Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August 20th, 2010

Our liberal media

Posted by Charles II on August 20, 2010

Peter Hart, FAIR says:

Meanwhile, on Public TV…
08/19/2010 by Peter Hart
Two PBS-related items of interest.

-Last year when PBS announced the retirement of Bill Moyers and the inexplicable cancellation of the excellent Now program, word came that some public TV stations would be airing a program produced by (yes, this is a real thing) the George W. Bush Institute. The show, Ideas in Action, is host by James Glassman; as FAIR noted, he is

a longtime fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is perhaps best known for his remarkably optimistic–and wrong–book Dow 36,000. He also regularly penned op-eds for major U.S. newspapers that pushed views and policies that would directly benefit sponsors of his online news site, TechCentralStation.com (Extra!, 3-4/05).

According to a report at the Politico (8/18/10), Glassman’s show will air Sunday mornings on WHUT and on Maryland Public Television (MPT).

–The PBS program Nightly Business Report, produced by a public station in Miami, has been sold to “a private company headed by Mykalai Kontilai, a former manager of mixed martial artists,” according to a report in the New York Times. The Times notes that the show “has struggled recently to find enough corporate underwriting sponsors,” so presumably the new owners think they can do that. The show will continue to be produced at the Miami public station WPBT.

The arrangement is somewhat puzzling: a private company now takes ownership of a public TV program, and will apparently solicit private corporate sponsors for an important “public television” show. Then again, the PBS flagship NewsHour newscast is a project of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, and the majority owner is Liberty Media, the company run by conservative media mogul John Malone.

(emphases added)

This is why I no longer contribute to PBS and, as far as I am concerned, the NewsHour–even though some of their correspondents are straight journalists– amounts to propaganda.

Posted in media, Media machine, propaganda | 1 Comment »

The last word on the mosque “controversy”

Posted by Charles II on August 20, 2010

Bartcop gets all the good cartoons:

Posted in anti-truth, hypocrites, Islam, Republicans as cancer | 4 Comments »

Somehow This Doesn’t Surprise Me

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 20, 2010

From Media Matters (via TBogg), we find out that conservative commentators just can’t resist the urge to racially demagogue the Blagojevich trial and verdicts.

But of course, conservatives and Republicans really aren’t racists. Joe Scarborough says so!

Posted in conservativism, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off on Somehow This Doesn’t Surprise Me

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 20, 2010

Lady Lightfoot

Lady Lightfoot

Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 10 Comments »

The Shareholders Strike Back

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 20, 2010

Looks like some folks have found a useful tool in the fight to keep rich people from buying up all of our rights and drowning out our voices in this post-Citizens-United world.

Here’s a press release from three socially-responsible investment funds that happen to have money in both Target and Best Buy:

TARGET, BEST BUY RECEIVE SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS ADDRESSING
CONTROVERSIAL POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS

Contacts:

Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management 617/726-7155
Shelley Alpern, Trillium Asset Management Corporation 617/292-8026 x 248
Stu Dalheim, Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. 301/961-4762

August 19, 2010 – Three leading sustainability investing firms have filed shareholder proposals this week at Target (NYSE: TGT) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), which are under fire for making sizable political contributions to a group channeling funds to a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate known for his opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Boston-based investment firms Walden Asset Management (“Walden”) and Trillium Asset Management Corporation (“Trillium”), and Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. (“Calvert”) of Bethesda, MD, joined together to file a proposal at Target Corporation that asks the company’s independent board members to undertake a “comprehensive review of Target’s political contributions and spending processes including the criteria used for such contributions” and “oversight processes by management and the Board.” Calvert and Trillium have filed a similar resolution at Best Buy this week, Trillium on behalf of the Equity Foundation, which works to eradicate prejudice towards the sexual and gender minority communities of Oregon. Collectively, the shareholders control more than 1.1 million shares of common stock in Target worth $57.5 million, and 344,000 shares of Best Buy worth $11.3 million.

The proposals call attention to the misalignment between the donations and the companies’ corporate values. Both Target and Best Buy have exceptionally strong workplace policies for LGBT employees, and have supported LGBT community activities in Minnesota.

The candidate for governor, Minnesota state representative Tom Emmer, has adopted a highly adversarial stance toward the LGBT community. He opposes same-sex marriage and led an effort to deny LGBT couples full parental rights in Minnesota. In addition, his campaign made a contribution to a Christian hard rock ministry that praised Muslim countries that execute their citizens for homosexuality as being “more moral than even the American Christians.”

Target and Best Buy have made apologetic statements acknowledging objections to their contributions, but neither has asked the pro-business group, Minnesota Forward, to return any funds. Both companies are facing boycott campaigns. This week, Target decided not to contribute to groups supporting gay-rights candidates in Minnesota, a request of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group. The HRC is also currently in discussions with Best Buy.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision earlier this year opened the floodgates for millions of corporate dollars being directly and indirectly injected into political contests and races.

Tim Smith, senior vice president at Walden, commented, “It is unclear how frequently companies will decide to spend shareholder monies in controversial political races. But if the Best Buy and Target contributions are any indication, imprudent donations can potentially have a major negative impact on company reputations and business if they don’t carefully and fully assess a candidate’s positions. Funding ballot initiatives or “issue ads” can similarly backfire.”

Shelley Alpern, vice president at Trillium, said, “Tom Emmer has made it no secret that as governor he would deny members of the LGBT their full civil rights. No company can credibly claim that it continues to support the LGBT community if at the same time it is financing a deliberate effort to keep it in second-class citizenship.” Trillium has already been asked by one client, the Equity Foundation of Portland, Oregon, to fully divest its portfolio of Target shares.

Thirteen companies have donated $1,095,000 to MN Forward, including Pentair (NYSE:PNR), Polaris (NYSE:PII), a maker of snowmobiles, and Regis (NYSE:RGS), the parent corporation of SuperCuts, Hair Club for Men, and other hair care franchises. In 2008, Trillium filed a shareholder proposal at Pentair that resulted in the company’s adoption of a sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy. Alpern said Trillium will pursue the topic of political contributions with Pentair.

“Shareholder resolutions at Target and Best Buy should serve to alert companies of the importance of a careful and comprehensive review of their contributions policies, oversight, risk assessment and disclosure as they consider earmarking shareholder funds for political purposes,” said Tim Smith of Walden.

“A good corporate political contribution policy should prevent the kind of debacle Target and Best Buy walked into,” Alpern added. “We expect companies to evaluate candidate based upon the range of their positions – not simply one area — and assess whether they are in alignment with their core values. But these companies’ policies are clearly lacking that.”

“We continue to call for increased transparency and disclosure of corporate political spending. The absolutely wrong conclusion for companies to draw from this controversy is that everything will be all right as long as they conceal their political contributions.” Stu Dalheim, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Calvert Asset Management Company said, “Instead they must ensure that they have a transparent governance framework that ensures they align their political spending with their business interests and stated policies.”

About the shareholder proposal proponents

Walden Asset Management has been a leader in socially responsive investing since 1975, managing our clients’ assets to achieve their specific financial and social objectives.

Trillium Asset Management Corporation is the oldest and largest independent advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing.

Calvert Asset Management Company is a leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI), offering investors among the widest choice of SRI strategies of any investment management company in the United States.

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things | 4 Comments »

 
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