Thursday, February 01, 2007


I'm sure you heard about the big scare in Boston yesterday. I can't quite picture this yet, but somebody left these boards with lights on them, it looks like LEDs in the shape of a cartoon character, around the city, advertising a new TV show for teenagers.

Well, here's New York's Channel 7's version of it, which is like everybody else's:
(Boston - WABC, January 31, 2007) - Police say a man has been arrested in connection with more than 10 suspicious packages planted near bridges and other spots around Boston, which later turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon.

The security scare closed highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River as bomb squads were sent out to discover that the devices were harmless. NYPD officials tell Eyewitness News that between 15-18 devices were also planted here in New York City.

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, later said the devices, which depict a character holding up the finger, were part of publicity for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."

Nonetheless, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said 29-year-old Peter Berdovsky was arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device, and one charge of disorderly conduct. Man arrested in Boston publicity stunt

Look back at that line: ...between 15-18 devices were also planted here in New York City. Farther down in this story you will also read:
"The "packages" in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

I saw this on all the news channels last night. Anderson Cooper's brow was appropriately furrowed, and all the newscasters looked appropriately concerned about this "event." Everybody approached it the same way, as if it were a catastrophe narrowly averted. How could Turner Broadcasting do this, they asked. How they have such a serious lapse of judgment?

I just have one little question. They left these things in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia -- why is it that only Boston went into a state of hyperventilating panic? It sounds like they essentially shut down the whole city to defuse these cartoon characters.

I am waiting to read some reports from those other cities. Were they simply unprepared for an emergency of this magnitude? Did their systems fail? Did they interpret these potentially life-threatening devices as being something harmless?

People, what's happened to us?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turner Broadcasting System's CEO, Phil Kent, has apologized to Boston in full-page ads in the city's newspapers. The ads say, in part, "We never intended this outcome and certainly did not set out to perpetrate a hoax. What we did is inadvertently cause a great American city to deal with the unintended impact of this marketing campaign. For this, we are deeply sorry...Our focus today and in the days ahead is on demonstrating to you the sincerity of our desire to do what is right. What happened in Boston is a humbling reminder that reputation is something we earn every day. We are working to regain your respect."

I have pasted this quote from WTOP's website

I have one little question of my own. Did Turner Broadcasting think that signs giving commuters the finger was going to enhance their reputation? I know what I think of a corporation that uses obscene gestures in its advertizing and "respect" isn't the word for it.

February 02, 2007 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a rare convergence of thought, I second everything said by Jim and Tish.

What a ridculous episode.

What a cheapened culture.

February 02, 2007 9:35 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

I was on my way to Philly when I heard this. In Philly, the radio reporter said the devices had been up for a while(a while could mean a day or 2 weeks- in Philly we don't have a good sense of time) in some places. After the Boston incident,they demanded a list of the devices from Turner network. There were 56 around the city and they are charging Turner $1500 a day for each one until they are removed.

Giving us the finger is what the media often does- just not as literally. I never forgave Turner for colorizing movies.

February 04, 2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:23 PM  

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