NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin and Jim Metrock (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: March 2nd, 2000

Coalition Launches Campaign to Protect Schoolchildren From Channel One

A broad coalition of progressive and conservative organizations and scholars asked Members of Congress, governors and others to protect children from Channel One, an in-school marketing company. The coalition aims to cut off advertising revenues for Channel One and to remove it from the nation’s public schools. The coalition sent letters to:

  • Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees, asking them to eliminate all federal funding for Channel One;

  • Governors, asking them to take all steps within their powers to remove Channel One from their state’s public schools;

  • Channel One’s advertisers, asking them to stop advertising on Channel One;

  • Members of the House Education Committee, asking them to hold hearings on Channel One; and,

  • Channel One’s partners, asking them to sever their partnership with Channel One.

Following is the letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens:

Dear Chairman Stevens:

We ask that the Senate Committee on Appropriations stop all federal funding of the controversial in-school marketing company called Channel One.

Channel One, under the guise of a news show, delivers two minutes of advertising each schoolday to a captive audience of approximately eight million children in 12,000 schools.

The U.S. Government is a major advertiser on Channel One. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marines advertise on Channel One.

Channel One is a big step in the wrong direction for children, schools and taxpayers. It is deserving of your committee’s attention for the following reasons:

1. Channel One uses the compulsory attendance laws to force children to watch ads. Joel Babbit, then-president of Channel One, explained in 1994 why advertisers like Channel One: “The biggest selling point to advertisers [is] . . . we are forcing kids to watch two minutes of commercials.” 2. Channel One wastes precious school time. Channel One consumes the equivalent of one instructional week of school time each school year, including one full day watching ads.

3. Channel One helps advertisers bypass parents to promote products which parents may not approve of, such as exorbitantly expensive athletic sneakers and violent movies.

4. Channel One wastes tax dollars spent on schools. A 1998 study by Max Sawicky and Alex Molnar, titled “The Hidden Costs of Channel One,” concluded that Channel One’s cost to taxpayers in lost class time is $1.8 billion per year.

5. Channel One may harm children’s health. Channel One advertises Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Pepsi and other junk food to children in classrooms. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that “Obesity is epidemic in the United States.” Obesity is a major public health problem. Given skyrocketing levels of childhood obesity and diabetes, it is insanity for schools to encourage children to develop poor eating habits.

6. Channel One—not parents or school boards—decides its ads and program content. Channel One violates the principle of local control of education. Parents should be able to choose who may affect their children’s lives, not Channel One.

7. Channel One undermines parents’ efforts to teach positive values to their children. Channel One teaches a curriculum of materialism, that buying is good, and will solve your problems, and that consumption and self-gratification are the goals and ends of life.

8. Channel One corrupts the integrity of public education and diminishes the moral authority of schools and teachers. In effect, Channel One appropriates the authority of schools and teachers and transfers it to advertisers for these controversial products. Schools implicitly endorse the products that Channel One advertises.

The opposition to Channel One is large and growing. For example, in June, 1999, the Southern Baptist Convention, which represents the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, passed a resolution urging community leaders to remove Channel One from the schools. We urge you to include provisions in the relevant appropriations bills prohibiting ONDCP, the Navy, Air Force, Marines and all other federal government entities from advertising on Channel One.

We are grateful for your kind attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Please direct your response to Mr. Jim Metrock of Obligation, Inc. at (205) 822-0080 or Mr. Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert at (202) 296-2787.

Sincerely, Patricia Aufderheide, Professor, American University
Charles W.F. Bell, Programs Director, Consumers Union
Dr. Brita Butler-Wall, Assistant Professor of Education, Seattle University; author, A Parent Guide to Commercialism in Schools
Coral Ridge Ministries
Gloria DeGaetano, Director, GrowSmartBrains.com; co-author, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill
Roy F. Fox, Assoc. Prof. of Eng. Ed. & Lit., U. of MO-Columbia; author, Harvesting Minds
Thomas C. Frank, author, The Conquest of Cool
George Gerbner, President and Founder, Cultural Environment Movement; Dean Emeritus, Annenberg School of Communication
Todd Gitlin, Professor of Culture, Journalism and Sociology, New York University; author, The Twilight of Common Dreams
Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., author, Failure to Connect
Michael F. Jacobson, co-author, Marketing Madness
Sut Jhally, Founder and Executive Director, The Media Education Foundation
Timothy J. Kasser, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Knox College
Jean Kilbourne, author, Deadly Persuasion
Diane Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College; author, Remote Control Childhood
Jane & Laurence Levine, Co-founders, Kids Can Make A Difference
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Bernard McGrane, Associate Professor of Sociology, Chapman University; author, The Un-TV and the 10 Mph Car
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Tom Minnery, Vice President, Focus on the Family
Alex Molnar, author, Giving Kids the Business
Neil Postman, Chairman, Department of Culture and Communication, New York University; author, Amusing Ourselves to Death
Hugh Rank, Professor Emeritus, Governors State University; author, The Pitch
David Reynolds, M.D., President, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Gary Ruskin, Director, Commercial Alert
Juliet Schor, Senior Lecturer on Women’s Studies, Harvard University; author, The Overspent American
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
Betsy Taylor, Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
Frank Vespe, Executive Director, TV-Free America
David Walsh, Ph.D., President, National Institute on Media and the Family; author, Selling Out America’s Children
Donald E. Wildmon, President, American Family Association <---------------letter ends here------------->

During a 12-month period of 1998-99, Channel One spent over $1 million in an expensive, failed lobbying effort to prevent a congressional hearing on how Channel One harms children, schools and taxpayers. The Channel One hearing took place on May 20, 1999, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions. Testimony from that hearing is available at http://www.commercialalert.org/channel_one/index.html.

Commercial Alert opposes the corporate exploitation of children, and the excesses of commercialism, marketing and advertising. Commercial Alert’s web address is http://www.commercialalert.org.

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NEWS RELEASE
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin and Jim Metrock (202)588-7746
For Immediate Release: March 2nd, 2000

Coalition Launches Campaign to Protect Schoolchildren From Channel One

A broad coalition of progressive and conservative organizations and scholars asked Members of Congress, governors and others to protect children from Channel One, an in-school marketing company. The coalition aims to cut off advertising revenues for Channel One and to remove it from the nation’s public schools. The coalition sent letters to:

  • Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees, asking them to eliminate all federal funding for Channel One;

  • Governors, asking them to take all steps within their powers to remove Channel One from their state’s public schools;

  • Channel One’s advertisers, asking them to stop advertising on Channel One;

  • Members of the House Education Committee, asking them to hold hearings on Channel One; and,

  • Channel One’s partners, asking them to sever their partnership with Channel One.

Following is the letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens:

Dear Chairman Stevens:

We ask that the Senate Committee on Appropriations stop all federal funding of the controversial in-school marketing company called Channel One.

Channel One, under the guise of a news show, delivers two minutes of advertising each schoolday to a captive audience of approximately eight million children in 12,000 schools.

The U.S. Government is a major advertiser on Channel One. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marines advertise on Channel One.

Channel One is a big step in the wrong direction for children, schools and taxpayers. It is deserving of your committee’s attention for the following reasons:

1. Channel One uses the compulsory attendance laws to force children to watch ads. Joel Babbit, then-president of Channel One, explained in 1994 why advertisers like Channel One: “The biggest selling point to advertisers [is] . . . we are forcing kids to watch two minutes of commercials.” 2. Channel One wastes precious school time. Channel One consumes the equivalent of one instructional week of school time each school year, including one full day watching ads.

3. Channel One helps advertisers bypass parents to promote products which parents may not approve of, such as exorbitantly expensive athletic sneakers and violent movies.

4. Channel One wastes tax dollars spent on schools. A 1998 study by Max Sawicky and Alex Molnar, titled “The Hidden Costs of Channel One,” concluded that Channel One’s cost to taxpayers in lost class time is $1.8 billion per year.

5. Channel One may harm children’s health. Channel One advertises Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Pepsi and other junk food to children in classrooms. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that “Obesity is epidemic in the United States.” Obesity is a major public health problem. Given skyrocketing levels of childhood obesity and diabetes, it is insanity for schools to encourage children to develop poor eating habits.

6. Channel One—not parents or school boards—decides its ads and program content. Channel One violates the principle of local control of education. Parents should be able to choose who may affect their children’s lives, not Channel One.

7. Channel One undermines parents’ efforts to teach positive values to their children. Channel One teaches a curriculum of materialism, that buying is good, and will solve your problems, and that consumption and self-gratification are the goals and ends of life.

8. Channel One corrupts the integrity of public education and diminishes the moral authority of schools and teachers. In effect, Channel One appropriates the authority of schools and teachers and transfers it to advertisers for these controversial products. Schools implicitly endorse the products that Channel One advertises.

The opposition to Channel One is large and growing. For example, in June, 1999, the Southern Baptist Convention, which represents the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, passed a resolution urging community leaders to remove Channel One from the schools. We urge you to include provisions in the relevant appropriations bills prohibiting ONDCP, the Navy, Air Force, Marines and all other federal government entities from advertising on Channel One.

We are grateful for your kind attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Please direct your response to Mr. Jim Metrock of Obligation, Inc. at (205) 822-0080 or Mr. Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert at (202) 296-2787.

Sincerely, Patricia Aufderheide, Professor, American University
Charles W.F. Bell, Programs Director, Consumers Union
Dr. Brita Butler-Wall, Assistant Professor of Education, Seattle University; author, A Parent Guide to Commercialism in Schools
Coral Ridge Ministries
Gloria DeGaetano, Director, GrowSmartBrains.com; co-author, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill
Roy F. Fox, Assoc. Prof. of Eng. Ed. & Lit., U. of MO-Columbia; author, Harvesting Minds
Thomas C. Frank, author, The Conquest of Cool
George Gerbner, President and Founder, Cultural Environment Movement; Dean Emeritus, Annenberg School of Communication
Todd Gitlin, Professor of Culture, Journalism and Sociology, New York University; author, The Twilight of Common Dreams
Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., author, Failure to Connect
Michael F. Jacobson, co-author, Marketing Madness
Sut Jhally, Founder and Executive Director, The Media Education Foundation
Timothy J. Kasser, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Knox College
Jean Kilbourne, author, Deadly Persuasion
Diane Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College; author, Remote Control Childhood
Jane & Laurence Levine, Co-founders, Kids Can Make A Difference
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Bernard McGrane, Associate Professor of Sociology, Chapman University; author, The Un-TV and the 10 Mph Car
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Tom Minnery, Vice President, Focus on the Family
Alex Molnar, author, Giving Kids the Business
Neil Postman, Chairman, Department of Culture and Communication, New York University; author, Amusing Ourselves to Death
Hugh Rank, Professor Emeritus, Governors State University; author, The Pitch
David Reynolds, M.D., President, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Gary Ruskin, Director, Commercial Alert
Juliet Schor, Senior Lecturer on Women’s Studies, Harvard University; author, The Overspent American
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
Betsy Taylor, Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
Frank Vespe, Executive Director, TV-Free America
David Walsh, Ph.D., President, National Institute on Media and the Family; author, Selling Out America’s Children
Donald E. Wildmon, President, American Family Association <---------------letter ends here------------->

During a 12-month period of 1998-99, Channel One spent over $1 million in an expensive, failed lobbying effort to prevent a congressional hearing on how Channel One harms children, schools and taxpayers. The Channel One hearing took place on May 20, 1999, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions. Testimony from that hearing is available at http://www.commercialalert.org/channel_one/index.html.

Commercial Alert opposes the corporate exploitation of children, and the excesses of commercialism, marketing and advertising. Commercial Alert’s web address is http://www.commercialalert.org.

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