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:: 2.05.2004 ::  

CBS runs taxpayer-funded ads schilling Bush's Medicare program

I feel ill. According to the Center for American Progress,
AP reports that the White House gave the $9 million ad contract to National Media, Inc., the Bush-Cheney campaign's media firm. And if that is not shocking enough, the same company that is doing government-funded ads for HHS is also the primary media firm for the drug industry. Specifically, National Media has done the ads for the drug industry front group "Citizens for Better Medicare" – an organization that has spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking lawmakers who have fought to lower prescription drug prices.
Not only that, but the ads aren't even factually accurate:
CLAIM: "You can save with Medicare drug discount cards this June. And save more with new prescription drug coverage in 2006."

FACT: Savings are elusive and erode over time. Drug discount cards are not guaranteed to provide any meaningful discounts, may not cover the drugs seniors need, and may change discounts and covered drugs at any time. Medicare is prohibited from maximizing savings by negotiating lower drug prices. Under the drug benefit, some beneficiaries will not save and in fact will spend more than they do now. Seniors will still have to pay up to 100% of drug costs due to the gap in coverage ("donut hole") and ability for private plans to impose strict drug formularies, prior authorization requirements, etc. The value of the drug benefit shrinks much faster than inflation, meaning seniors will have to spend an ever-increasing share of their income on prescription drugs. [emphasis added]
The killer on this is that CBS refused to air the moveon.org and PETA ads because they supposedly have a blanket policy against running controversial "issue ads." Uh-huh. It's one thing to argue that the drug-user-supports-terrorism ads are about public health issues; these recent ads, while they do indeed relate to public health in that they talk about health care coverage, do more to advance a particular political agenda than to educate the public.

A parting shot:
"We do not accept advertising on one side or the other of controversial public issues, partly because we don't think the debate ought to be controlled by people with deep pockets," said Martin Franks, CBS executive vice president. [emphasis added]
So much for that claim, Mr. Franks. Quote found here.

Here's what Moveon has to say about it (you knew they were going to weigh in on this one):
...since CBS appears to be changing its policy, our Voter Fund has submitted our own Medicare ad which exposes the facts behind this spin campaign to run on CBS. So far, we haven't heard back. Please give CBS a call today to let them know that they need to either pull the White House ads or run ours.

You can reach CBS at:

CBS Comment Line
(212) 975-3247


Web form:

After you've called or emailed, please help us track the number of calls and emails that are pouring in by going to:

We're spreading out the calls across a number of relevant CBS numbers, so hopefully you won't get a busy signal. Also, we have no quarrel with CBS News or any CBS journalists, who have actually given fair coverage to CBS Corporate's unfair decision. Please don't call the CBS news desk.
Please call/email/fax today!

:: Deb 3:36 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


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