Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Right Wing Politics of Bumbershoot's Co-Producer (and new Showbox owners)

I know, you came here for rock info and I should shut up about this already... but, this kind of shit really bugs me and the more I dig into the Showbox's new owner, the scarier it gets.

The guy is one of the big funders of the Seattle think tank Discovery Institute, which in recent years has gotten a lot of headlines arguing against evolution and promoting the idea of intelligent design. He's also put a lot of money into supporting George Bush, the Republican party and anti-gay legislation. Essentially he's a big rich powerful bible thumper pushing and agenda through his media companies that's very in-line with the rightwing Christian agenda. I really have to question why One Reel went into business with AEG to co-produce Bumbershoot. I sat on the Bumbershoot advisory board for two years and met most of the One Reel staff and it's founder, they all seemed like liberal/progressive types of people. I have to wonder if the bottom line drove their decision (which seems odd, since Bumbershoot actually turned at $200,000 profit for the first time last year) and did they fail to do the research on who they were going into business with.

Mediatransparency.org has some great information on Phil Anschutz, one full article is here, but I wanted to share a few highlights:

"Between 1995 and 2000, according to OpenSecrets.org, the website of the Center for Responsive Politics, the Anschutz Corporation, and assorted members of the Anschutz family, donated nearly $700,000 to the Republican party and its candidates. Over the years, Anschutz-related entities have helped bankroll a number of ultraconservative political organizations, including:
  • Colorado for Family Values- The organization behind Amendment 2, Colorado's notorious anti-gay constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 1992 and later overturned by the US Supreme Court.
  • Institute for American Values- Campaigns for marriage and against single parenting;
  • Enough is Enough- President and Chair of its Board of Directors is Donna Rice Hughes (the major figure in the sex scandal that ended the 1987 campaign of Gary Hart, in the Democratic presidential primary). Enough is Enough claims that it is "Lighting the way to protect children and families from the dangers of illegal Internet pornography and sexual predators."
  • Morality in the Media-- Established in 1962 "to combat obscenity and uphold decency standards in the media."
Anschutz's name also came up last spring when the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy gave a report to House staff that called for legislation barring people under investigation for, or accused or convicted of, corporate crimes from serving on boards of private foundations."

And this is from Wikipedia:

Anschutz, a Republican donor and avid supporter of George W. Bush's administration, has been an active patron of a number of religious and conservative causes:
  • Helped fund Amendment 2, a ballot initiative designed to overturn a Colorado state law giving equal rights to homosexuals.
  • Helped fund the Discovery Institute, a think tank based in Seattle, Washington that promotes intelligent design and critiques some theories of evolution.
  • Supported the Media Research Council, a group responsible for nearly all indecency complaints to the FCC in 2003.
  • Financed and distributed Christian-themed films, such as Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for mass audiences through his two film production companies and ownership of much of the Regal, Edwards and United Artists theater chains. In addition, as a producer Anschutz reportedly required the removal of certain material related to drug use and womanizing in the 2004 film Ray because he found it objectionable.
  • Anschutz has also funded advertisements for television, billboards, and Regal Cinemas for his Foundation For a Better Life. The ads, while not explicitly religious, promotes positive concepts such as "faith" and "integrity", using characters such as Shrek and Kermit the Frog. The ads were produced by Bonneville Communications, a Salt Lake City agency which produces ads for the Mormon Church.

4 comments:

soundwave said...

Scary shit. I felt very uneasy when I read that The Showbox was sold this weekend. This is just another nail in the coffin for the Seattle music scene (I really hope I am wrong in regards to that statement).

Our Mayor's draconian club crackdown isn't helping things either.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for covering this, seriously! I hope the local press will also dig deeper into AEG like you have, it's really sad to see this happen in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

When I attended the University of Kansas in the eighties, one of the sports facilities was named for the Anschutz family. I remember hearing about their Christian Right agenda back then.

Ben Sinister

Mike K, Seattle said...

Don't feel bad about talking about this at all - this is great stuff to know. These are the types of people who are truly ruining America and they need to be exposed for who they are. Thanks for keeping up on this, and keep the great posts coming!