American Family Association : New Lows in Astroturf Campaigns


Last week, upstanding citizens from Parma to Independence pelted Punch with outrage over the latest TV commercial for the Hardee’s/Carl's Jr. Patty Melt. The sandwich is served on round rye bread – ie. “flat buns” – which is apparently of bold innovation in fast food. So Hardee’s commercial stars a blond high school teacher (picture Britney Spears circa 1998), sporting a skin-tight dress and librarian glasses, shaking her booty as the young men in her class praise her, um, buns. “I like ’em really hot, I like ’em really flat,” they rap. “Flat buns, I like flat buns.” The Justice Department is now weighing charges for crimes against inventiveness. But conservatives were more alarmed by the salacious theme. “They were referring to ladies’ buns,” wrote Concerned Citizen Warren Carter of Independence. “It was really unbelievable.” More unbelievable was the unimaginative protest. It’s called an astroturf campaign, when one group – in this case the American Family Association – urges its members to bombard the media to make it look as if a groundswell of public indignation is rising like a majestic – though very pissed – eagle. Suddenly Punch was being hammered by emails. But American Family apparently doesn’t believe its members can articulate their own outrage. The emails, which arrived from across the metro area, all contained the exact same language. Punch called police, fearing we were being stalked by the Stepford Wives. This is the same group that launched a boycott of Ford for hiring gay people. If we don’t stop them now, American cars will soon have tasteful interiors! As Dick Feagler would say, they just don’t do righteous indignation like they did in the old days. – Lisa Rab

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