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October 27, 2002 8:13 PM   Subscribe

American brands PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Western Union are advertising on Hezbollah television. The Iranian-backed and funded group has been implicated in the attacks against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans in 1982.
posted by semmi (29 comments total)

 
Wonder if they also advertise on Greater Israel TV?*

*I know, you are gonna say 'But that's not equivalent', I'll say 'why not, the Zionists terrorised and stole land', then you say...blahblahblah...
posted by dash_slot- at 8:26 PM on October 27, 2002


What makes this really despicable, is the fact that these companies are only advertising on the local al-Manar station, but not the station's international satellite channel. As if they know they are doing something wrong, and don't want to get caught.


Another article from Oct 17 in the Jerusalem Post, on this same subject, is also excellent.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:31 PM on October 27, 2002


Interesting link. Thanks, semmi.
posted by blissbat at 8:34 PM on October 27, 2002


Wow I had really should tune in more with showes like these: Must See TV
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:42 PM on October 27, 2002


And the best way to colonize them and drag them kicking and screaming into the modern world is to use American products to show them the our way of life.

This is the best propaganda we could possibly buy. Sell them sex and sugar water and in a few years we'll win this war the same way we beat the Soviet Union, through the free market.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:55 PM on October 27, 2002


Yep, nyxxx, I can certainly see how simply exposing Palestinians to US merchandise will quench their hope for their own state, freedom to work, travel etc. It's amazing the sorts of problems capitalism can solve!
posted by Jimbob at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2002


You know Steve, your first opinion was insightful and worth noting, but that list of tv shows... Do you watch american tv? Do you really think that we don't have similar propaganda on our tv's? Imagine how some of our tv shows must sound to them-- let them tune into Falwell for awhile...
posted by Raichle at 9:21 PM on October 27, 2002


Raichle: Point taken...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:33 PM on October 27, 2002


every dollar spent on pepsi and shampoo is a dollar not spent on bombs and guns.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:15 PM on October 27, 2002


I'm not sure of the legitimacy of this graphic, but all this talk about Pepsi and militant Islam reminded me of this which was sent to me by a friend.

*WARNING: It does contain a teeny bit of graphic imagery of a harsh manner. It's not too frightening (in my opinion), but worthy of a warning.
posted by Rattmouth at 10:33 PM on October 27, 2002


Wow! Whoever made that ad in that link must've had the munchies for a California Cheeseburger!

(See, not all Simpsons references have to be "I, for one...")
posted by qDot at 11:32 PM on October 27, 2002


Note that the JPost and AJC op-eds are both by the same author. He also makes scant mention of the fact that the advertising decisions are likely made by subsidiaries or franchisees with varying degrees of autonomy, who may not be subject to US law. The attempt here is being made to embarrass the corporate parents; essentially the beginnings of a disinvestment campaign.

I wonder whether it's significant that he criticizes PepsiCo, and the Atlanta paper published the article. (Coca-Cola is headquartered in Atlanta.)
posted by dhartung at 12:22 AM on October 28, 2002


This issue poses an interesting dilemma, I'm sure, for some "antiwar" activists. On the one hand, they'd like to join in and denounce PepsiCo like all the others for doing this, but after all, those Hezbollah guys ain't that bad, they're "freedom fighters"! Tricky...
posted by dagny at 12:30 AM on October 28, 2002


Great observations, dhartung. Caveat lector, for sure.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:32 AM on October 28, 2002


US State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Hizballah is number 9 (apparently alphabetically). There are legal provisions against US companies and individuals doing business with these groups, but I know of several cases, some personally, where those laws are not enforced.
posted by joemaller at 1:45 AM on October 28, 2002


I find it typical that it's PepsiCo and not Coca Cola who is advertising with Hizbullah. PepsiCo has always been decidedly pro-Arab and more-conspicuously pro-Soviet (the latter thanks to the special concession gotten by them from the Soviet Union thanks to Armand Hammer). It might come as a little surprise then that nowadays both the Russians and even more so the Israelis prefer Coke (I cannot find the link now, but there was an article recently on the phenomenon of ideological preference in regards to soft drinks).
posted by bokononito at 2:09 AM on October 28, 2002


Gosh, up my way, a franchiser conforms to constraints by a parent company or loses his franchise. Hezbollah is on the American list of terror groups and in fact was responsible for a number of American deaths.
posted by Postroad at 3:39 AM on October 28, 2002


This issue poses an interesting dilemma, I'm sure, for some "antiwar" activists. On the one hand, they'd like to join in and denounce PepsiCo like all the others for doing this, but after all, those Hezbollah guys ain't that bad, they're "freedom fighters"!


Aren't you confusing "antiwar" with something else? Maybe the ravings of some extreme leftist? Pat Buchannan is notably antiwar, so much so that he started a magazine with Scott McConnell, who wrote for antiwar.com. Do you think he imagines the Hezebollah are freedom fighters?
The problem here is the old problem of reducing one's opponents' viewpoints into a simple, and therefore easily dimsissed argument. There are some lefty wackos who have such simple points of view, but the antiwar movement is just as much a conservative movement as it is a liberal one.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:04 AM on October 28, 2002


For many years the Arab League organized a pretty effective boycott of all products whose companies did business in Israel. Back in the 70s and 80s, when Arab oil money was viewed as a significant force in the world, many American companies refused to sell in Israel in order to get access to the Arab market. Coke was for the Israelis, and Pepsi was for the Arabs.
posted by fuzz at 4:17 AM on October 28, 2002


Cool find, fuzz. I grew up in Saudi Arabia was never really sure if the "Coke does business in Israel so we won't sell it here" thing was true or just an urban legendish deal.
posted by Cyrano at 6:41 AM on October 28, 2002


Do you watch american tv? Do you really think that we don't have similar propaganda on our tv's?

Last I checked, America does not have any shows celebrating people that blow up restauarants and buses in an attempt to kill as many innocent civilens as possible. I haven't seen Falwell's show, but unless he's celebrating and encouraging murder of civilians, I really don't think it's comparable.
posted by boltman at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2002


But you're missing that these advertisers are all pro-profit more than pro-American (or whatever you're pushing) - from wherever they can make it.

It seems that morals/ethics frequently take a back seat if there's money to be made.

I can't find any information about these companies in South Africa during apartheid years. Was P&G selling shampoo and toothpaste in SA? Were Pepsi and Coke available? What other American products could the white supremacists buy?
posted by Red58 at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2002


Do you watch american tv? Do you really think that we don't have similar propaganda on our tv's?

Somewhat true. But, as Boltman points out, there is certainly a difference in degree. Question: Is Hezbollah television the only channel available, one of a few channels, or just one of hundreds available there?

'Cause the 700 Club isn't the only thing on TV here, I can always switch to MTV and catch the latest Real World episode.

It seems that morals/ethics frequently take a back seat if there's money to be made.

It's not always so simple. Many countries have protectionist provisions that require local subsidiaries to be majority owned by citizens of that country. So to set up a sub there the US corporation ends up owning only 49% of the the entity and unable to prevent some activity that it would rather the sub not engage in for one reason or another.

I have first hand knowledge of such a situation in the Philippines where a large telecom could not stop a sub from doing business with Vietnam in the early 90's in possible violation of the Trading with the Enemies Act.
posted by probablysteve at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2002


boltman: you're missing my point. Propaganda seeks to capitalize on the outraged. They would be just as offended by watching an episode of the Real World as we are watching a show that promotes terrorism. It all depends on your values and standards. Furthermore, the irony that I saw in it is that it is a tv station that is provided by a terrorist network, therefore to expect to see anything else on it is just silly. You can't apply our standards to another culture's media-- Watch Bollywood sometime :).
posted by Raichle at 7:55 AM on October 28, 2002


They would be just as offended by watching an episode of the Real World as we are watching a show that promotes terrorism.

If they would -- as you claim -- be just as offended by watching an episode of the Real World as we are [by] watching a show that promotes terrorism, than they are lunatis and their "values" and "standards" are those of madmen.
posted by dagny at 8:07 AM on October 28, 2002


That's "lunatics".
posted by dagny at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2002


One word, dagny: Puck

I suppose I should be offended by this, but I just can't surpress a chuckle imagining the ad copy: "When a suicide bomber goes to paradise, Saddam Hussein knows the martyr's family is gonna need cash in a hurry. That's why Saddam uses Western Union. Western Union: It's the fastest way to send money."
posted by boaz at 9:05 AM on October 28, 2002


I wonder whether it's significant that he criticizes PepsiCo, and the Atlanta paper published the article. (Coca-Cola is headquartered in Atlanta.)

Very significant I'd think. Like many papers, the AJC has extensive coverage on hometown industries. I'd be interested to hear any Atlanta-area MeFites opinion on the AJC's coverage of Coca-Cola.
posted by pitchblende at 9:54 AM on October 28, 2002


I don't care.

Seriously, I don't. This is just the order of the day for huge, multi-national corporations. They often won't play politics if it means less consumers. Lots of countries hate each other, but that hasn't stopped the same corporation from adverting/selling in each of those countries.

This too shall pass.
posted by Down10 at 1:12 PM on October 28, 2002


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