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November 7, 2007
Column #1,367
AFA's Impact on the Media
by Mike McManus

At a recent Maryland Coalition Against Pornography meeting a woman asked a penetrating question, after hearing speakers describe the problem. "I am just one person.  What can I do about all of this?"

Rev. Don Wildmon is an ordained United Methodist pastor who left the pastorate 30 years ago to create the American Family Association to provide a practical answer.  AFA has done a better job mobilizing individual Christians than any other group.

An early major battle was against 7-11 stores for selling pornography. AFA encouraged people to write 7-11 about how offensive they found Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler and pledge  to avoid the stores until the publications were removed. Tens of thousands did so, and 7-11 yanked the magazines off the shelves, resulting in a 43% plunge in their sales in one day.

The magazines are still in business, but their reach and harm was slashed nearly in half by concerned citizens who read about the 7-11 boycott in the AFA Magazine.

Today AFA works primarily through its website, afa.net.  Some 2.8 million citizens are on-line supporters in a wide variety of campaigns. That's a lot of people. If only a small fraction complain to advertisers about an offensive TV show, they can persuade many to drop their ads.

For example, you can join OneMillion Dads.com or OneMillionMoms.com which motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth. They receive one e-mail a week on how to halt the exploitation of children by the entertainment media. The "e-activist" clicks on a link to view a drafted letter to an advertiser or a network. They can send it, edit it or write a fresh one to relevant decision-makers.

Results? Geico ordered the Fox network to drop its ads on the "Dirt" show. T-Mobile even decided to drop ALL ads on the Fox. NBC dropped "the Book of Daniel," an expensive show mocking Christianity.  Lowe's, Sears and Walgreens agreed to replace "Season's Greetings" with "Merry Christmas."

However, some advertisers hang tough. Ford Motors consciously markets to gay and lesbian households.  Its Fords and Volvos were advertised in "The Advocate," the largest gay magazine, in a special issue on "Polygamy and Gay Men" featuring multiple partner "marriages," one with three men and a woman. Ford donated $250,000 toward the building of a new Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Ferndale, Michigan.

In response AFA launched a boycott of Ford products in 2006. Thus far, 761,000 have signed a Boycott Ford Pledge and doubtless many more of 2.8 million AFA activists are buying other cars.  In 18 of the last 20 months, Ford Inc. sales have dropped 9.5 percent in October, for example, from one year ago. Ford cars plunged an astonishing 32 percent.

By contrast, GM sales were up 3.4 percent and had risen for three straight months. Toyota gained 4.5 percent, outselling Ford to rank No. 2 in U.S. sales. Chrysler rose 7 percent.

Ford blames its decline on a "previously planned reduction in daily rental sales." However, it would never admit that a Christian boycott was working.

Ford is so impervious to AFA's criticism, that it has actually escalated its promotion of the gay agenda.  Ford sponsored a Jan.16, 2007 episode of "Dirt" on Fox showing one man move his hand down another man's shirt, rubbing his crotch. He undoes the man's belt, pants and zipper, and moves toward his penis. In a distance shot, he is seen giving oral sex. In August, Ford donated $25,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, America's largest homosexual activist organization, to defeat a Federal Marriage Amendment.

In an  "Advocate" interview for a four page profile, "Driving the Gay Market," Ford indicated it might escalate its gay-specific ads. Ford spokesman Jim Cain said, "We haven't ruled out the possibility of doing more targeted (gay) ads..."

More? Ford is already the largest sponsor of programs sponsoring homosexuality on prime time TV. (Toyota, AT&T and Proctor & Gamble are other big sponsors.)

One wonders why Ford can't do simple math. Four out of five Americans say they are Christian while only 3 percent are homosexual and 1 percent Lesbian.  Arby's, 3M, Dairy Queen and Dentyne quickly dropped their sponsorship of offensive programs after being targeted by AFA activists.

Don Wildmon modestly observes, "I don't know if we have had an impact.  The culture is a lot worse, a whole lot worse." 

Yet imagine how much worse things would be if it were not for the American Family Association.

 
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