Pubdate: Wed, 8 Jan 2003
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Joan Lowy
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Television stations in New York, Detroit and Los Angeles are refusing to 
air ads that link driving sport utility vehicles with supporting terrorism, 
producers of the ads said yesterday.

The two ads were produced for The Detroit Project, a media campaign 
organized by author and columnist Arianna Huffington and Hollywood movie 
producer Lawrence Bender, among others. Both ads were modeled on 
hard-hitting anti-drug public service announcements produced by the Bush 
administration that equate drug use with support for terrorism.

In one ad, a man called "George" pumps gas into his SUV while a voice says 
that every time he fills up he makes money for oil companies that buy oil 
from countries that support terrorists. A map of the Persian Gulf shows 
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran.

"What kind of mileage does your SUV get? Oil money supports some terrible 
things," the ad says.

The second ad, in an ironic vein, features supposed SUV owners proudly 
claiming responsibility for blowing up nightclubs and putting U.S. troops 
in harm's way. It concludes: "What is your SUV doing to national security? 
Detroit, America needs hybrid cars now."

Stations that have refused to air the ads are WABC in New York; WDIV in 
Detroit; and KABC and KCBS in Los Angeles, Huffington said.

"I guess it takes courage to go up against the auto manufacturers and some 
of these networks don't have that kind of guts," said Bender, who produced 
the movies "Good Will Hunting" and "Pulp Fiction."

Art Moore, programming director for WABC, said the station rejected the ad 
because it has a policy against running any "controversial" ads.

"We don't do issue ads at all," Moore said.

Officials for the three other stations declined to comment on their reasons 
for rejecting the ads.

The media campaign is part of a growing national backlash against SUVs, 
which now account for 27 percent of the U.S. car market.

In November, an interdenominational group of religious leaders met in 
Detroit with auto executives in an effort to persuade manufacturers to move 
aggressively to market more fuel-efficient vehicles.

At the same time, the Evangelical Environmental Network underwrote anti-SUV 
television commercials asking viewers: "What would Jesus drive?"

The United States produces 25 percent of the world's man-made carbon 
dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. 
Automobiles and power plants are the primary producers of carbon dioxide.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom