Many of you have written to ask how you can support the boycott of CBS, which broadcast the racist Outkast performance at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 9, 2004.
Documents elsewhere on this site explain why this broadcast was racist, and why the companies involved need to take responsibility for their commercialization of Native American culture. We reiterate this incident was not a fluke. It was a planned and premeditated performance, complete with rehearsals, costume construction, set construction, ‘incorporation’ (i.e. stealing) of a Navajo song, and pre-telecast publicity indicating Outkast would perform with a Native American theme. Scores of employees of CBS, NARAS (sponsors of the Grammy Awards telecast), and Arista Records were aware of the intended ‘sampling’ of Native American culture.
You can support the boycott of CBS in the following ways:
1. TURN OFF CBS during the month of February if you are a ‘Nielson home,’ i.e. one that contains metering devices to monitor your television viewing.
2. Ask any family that you know that is a ‘Nielson home’ to TURN OFF CBS and support the boycott.
3. Ask ten friends to TURN OFF CBS and to ask any ‘Nielson homes’ they know to do the same. Ask them to ask ten friends to do the same. Email is a great way to do this. Tell people about your concerns; spread the word!
4. Switch to other TV networks this month. There are lots of great programs on TV. Use this month to check them out. Repeats and reruns of CBS shows will be available later in the year in most situations. It is important to support the boycott now, in February, a sweeps month.
5. Go to the CBS feedback site and lodge a complaint if you have not done so already. Ask for Les Moonvies to make a meaningful apology.
This month is a ‘sweeps’ month that determines television ratings. CBS derives its income from Nielson ratings, which are used by the networks to determine how much they may earn from advertising rates. CEO Les Moonvies of CBS has failed to make an apology, explain how this racist broadcasting got on the air in the first place, or offer any meaningful response to the Native American community whose sacred symbols it commercialized. Therefore, the most important action you can take as a loyal supporter of the boycott is the commercialistic one: vote with your dollars. Hey this is capitalism, right?
Only 5,000 households nationwide and 13,000 people in those households determine national TV ratings (source: Nielson Media website). Even if we influence only 5% of those households or people to turn off CBS, it will have a noticeable impact on CBS and its bottom line. That equates to 250 households and 650 people. At the very least, the network competitors of CBS will benefit.
Remember too that the national broadcast networks operate on free PUBLIC AIRWAVES, and therefore have a higher level of responsibility to the public which owns those airwaves than the cable networks, where programming is paid for by subscribers. One can even argue that if CBS cannot responsibly manage its free public airwaves due to its string of recent blunders in 2003-04, it should be removed as a national network and another more responsible network should replace it.
Thanks for your support of the BOYCOTT!