Armstrong Cable, the nation’s 15th largest cable company, operates in six states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, for the first time in company history, it decided to offer all of its subscribers free access to a recently released movie. In the past, it has always charged subscribers to see such movies.
The film in question? “Obama’s America: 2016.”
“There is no agenda here,” Dave Wittmann, Armstrong’s vice-president of marketing, told the Pittsburgh CityPaper.
Maybe not. However, it’s interesting to note that last month, Jay Sedwick, Armstrong’s chairman, maxed out his donations to Mitt Romney’s campaign at $5,000, and gave another $25,000 to the Republican National Committee. The company also is listed as providing American Crossroads — the Karl Rove SuperPAC — $1.32 million in in-kind cable access last month.
The movie itself is such an obvious hackjob, designed largely to inflame those already nurturing resentment of Obama’s success, that I’m dubious it will have much impact. But it’s interesting as yet another example of the lengths that some in the 1 percent are willing to go in this campaign.
There are multiple examples of companies pressuring their employees to vote for Romney, warning them they might lose their jobs if Obama is re-elected. Earlier I highlighted the example of David Siegel, owner of Westgate Resorts, who sent such a letter to his workforce. Atlanta-based Georgia Pacific, owned by the Koch brothers, sent a similar letter to its 45,000 employees, warning that “many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences” if the wrong man is elected president. Just to make clear who that wrong man might be, the packet included columns written by the Koch brothers endorsing Romney and condemning Obama.
None of this is illegal, at least not in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. But it does provide interesting insight — especially in light of Mitt Romney’s infamous little speech about the despised 47 percent — into the largely unexplored undercurrents of this campaign.
– Jay Bookman