The artists are innocent: It's the media and the politicians who blew this one. By Harvey Silverglate.
Mooninites cripple Boston: And rock your face off. By Carly Carioli.
Who knew the were cartoons, and when did they know it? By Adam Reilly .
Is Menino's anger misdirected? By David Bernstein.
Mayor Menino is once again bent out of shape and personally offended. This time the mayor is venting his anger at Turner Broadcasting System and its Cartoon Network’s guerilla marketing campaign to promote the seven-year-old adult cartoon program Aqua Teen Hunger Force. As everyone now knows, the publicity stunt involved installing 38 suspicious-looking light boards around town displaying the image of one of the show’s most recognizable Mooninite characters. Authorities responded by launching what is probably the largest, most intense, and costly search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in greater Boston since 9/11.
In attacking the total irresponsibility of the cable-TV channel’s gambit, Menino, out for the network’s blood and money was quoted as saying: “Give me a break. . . . It's all about corporate greed." The mayor also demanded the revocation of TBS’s broadcast license. Further, he suggested that in addition to punishing the two young men, who’d been hired to hang the “hoax devices” by an third-party marketing firm and were (astonishingly) arrested last night with bail set at $100,000 each, he would like to see the “people in the boardroom” also “pay.”
Furthermore, Menino seemed upset that only a “low level” press-relations person from Turner called him personally and that wasn’t until 9 pm.
Sharing the mayor’s outrage at Turner were a number of other government and law-enforcement folks including Representative Ed Markey and Attorney General Martha Coakley, and, even more peculiar, from some of Boston’s mainstream media executives. WCVB-TV General Manager Bill Fine was quoted as saying, "If the governor wants to sue Turner, I will join them in the suit."
It is bad enough that our pop-cultural-knowledge deficient government and law-enforcement officials go over the top and call for the heads of execs from a media company who almost three weeks ago, and without any evidence of malicious intent, launched a basic, and perhaps even clever, marketing campaign. The same guerilla tactics, by the way, were applied to 10 other markets around the country where the “hoax devices” created no problem or controversy at all.
But when the person in charge of a major local news outlet wants to sue another media outlet, something is hugely awry. On what basis would Fine even think such a thought? Sue Turner Broadcasting for what?
Just because Fine made the (clearly) very expensive decision for WCVB to devote huge resources to provide continuous, commercial-free coverage of a breaking news event that turned out to be less than what it appeared from 2:20 to 6:30 pm.
This is somehow the Cartoon Network’s fault?
Or does GM Bill Fine think of himself as just another government or law-enforcement official whose job it is to protect the public from terrorizing hoaxes — even the unintentional ones? It seems to me that Mr. Fine is terribly confused about his role in all of this.
And here to me is the worst of it all — this entire tribulation started at 8 am, when, according to the Globe, “an MBTA worker spotted one of the devices affixed to an Interstate 93 ramp near Sullivan Square in Charlestown, forcing the shutdown of the northbound side of the Interstate and tying up traffic for hours.” Sometime before 10 am, the Globe reported, “the State Police bomb squad blew the object apart with a water cannon.”
At that point there was obviously strong evidence to indicate this was not a bomb. And certainly over the next several hours, when the next device was located, officials had to be extremely certain that there was no terrorist attack at hand. And yet, the over-the-top response continued with apparently no one informing the media — or the public — that it at least appeared that there was no reason to be fearful. Instead, the authorities let the TV news continue to cover the story as if there was the possibility of real threat.
And it was long after it was absolutely known that the light boards were not meant to be some malevolent hoax that the two guys who had put them up were arrested and charged. All of it is outrageous and, frankly, pretty bush-league behavior on the part of our city.