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3/5/2006 5:08:40 AM

Updated 02/24/06

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CNN’s ‘In the Money’ Team Loves Jabs at Wal-Mart
JibJab animated attack on retailer finds a welcome audience on cable news.

By Dan Gainor
The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow
Free Market Project
Oct. 21, 2005

     The way to the media’s heart is to take jabs at Wal-Mart – JibJabs, that is., the maker of several popular political videos, unleashed an assault on the nation’s biggest retailer that one CNN journalist called “priceless” and another called “hilarious.”

     CNN was especially friendly to the team of Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, dwelling on the video in two separate programs. CNN’s Managing Editor Alan Wastler even called the video company “our friends at JibJab” during the October 22 “In the Money” show. Not to be outdone, anchor Jack Cafferty said, “I love those guys.”

CNN Oct. 24, 2005
Audio | Video

     That was how CNN led into a clip of the anti-Wal-Mart attack that features a potbellied shopper filling first a cart and then a house with mountains of retail “crap.” CNN pointed viewers to the video by naming JibJab one of its recommended “Funsites.”

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     But the video isn’t about fun – a fact obvious to anyone who watched the audience reaction when it debuted October 13 on the “Jay Leno Show.” The video showed to an audience that rarely made any noise at all during the more than two-minute diatribe against Big Box-Mart, the video’s made up name for Wal-Mart.

     Wastler even went further in his assessment of the video, claiming, “It shows the economic cycle of eventually you put yourself out of work and end up working at Big Box-Mart.” Even the CNN team didn’t try to pretend that video meant any store other than “Wal-Mart.”

     The October 17 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” also welcomed “the online satirists” with open arms. Dobbs referred to the video as a “devastating, hilarious look at the state of our nation’s economy.” He then argued “it shows how major retailers are helping out the middle class.” The broadcast was then turned over his program to JibJab, broadcasting the entire video.

     Dobbs followed up by interviewing the “geniuses” behind the video that “made us laugh.” Dobbs continued his attack on Wal-Mart and “this business practice that we consider extraordinarily wrongheaded.”

     Dobbs continued by calling it a “devastating piece of satire.” He did briefly address Wal-Mart’s position, because the firm had pointed out that the JibJab video was wildly one-sided. He gave Wal-Mart a back-handed compliment saying that Wal-Mart’s request for a sequel that “lampoons Wal-Mart’s critics” was “about as a humane expression as I’ve heard from Wal-Mart in some time.”

     The October 14 “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Fox News hammered home the lack of balance in a stronger way. Fox’s Stuart Varney asked the JibJab duo directly, “So, are you going to come up with a sequel that lampoons Wal-Mart’s critics, guys?” After laughing, hemming and hawing, Gregg Spiridellis vowed that “we will definitely take it into consideration,” which likely was a nice way of saying “no.” Varney also dared to ask the JibJabbers whether they were “very much left of center,” although they denied it.


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