn't even have time to grieve," said art professor Beatriz da Costa. Kurtz is part of the Critical Art Ensemble, an acclaimed group "dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics and critical theory." Following Kurtz's wife's sudden death, police found "biological materials" at their home and involved the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kurtz's art uses plants, bacterial cultures and lab equipment.
Mel Gibson's controversial movie "The Passion of the Christ" is using a unique "surgical marketing campaign that has zeroed in on the Christian market and built a deafening buzz," according to the Wall Street Journal. "The promotional campaign got its start last year as Mr. Gibson hit the road and visited Christian leaders across America." Now, religious leaders are showing movie trailers and selling tickets to their congregations. But "passionate" marketing isn't just for churches.
We've done our best to ignore the media's latest feeding frenzy over singer Michael Jackson -- until now, that is. The filing of nine felony counts against Jackson "was orchestrated by a Hollywood public relations company, Tellem Worldwide," reports Tim Rutten. Tellem "is providing pro bono services to the Santa Barbara prosecutors. As special correspondent Linda Deutsch and reporter Tim Molloy of Associated Press reported last week, the company's other clients include the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
"A number of explosions tore through the British consulate in Turkey today, killing scores of people. George W. Bush is in England, surrounded on all sides by enraged British citizens whose massive protests have required nearly every police officer in London to be put on the line of defense," writes William Rivers Pitt. "It is 3:16 p.m. on Thursday afternoon as I write this. CNN has been covering, with total exclusivity, a parking lot outside a police station for the last hour. They covered an airplane landing. They covered the same airplane sitting still on the tarmac.
"Sesame Street's Big Bird is hoping to triumph where George Bush, Tony Blair and numerous heads of state have failed, by bringing peace to the Middle East," reports Julia Day. The children's TV show is preparing a series of programs for broadcast in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, promoting cooperation, respect for others and self-esteem.