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If you've watched AETN over the past few months, you've probably seen a promotional video for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and didn't even realize it. The video has soundbites from the Chamber's CEO, but it's not identified as a Chamber product until closing credits.
The five and a half minute filler is called "Spotlight On: Rebuilding America's Infrastructure," and was approved for airing on local affiliates by the Public Broadcasting System. It may seem to be about infrastructure, but the implied message relates more to the Chamber's opposition to Obama's clean air legislation, which would place costs on coal-burning power plants.
"Without increased investment in our air, land and water transportation systems, we will sit on runways and in traffic longer and longer," a narrator says. "Even with conservation and efficiency, more energy will be needed and yet, in the last few years over 375 energy projects including solar farms, wind mills, nuclear plants and transmission lines have been killed by people saying 'not in my backyard.' "
Tiffany Verkler, a spokesperson for AETN, said in an email the filler is offered to public television stations for free. "It was part of a PBS national feed, and fully approved by PBS. AETN records fillers made available by several different program services, including PBS, American Public Television (APT) and the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). Fillers may be related to any subject, these were just related to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
The video, which was recorded in late February, will soon fall out of rotation, Verkler says.
D.C. Morrison, whose 13 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate made him a spoiler in Bill Halter's effort to unseat incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, always left people scratching their heads about his party affiliation.
For one thing, he said all along he'd vote in the fall for whoever the Republican Party nominated. Then, last week, he emerged as leader of "Democrats for Griffin," a group supporting the Republican congressional candidacy of Tim Griffin.
Some Democrat. Tipped by a reader, our Arkansas Blog checked with the Pulaski County clerk's office. It has voting records dating back, to 1996.
2010, when his name was on the Democratic primary ballot, was the FIRST time Morrison had voted in a Democratic primary in 14 years. He had voted previously only in Republican or non-partisan judicial elections, if at all, during the primary season.