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November 21, 2004

The next Murdoch?

If you've been to a movie lately, you may have been treated to uplifting sepia-toned vignettes urging you to be helpful and inclusive towards your fellow human beings. These ads are brought to you by a shadowy group identifying itself only as "The Foundation for A Better Life." It turns out that the FFBL is a propaganda initiative spearheaded by reclusive media mogul and paragon of virtue, Philip F. Anschutz Anschutz is an up-and-coming conservative media baron with a passion for public moralizing. Needless to say he's politically well-connected and unswervingly rapacious in his drive for media consolidation.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this guy.

Today The Washington Post takes a closer look at Anschutz and his values:

A Low Profile and a Large Footprint
By Annys Shin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 21, 2004;
Page A01

[...] In 1998, when the Denver businessman couldn't resolve a dispute with a hog farm next door to his ranch, he funded an initiative to change state law, setting the toughest hog-farming restrictions in the country, and pushed his neighbor out of business. [...]

A low profile hasn't protected him from controversy. He has taken the heat for funding organizations that oppose legalized abortion and legal protections for gays and lesbians. And he was non-executive chairman of Qwest Communications International Inc., the Denver telecommunications company involved in an accounting scandal. [...]

Anschutz has supported socially conservative causes. In 1987, Anschutz's family foundation gave Focus on the Family founder James Dobson an award for his "contributions to the American Family." According to its Web site, the Denver-based group works to "counter the media-saturating message that homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable" and one of its policy experts called legalized abortion an example of when "Satan temporarily succeeds in destroying God's creation."

In 1992, Anschutz contributed $10,000 to a group called Colorado Family Values, to support an amendment to the state constitution that invalidated state and local laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Anschutz's money helped pay for an ad campaign that said such anti-bias laws gave gays and lesbians "special rights." The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the amendment as discriminatory.

Anschutz is an active Republican donor. Since 1996, he, his companies and members of his family have given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to GOP candidates and committees. [...]


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The radio ads tripped my ever-more-sensitive-but-about -worn-out bullshit detector. I didn't think any lefty group
had the casual cash to spend for such amorphous claptrap.

Interesting site. Al B. Bok

They have billboard ads all over Logan, too. Picture of Kermit the Frog. Caption: "Eats flies. Dates a pig. Hollywood star." And when you go to their website they say they don't accept donations. It all suggests that there's a sinister Phase 2 of their plan waiting to be put into action.

They have billboard ads all over Logan, too. Picture of Kermit the Frog. Caption: "Eats flies. Dates a pig. Hollywood star."

WTF? Seriously, does Brian Henson know what they're up to? Permission to use Kermit's image on a big honkin' billboard doesn't come cheap.

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