By Sarah Lai Stirland at Wired
Welcome to the 2008 general election, YouTube style.
No sooner had the polls closed at the end of Super Tuesday, when a video popped up on YouTube attacking newly christened GOP front-runner John McCain where he’s most vulnerable: his support for the Iraq war.
The 83-second advertisement shows a consumer gamely struggling on the phone with a friendly but unhelpful service representative. It turns out to be the United States government on the line, which informs the befuddled citizen that she has no choice but to pay a hefty monthly recurring charge for the war.
“In the past couple of weeks, when it seemed like McCain may in fact be the nominee, we thought that the message should be that the deaths in Iraq may not be on the front page anymore, but the money is still coming out of your pocket,” says the spot’s creator, Robert Greenwald, a progressive activist and documentary filmmaker in Los Angeles. “I felt strongly that it was a story that wasn’t being told, and a story that couldn’t be argued against.”
Decisive moments in primaries have always triggered torrents of fresh money into campaign coffers, which eventually translate into television ads. But in this most wired of campaign seasons, a new type of Web 2.0-enhanced nonprofit advocacy group is streamlining the process like never before, producing and distributing slick, effective videos in internet time.
Thanks to converging developments in campaign finance law, the improving technology of digital cameras and the rise of online social networking, voters’ inboxes this election season will be filled at strategic moments with forwarded web addresses for issue-oriented ads like Less Jobs, More War from Greenwald’s Brave New Films.
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald and his company Brave New Films on Monday launched a website featuring a series of videos that detail the hardships of Southern California grocery store workers. The launch of Supermarketswindle.com comes just as grocery worker union members in the region are considering a strike after cuts in pay and benefits.
“There is a David-versus-Goliath battle going on right now between the hard-working grocery store employees and the supermarket CEOs Jeffrey Noddle, David Dillon and Stephen Burd, who each make over $7 million a year,” Greenwald said in a Monday statement. “This is a story that needs to be told now.”
Interviews with three workers from Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons are the first in a series of worker testimonials Greenwald will post on the site. His efforts are part of a partnership with the Los Angeles Alliance, a pro-worker nonprofit group.