MEDIA MASH: PBS to Slam the Chemical Industry

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Chemical Industry on the Spot

On Monday night, March 26th, public television will air "Trade Secrets," a hard-nosed investigative report on the chemical industry that has the potential to have a huge impact on social policy and add momentum to ongoing campaigns to hold the chemical polluters accountable.

In the 50 years of the chemical revolution, over 75,000 chemicals have been released into the environment. What happens as our body absorbs them? And how can we protect ourselves? The award winning team of Bill Moyers and producer Sherry Jones uncovers how health and safety have been put at risk. The report is based on a massive archive of secret industry documents that some are saying are as shocking as the "tobacco papers." The Masher says "You go, Bill and Sherry. It's time."

Many of us remember The Day After, a TV tale of nuclear holocaust, and the accompanying campaign of viewing parties and organizing events. Using The Day After publicity model, a large coalition is working to create tons of buzz about Trade Secrets. One alliance of groups has launched a campaign called Coming Clean and are organizing media events, protests and viewings in key cities. For more information about how you can organize a viewing event in your community, contact Ann Long at annlong@shentel.net, Bryony Schwan at swan@wildrockies.org or Monica Rohde at mrohde@chej.org.

Subways for Sale

It's hard to believe, but apparently true, that Massachusetts -- that bastion of New England good sense, the only state to vote for George McGovern in 1972 -- is considering selling corporations the right to put their names on subway stations. Imagine the Harvard Square T stop named for MacDonalds? TomPaine.com has a letter to Massachusestts Governor Paul Cellucci from Ralph Nader, saying please no.

Funny Guys Looking for Material

The Masher ran into two of the "loyal opposition's" funniest satirsts, comic Will Durst and Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow), at the Creative Coalition party at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C. on snowy inauguration night. Durst and Perkins were circulating and sniffing around this top-shelf party for those gem-like insights that will perfectly capture the foolishness of the Capital. The Max Weinberg's band, Conan O'Brien's house sextet, blasted away with music that dated most of the people in the room; this party was not one for the Gen X crowd.

The Coalition bash was one of the very few events over the weekend where liberals and progressives could find some companionship ... but barely. The Creative Coalition, the public advocacy arm of the entertainment industry, used to be pretty liberal. But now it seems they bend over pretty far backwards to be "bipartisan," to the point of having co-hosts like Senators John Breaux, Arlen Specter, and Congresswoman Mary Bono, former wife of Sonny Bono. The event was also sponsored by the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, which prides itself on its fiscal conservatism, but fortunately isn't as conservative as the Yellow Dog Democrats (who are really Republicans).

One good sign was that Ron Reagan Jr., who was another of the co-hosts (along with sleepy-eyed actor Billy Baldwin) is sharp on campaign finance reform, and far to the left of his dad. With the energetic Arianna Huffington holding court, many of the party-goers were talking about the possible success of the McCain-Feingold bill, which would outlaw soft money contributions.

Weekly Tossed from Supermarket Racks in Colorado

The Colorado Springs Independent, the fiesty alternative weekly, is engaged in a pitched battle with local supermarkets in the Pikes Peak region, including the seven store King Soopers chain and national chain Albertson's. It seems these supermarkets, bowing to ongoing pressure from conservative organizations like the American Family Association, have tossed out the freely distributed paper for being ... well, too alternative.

Fighting back, the Independent has lead efforts to break the boycott with many letters and calls from concerned readers. The campaign has had some success, but the paper hasn't been reinstated to its former status. Now some of the stores are classifying the benign Independent as adult material and are keeping it behind the counter, where readers would have to ask a clerk to get it. The cultural wars continue at ground zero in Colorado Springs.
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