Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What do we want!? I'm not sure! When do we want it!? Sometime within the next eight days!

Heads up, Silver Spring, Md.

In a brazen display of calling anti-environment powerhouse Discovery Channel to task for its corporate social responsibility, MySpace crusader Lee, is mobilizing his army of 14 other MySpacers to march on Discovery’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. The protest will take place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for eight straight days (from Feb. 15-23). On his Web site (http://www.savetheplanetprotest.com/), Lee says, “I know the hours and days for the protest event seems a bit long, but if the Discovery Channel is going to take this protest serious, we need to show them we are serious and are willing to wait them out until they give into our demands.”

And his demands?

Sifting through his almost incoherent Web rant, I haven’t really been able to figure them out. I don’t think he’s sure either. He drivels out some potential programming ideas (including contests and game shows) before getting a bit winded and saying, “I don’t know, so long as it WORKS!” It looks like he’s calling out Discovery to solve climate change. I’m wondering why he’s singled this cable network out when—if I’m following his logic correctly—every other network, nay, every other corporation is equally to blame for insufficient action.

Perhaps the most curious element in play here is that Lee has taken out ads in the Washington Post Express promoting his marathon event. I’m guessing that Discovery will totally ignore this “campaign,” but an interesting issue is in play here. New media has allowed pretty much anyone with a laptop and an agenda—no matter how farfetched—to exercise their right to free speech. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s done a good job of getting his message out there. Discovery can't love the fact that there's an ad running in a well-read news source framing them as anti-environment. Could Discovery engage Lee to quell his gripe? Maybe they could send out Sigourney Weaver to talk to him. Her voice sure soothed the bejesus out of me narrating the network's brilliant Planet Earth series. I'm pretty sure I fell fast asleep during the Caves episode, which could be equally attributable to Weaver's silky pipes and the fact that that episode was pretty boring.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

A search of Discovery's corporate website and the Washington Post online uncovers absolutely no coverage of this "protest," meaning, I would assume, that Discovery gave Lee what I think he deserves - no response. I'm not saying the guy doesn't have a point, but who the hell is he and why should anyone listen to him?

I think you're right that the blogger/new media landscape has changed who becomes an "activist" and how they operate, but if companies spent time reacting to all the negativity out there in this vein, they'd never have time for anything else. If he was a person of clout and real influence, I'm sure it would have been different. But I doubt Discovery was all that concerned about the ad. I recall it and remember thinking it smacked of Lyndon LaRouche (another quack no one takes seriously in this town).