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Cartoon Network CEO Resigns Over Aqua Teen Scare

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-doubt-he's-laughing dept.

Businesses 710

DesertBlade writes "Jim Samples, CEO of Cartoon Network, has resigned over the bomb scare prompted by the Aqua Teen marketing campaign. Turner (CN's parent company) ended up paying over 2 million in restitution to the city of Boston, and a man with a thirteen year record at the company has lost his job. Though many people have been citing this as 'the ultimate successful advertising campaign', there have obviously been real consequences from the incident." By virtue of the consequences of the campaign, was this now officially a bad idea? Or is your opinion that this is all far too much knee-jerking? Have your say in the comments.

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Buck Stops At The Top (1, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958010)

It's highly likely that if this had happened on September 10, 2001, there wouldn't have been this kind of uproar. But in a post-9/11 U.S.A., the authorities have to assume things like this could be terrorist in nature and respond as if they were. Just because it's cartoony doesn't mean it should be taken less seriously. If we took that attitude, next thing you know, you'd be getting shredded by a Hello Kitty full of C4 and nails.

I think it's cool that he is taking responsibility instead of cleaning house. He can afford to go without a salary for a good while, and the rest of his accomplishments as CEO will probably earn him a nice position once the smoke clears. The marketing guys who would have been sacrificed if he cleaned house instead, are probably just living to the edge of their means on 5-figure salaries. And if his replacement cleans house, at least he's earned them some time to prepare for the axe.

- Greg

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Interesting)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958032)

Sorry, but your post mentioned the buck at the top of the list and September 11th, and I can't help but draw any subtle lines between the head of the corp and the head of the state...

Anyways, I'm glad he took the fall for it, as he most likely has savings as opposed to the young guys who actually put up signs. Another sacrifice is made to the new State of paranoia.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Insightful)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958130)

To me, the fact that he took the fall for it is an ironic sign of good leadership. Not many at the top would allow themselves to be taken out over an incident like this. It probably means that he is a good leader, and understands responsiblity, and stepped up to take the heat.

The irony is that this is just the sort of person you actually want at the top, and now he is gone.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Insightful)

c_wraith (226724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958058)

It's highly likely that if this had happened on September 10, 2001, there wouldn't have been this kind of uproar. But in a post-9/11 U.S.A., the authorities have to assume things like this could be terrorist in nature and respond as if they were
No, they don't.

Just because it's cartoony doesn't mean it should be taken less seriously. If we took that attitude, next thing you know, you'd be getting shredded by a Hello Kitty full of C4 and nails.
I'd rather take that chance than be forced to watch continual idiocy perpetrated by those who claim to be protecting us.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (1, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958238)

The biggest idiocy perpetrated in this incident was by the people who didn't think far enough ahead to anticipate that this was going to happen, and to take any steps at all to prevent it. Maybe the squares in Boston's emergency response agencies over-reacted, and without doubt the so-called "news" media over-reacted... but you'd have to have kept your sphincter around your neck for the past 5.5 years to not realize that this was probably going to happen. Glad to know that someone at CN is willing to admit that they are responsible for the easily-anticipated consequences of their actions. Apparently he understands that "adult" doesn't just mean naughty words; it also means owning up to your actions.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958528)

That's like saying:

The people that didn't forsee that the war in Iraq could possibly lead to civil war are responsible for not taking any steps at all to prevent it.

and that:

The president and his office should be willing to admit that they are responsible for the easily-anticipated consequences of their actions. But because they don't, apparently he does not understand that "adult" doesn't just mean naughty words; it also means owning up to your actions.

Just watch Fox and you'll see that those arguments are ridiculous. :)

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958074)

They don't -have- to assume anything. It's not like 9/11 was the kick-off party, and now all the terrorism is going to stream in.

We're spewing hippopotamus repellent and then claiming victory because there are no hippos. All 9/11 opened the door for was paranoia and jingoism.

Stop Spreading Terror! (5, Insightful)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958076)

I think it's cool that he is taking responsibility instead of cleaning house. He can afford to go without a salary for a good while, and the rest of his accomplishments as CEO will probably earn him a nice position once the smoke clears.
I couldn't agree more. However, I take serious issue witih the first part of your comment...

But in a post-9/11 U.S.A., the authorities have to assume things like this could be terrorist in nature and respond as if they were.
This kind of attitude is exactly what is wrong with this country right now. Living in fear of LED signs is exactly what the terrorists want. They're called terrorists. They intend to terrorize us. If we can't walk down the street without freaking out when we see some blinking lights, they have achieved their objective. Should the police have investigated these devices? Well, somebody reported it. Somebody should have probably calmly investigated it before bringing the whole city to a halt. Anybody with any common sense can tell that the thing wasn't a bomb. This marketing campaign hit ten cities. Only Boston freaked out. Even NYC, which has much more reason to be afraid of terrorist attacks than Boston, didn't bat an eyelash. Just because we're in a "Post 9/11 World" doesn't mean that we have to freak out and assume that everything out of the ordinary is a terrorist plot. Keep your wits about you, think critically, and respond accordingly. People running around freaking out is only going to make us less safe.

Boston's Response (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958240)

If Boston doesn't freak out at least a little bit, what keeps other companies from launching the same types of campaigns at taxpayer expense?

The question asked is whether Turner / etc. got what they deserved -- which they did. The only other thing would be to slap some sense or respect into those two mental children who hung the signs and then made the absurd comments about hair. Hope the one kid is laughing as he is deported.

Yet we are still talking about "Boston's Response"...

Re:Boston's Response (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958272)

what the fuck are you talking about? If Boston doesn't freak out at least a little bit, what keeps other companies from launching the same types of campaigns at taxpayer expense? the freakout is what fucking caused the fucking taxpayer expense, numbnuts

slow down and think for a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958336)

It costs money and time regardless of the level of reaction.

Boston would have / should have billed Turner if they hadn't offered to pay for the money. In fact, it probably would have been a LOT MORE if it had went to court.

Re:Stop Spreading Terror! (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958276)

"This marketing campaign hit ten cities. Only Boston freaked out."

So if Boston leaders are of the same caliber of leader as Jim Samples: They should accept some responsibility, admit they over reacted, and absolve Mr.Samples of this "heat" which has given him reason to step down. The marketing campaign was not at fault, Boston was.

That settles it. (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958094)

Thanks a lot, Boston. America as we knew and loved it is gone. The terrorists have officially won thanks to you.

Re:That settles it. (4, Insightful)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958174)

Don't thank Boston, thank the retards who run it. I just live there.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (4, Insightful)

pcgamez (40751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958112)

You make the assumption that a full-scale response is needed in this kind of situation. Anyone with half a brain (which apparently does not include the Boston PD) would have immediately known that those objects were not bombs. The problem with it all is that if the government keeps responding in this manner, the common citizen will ignore warnings when the real thing happens.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958376)

Agree, for the last few years, there seem to have been daily 'Emergency Broadcast System' tests. I used to listen to them, since they were rare, but now I basically ignore them.

The Government crying wolf too often will eventually lead to public apathy and annoyance.

It happened because it's Boston (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958140)

It's because it's Boston, and that's the only reason why this happened. Don't forget, what part did Boston play in 9/11? Boston's the city whose security was so fucked up, they let the terrorists onto the planes. Boston is the city that caused 9/11. Not surprisingly, after being the primary cause of the worst terrorist attack on United States soil, Boston is a little jumpy about terrorism.

But other than causing 9/11, what else is Boston known for?

Well, there's always wasting billions of federal tax dollars to bury a highway to improve the city skyline [wikipedia.org] , which lead to
crushing a woman [wikipedia.org] when three-ton ceiling tiles that had been glued to the ceiling fell.

Apparently Boston wasted billions of federal dollars, only to glue three-ton concrete ceiling tiles to their tunnel.

If you want to look at government waste and horrible mismanagement, look no further than Boston. The only reason this happened is because Boston is run by incompetent idiots. The part 9/11 had with this is that 9/11 is Boston's most well known failure, one that they're not eager to repeat.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (1)

pizpot (622748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958170)

... don't worry about him. He will get to choose his package!

No (5, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958176)

If real attacks come, they'll be like Madrid. You won't know it until it happens, it'll be in a crowded place, during rushhour, and there won't be any ambiguity or warning. Boom, and it's done, and lots of people will be dead. And there's little chance of stopping it. That's life, and it fucking sucks, but here's what I can tell you for sure:

They won't be leaving fucking light-brites at the side of the road.

Some things just aren't plausible.

Re:No (0, Flamebait)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958302)

They won't be leaving fucking light-brites at the side of the road.

If they thought we'd ignore them, why wouldn't they? It's easy to Monday morning quarterback and criticize the actions of others when you've never been in that position or had that responsibility.

If you knew that if you screwed up, people could die, would you be as as cavalier about an incident like this?

And while some of you say you'd rather die than have to put up with this paranoia, I say fuck you, you narcissistic pricks. I've got a kid. And if a little overreaction means the difference between drawing flowers with him and placing flowers on his grave, then I'm all for a little overreaction.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958448)

You ain't gonna be drawing flowers with him. No, he's gonna be drawing portraits of Our Great Leader while turning you in to the Thought Police.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958458)

You request to tyranny that it furnish you with it's version of security is being granted as we speak. Your son may grow up safe from terrorists, although those who you plead with for his life could hardly care less, and can do little to protect it. The security you seek is a figment of your imagination. The protection you seek is from an enemy that is hardly a threat. It remains to be asked however, where will you plead to when your son is threatened by the very tyranny you invite?

It would be a grave error in judgement to confuse those of us who fear extremists in our governments more than we fear extremists a thousand miles away as merely narcissistic.

Re:No (1)

rossifer (581396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958500)

If you knew that if you screwed up, people could die, would you be as as cavalier about an incident like this?
Let me be sure I understand: you're asking if I would treat lite-brites mounted in visible locations more seriously if I was "the decider"?

Your answer: No.

I would treat them like small signs and take them down if the necessary authorizations had not been filed properly.

I've got a kid. And if a little overreaction means the difference between drawing flowers with him and placing flowers on his grave, then I'm all for a little overreaction.
Oh noes! Think of the children!

For chrissakes, you're arguing like Bush's press secretary here. Stop talking out of your ass and join the conversation.

Here's the big hint: risk is not limited to 0% and 100% probabilities and the outcomes are not limited to "your child is in a pastoral paradise" and "he's dead, Jim". Life has risk. People who don't understand this are doomed to believe the lies of others (because they're unable to apply critical thinking to statements).

Be smarter than those people.

Right now, our response to terrorism is worse than terrorism. This needs to change.

Ross

Re:No (2, Informative)

gripen40k (957933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958506)

If you knew that if you screwed up, people could die, would you be as as cavalier about an incident like this?
But have you seen these things? They didn't have to be cavalier about anything, all they had to do was use some logic to discern that there is no way that these things could contain a bomb. They were literally a black board with some lights and a battery, and unless the batteries were made by Sony there is no way it could have been used as a bomb!

Sure overreaction is fine in certain situations and to a certain extent, but the GP is right, the Boston officials were just being plain stupid...

Re:No (5, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958510)

I've got a kid. And if a little overreaction means the difference between drawing flowers with him and placing flowers on his grave, then I'm all for a little overreaction.

Having a child is the best reason to be cavalier about this. The world is full of risks, and this particular risk (terrorist litebrite bombs) is well on the "might as well worry about being hit by a meteorite" end of the risk spectrum. Yet, tour child is watching your reactions and noting your opinions in order to develop his or her own sense of reasonable.

Furthermore, your child will eventually be living under the heel of the authorities -- the same authorities who are subconsciously but quickly realizing how much control they can take due to incidents like this... and how much fun it is to control others.

So take care when you are tempted to demand a padded world for your child. That kind of safety, at that price, is not a blessing, will not make them usefully safer, and will not cause them to develop fortitude and strength of character.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958196)

On the plus side, terrorists now have an easy way to shut down a city, just for the price of a few batteries and wires.

Praise Allah, the batteries were not even connected and the infidels shrieked as if they were set afire with fuel.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (5, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958292)

If we took that attitude, next thing you know, you'd be getting shredded by a Hello Kitty full of C4 and nails.

I was never suspicious of a Hello Kitty doll, but now that I've chosen to be suspicious of it, I'm doing my part! In fact, cars explode on the streets of Iraq every day, so now I call 911 everytime I see a parked car. Yet, for some reason, I'm being blamed with clogging the system full of rhetoric and empty false alarms. I just don't get it. Cars explode way more often than Hello Kitty dolls, but my vigilent attitude is not being appreciated!

I love Americans, truely, but this is one particular case wher I am absolutely thrilled that I live in a country in which you can't score political points for making a mountain out of a mole hill. Its getting to the point where you can make yourself look good by selling creative, tangential, and obtuse terrorist threats rather than workmanlike every day global occurances that kill and maim dozens to hundreds of people at a time.

You really have to give the 9/11 atrocity commiters some credit. Crash a few planes, and inspire scenarios of exploding C4-laden Hello Kitty dolls. I mean what the fuck, even domestic bombers know that letters, pipes, and cars is really all you need to be successful. If you want to kill lots of people, creativity is the domain of comic books, not reality.

If anyone deserves a CEO Golden Parachute... (1)

Absent Observer (1062242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958294)

While it's a shame that inept CEO's get millions in severance packages, if there were one guy who deserves one, it's him. Let's hope he gets a bundle in cash, so he can chill for a few month before picking up the next gig.

Re:Buck Stops At The Top (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958316)

But in a post-9/11 U.S.A., the authorities have to assume things like this could be terrorist in nature and respond as if they were.

Security isn't free. Just look at this case - it cost at least $2M, and it did absolutely nothing to increase anyone's security. Do you really think that it is wise to spending our limited resources on ridiculously easy to verify non-threats? Does wasting money like that really increase security or just increase the control of the state?

Aqua Teen Hunger Force sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958014)

It's the least funny show on Adult Swim, hands down.

Re:Aqua Teen Hunger Force sucks (3, Funny)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958106)

As the t-shirt says...

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb

Re:Aqua Teen Hunger Force sucks (0, Flamebait)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958224)

Thank you for your insightful and totally on-topic reply Anonymous Coward! For you, I TURN MY CAPS LOCK KEY ON.

Overreaction of course (4, Insightful)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958034)

Clearly it was an overreaction and someone in Boston should have resigned/been fired instead. See here http://www.dailynews.com/ci_5180780 [dailynews.com] (via http://www.schneier.com/ [schneier.com] ) for a way to dispose of bombs in a way without shutting down a major metropolitan area.

Re:Overreaction of course (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958092)

I say they only slightly overreacted. It was a report of a possible bomb in a very public location. Several very public locations. There was no record of what the devices were, and they should not have been there. Their cartoony look could have been an attempt to get someone to play with them to guarantee a kill. They reacted decisively to neutralize any possible threat.

Your linked example talks about a few pipe bombs in an aquaduct that had been drained so that they could look for submerged items. There will be no people there. They reacted correctly in that situation as well.

If you treat cartoony objects as toys and dismiss bomb reports about them, you are guaranteeing that someone will use that disguise for real bombs. You can't simply shrug it off.

Do I think the CEO should have resigned? No. It was stupid and careless, but nobody was hurt (except that $2mil loss) and there was a ton of publicity.

Re:Overreaction of course (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958298)

I say they only slightly overreacted. It was a report of a possible bomb in a very public location. Several very public locations. There was no record of what the devices were, and they should not have been there. Their cartoony look could have been an attempt to get someone to play with them to guarantee a kill. They reacted decisively to neutralize any possible threat.

What people seem to be missing is that the displays were put up in several cities, and only Boston freaked out like this. If the NYPD, who collectively have a lot more experience in actual terrorist threats, didn't freak out, then maybe the Boston PD did something wrong?

Re:Overreaction of course (0)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958416)

Another part of this that bothers me is the claim that it cost Boston $500K to $750K to respond that day. How the hell did they spend that much money in a single day? Or was it operational costs they'd have incurred anyway, plus gas money to drive the emergency vehicles? If it costs $750,000 to pick up 38 packages in Boston, I need to go into the courier business there.

Or perhaps he's using this as a convenient cover.. (1)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958052)

Maybe the guy was on his way out anyway (unwillingly or willingly) and this provides the perfect cover/excuse to do so. Assuming he was an otherwise successful CEO, it seems strange to have to resign over something like this. Or perhaps the insanity that's infected Boston has now seeped in Cartoon Network.

Re:Or perhaps he's using this as a convenient cove (1)

meme lies (1050572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958220)

Maybe the guy was on his way out anyway (unwillingly or willingly) and this provides the perfect cover/excuse to do so. Assuming he was an otherwise successful CEO, it seems strange to have to resign over something like this. Or perhaps the insanity that's infected Boston has now seeped in Cartoon Network.

He's the CEO of Cartoon Network, but Cartoon Network is a susidiary of Time Warner. He has bosses, too.

Most likely he was given an opportunity to resign with some grace instead of being fired; this would be (in a way) mutually beneficial as he can be the martyr who accepts all of the blame (which is actually a prized trait in a CEO and may help him find another position) and allows his superiors to remain pretty much invisible.

Of course the other option would be for all parties to resume business as usual, considering this already seems like yesterday's news and the incident will be quickly forgotten, but the corporate world doesn't work like that...

Re:Or perhaps he's using this as a convenient cove (1)

ThePlissken (824615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958428)

He personally signed off on the campaign, yes, but it wasn't his idea. I know who approved at the level below Samples. This was not designed to be a fun way out. This was just a campaign on the scale of anything else Adult Swim does which is crazy, off the wall and ballsy.

Very disappointing overreaction (4, Interesting)

vanyel (28049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958070)

Not only Boston overreacting, but now the network itself? Where are the people willing to stand up for sanity? It's truly a sad day...

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958116)

Yup far too much knee-jerking. Boston needs regime change. The people in charge there are obviously idiots and even worse they seem to lack a sense of humor.

I am still hopefully since there are other people in the world who can still smile and laugh, vs the living hell that those blackened souls running Boston must endure as what could be described more as existing rather than living... and that's it, we should live and laugh, not merely exist with fear and hate... It's an unfortunate result and hopefully humanity responds better next time...

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (2, Funny)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958162)

Yup far too much knee-jerking. Boston needs regime change. The people in charge there are obviously idiots and even worse they seem to lack a sense of humor.
They aren't called "Massholes" for nothing.

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (1)

anonicon (215837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958256)

Thank you for adding an extraordinarily appropriate word to my vocabulary. That one's a keeper, especially given the airhead response from the numbnuts in Boston.

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958300)

I saw a press conference where the mayor or someone in charge said "shame on you for saying we were overreacting."
Basically that douchebag head was saying that they were doing their job because of those suspicious packages.

I say douchebag in charge should resign instead because of lack of common sense. He'd probably shut down the city of a truckload of Panasonic Toughbooks jacknifed and scattered over the freeway because they look like bombs.

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958402)

It's not an overreaction by TNT. He left because of a $2Million hit the company took. Yeah, it's not his fault that MA authorities are asshats, but the $2M hits the bottom line.

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958430)

Where else can you get that much awareness for only $2 million?

Before this, I couldn't have told you whether "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" was a famine relief agency, an indie band, or a randomly generated passphrase.

Re:Very disappointing overreaction (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958512)

Yes, but they got at least $2M worth of advertising out of the publicity --- I'd certainly never heard of the show before all this. In fact, if I were the Cartoon Network, I'd parody the Boston nonsense in the show --- I'll bet ratings, at least for that episode would soar and that they'd see a few stick around too. It doesn't look that interesting to me, so I've not bothered to take a look at it, but if I heard they were doing such a parody, I'd make a point of having my Tivo watch for it.

Well that sounds like a personal problem. (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958078)

Jim Samples, CEO of Cartoon Network, has resigned over the bomb scare prompted by the Aqua Teen marketing campaign.

Resigning from your job is easy. Getting a 10-speed, filling it with illegal substances and sending it across the border is not.

America Is Officially Retarded (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958082)

That's right kids - we're one step away from failing to have the ability to sort by color and shape. How did it come to pass that Lite Brites shut down the city of Boston?

The government has been very successful in scaring the public into thinking that the terrorism threat is real. The fact is, more people have died from lightning strikes in the past fifty years than from terrorist acts on American soil. This is fueled by the new status of new media as entertainment rather than information, which creates a sea of idiotic speculation before any facts are actually discovered. Witness the media trial of the man accused of Jon Benet's murder, or any of the number of bomb scares that have turned out to be simple security breaches.

There's no simple solution, but I think we as a society need to admit first that we have a problem.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe (3, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958178)

(Meanwhile, in the parallel universe where these things actually were bombs)

COME ON! It's a huge pile of electronics with a display that's giving you the finger! What retard would possibly not know it's a bomb?

Parallel Universe Fallacy (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958452)

Yes, I forgot to say that my opinion on the situation was limited to the known universe. Thanks for catching that for me, though. In that parallel universe, your post might have had a point.

Re:*BOSTON* Is Officially Retarded (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958242)

I take issue with your comment title. America didn't do this. The Lite Brites were in ten cities. NONE of the other cities treated them as bombs. *ONLY* Boston did.

BOSTON is retarded. (Or is that retahded?)

Please don't blame anyone other than Massachusetts for doing this. The people in the state of Massachusetts are retarded. They're the ones who think blinking lights are bombs. They're the ones who are pressing *criminal* charges against Cartoon Network for a "bomb hoax".

Again: this campaign was in MANY other cities. Only Massachusetts was dumb enough to think that anything with blinking lights on it was a bomb.

Re:America Is Officially Retarded (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958312)

The government has been very successful in scaring the public into thinking that the terrorism threat is real. The fact is, more people have died from lightning strikes in the past fifty years than from terrorist acts on American soil. This is fueled by ...

I agree wholeheartedly, but Death by Terrorism isn't the problem. It's the societal (read "economic", as in shutting down the airlines, for example) effect of terrorism that's the real issue, and governments representing the people are obligated to Do Something About It. In that sense, it's not unlike property crime which is typically treated as more serious than it would seem to deserve.

Regrettably, that "something" typically has the added benefit of giving the government more influence and more control than it would normally have, and we all know those in power are want as much of it as they can get. That's human nature. It's also human nature to offer up power to those we consider our leaders. A tug of war, obviously, but in the end things balance out. The Communist scare outlived the McCarthy era, so I figure the current cycle and all the laws that have since been put into place will last for longer than we think.

Re:America Is Officially Retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958334)

How did it come to pass that Lite Brites shut down the city of Boston?


Good question. Here's how, in general:

Some confused person called in to report some there were some (annoying|new|sign ordinance violating|suspicious) lights attached to something. It's hard to say what this person's motives were. After the call was received someone who wasn't thinking clearly or had insufficient information called the bomb squad. At this point the hyteria could still have been contained, but word about the bomb squad must have got out and a high ranking politician or bureaucrat got ahold of the news and either decided this was the perfect chance to raise his/her profile, was severely deluded, or misinformed. Alerts were sent out. At this point the situation spiraled out of control: it would be impossible call everything off without someone too high up the ladder looking like a complete fool, so to save face the charade had to continue. Of course the politicians or bureaucrats look like fools anyway, so they become very indignant and try to push back against charges that the scare was ridiculous, try to make it sound more threatening, try to prosecute people, etc... If they didn't they'd be lambasted for shutting down Boston because they were too dense to recognize that Lite Brites aren't inherently highly threatening.

Does that answer your question?

Re:America Is Officially Retarded (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958422)

That's right kids - we're one step away from failing to have the ability to sort by color and shape.

Why should we be trusted to sort colors and shapes when we're being "protected" from dangers like listening to music while crossing streets [p2pnet.net]

.

Yes, it was a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958096)

Not because it caused an irrational bomb scare, but because it was a commercialization of public space. How would you like it if everybody did that, for example by spraypainting the company logo all over the city? Guerrilla marketing is still marketing. If you're going to contaminate public space with your commercial message, pay for it like everybody else.

Booooo! (2, Interesting)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958108)

Cartoon Network stand up to the stupid city of Boston! They are at fault.

Re:Booooo! (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958388)

Cartoon Network stand up to the stupid city of Boston!

Since obviously Boston must be right at the top of every terrorists hit-list it is the duty of every citizen of Boston and every visitor to Boston to report to the authorities every single cardboard box, plastic bag, discarded supermarket trolly that they see left unattended anywhere in the city.

Everyone in Boston, DO THIS one simple thing and the terrorists will soon have lost!

Doin' a heck of a job, Bean Town (5, Funny)

bgspence (155914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958118)

At least the city of Boston found the weapons of mass deception.

Good ol' boy politics, nothing ever changes. (4, Insightful)

pcx (72024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958122)

The Boston media screwed up. The Boston Officials Screwed up. The two schmoes who put the signs up will pay for that as they're charged with everything from littering to having bad haircuts (real charge: making city officials look foolish). Big media tosses a bit of pocket change around to make sure things don't get any higher than the two dudes already arrested. And the exec at the cartoon network is fired because the cost of the advertising campaign exceeded the value of the show. So while the Boston Media and Officials try to convince themselves that two million dollars proves they were right, the rest of the country has pretty much concluded that Boston is one supremely messed up city.

Did I miss anything?

Re:Good ol' boy politics, nothing ever changes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958184)

To be fair, only one of the dudes really looked that high.

Re:Good ol' boy politics, nothing ever changes. (0, Offtopic)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958362)

And Boston Celtics [nba.com] screwed up this season. Look at their standings [nba.com] . Ick! [grin]

Re:Good ol' boy politics, nothing ever changes. (1)

Mitaphane (96828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958394)

The two schmoes who put the signs up will pay for that as they're charged with everything from littering to having bad haircuts (real charge: making city officials look foolish).


On the plus side they did get a chance to hold one of the funniest press conferences [youtube.com] ever. I guess if you're going to be burned at the stake might as well do it in style.

They should've given police a heads-up (0)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958128)

In this post-9/11 world, the advertising agency should've:

1) made sure they had permission from the landowners before they placed their ads
2) given the police a heads-up along with photos
3) given the major media a "this is not a story but people may call you about it" heads-up, since people tend to call papers when they see things like bombs

For bridges and other public property the city is probably the landowner.

Re:They should've given police a heads-up (2, Insightful)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958218)

"In this post-9/11 world, the advertising agency should've:

1) made sure they had permission from the landowners before they placed their ads
2) given the police a heads-up along with photos
3) given the major media a "this is not a story but people may call you about it" heads-up, since people tend to call papers when they see things like bombs"

In the post 911 world, terrorist groups would start off small, and make things like this commonplace, so no one would think about them. Pull your head out of your ***.

Plastic devices with flashing lights or timing devices? Tell me you DID not say that.

"Hey Mr. Mayor, we have this cool idea to advertise our crap electroniclally, strapped to
public property...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..." ONLY an idiot would
espouse such drivel.

Re:They should've given police a heads-up (5, Insightful)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958322)

In this post-9/11 world...

In a post-Hitler world, should we allow just any idiot with a radical idea to speak freely?

Re:They should've given police a heads-up (4, Insightful)

anonicon (215837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958374)

Uh, no.

This exact same public advertising campaign took place in nine other cities with enough brain cells to force a fart out of their asses, and not rampantly overreact to OMG!!!! PINK PONIES FLIPPIN' ME THE BOMB PACK BIRD!!1111 In fact, they had enough brains not to react at all.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_Teen_Hunger_Forc e#Boston_advertising_bomb_scare [wikipedia.org]

The Boston PD and its authorities are Proof #1 of Einstein's theory that "two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958454)

...what the hell are you talking about?

Read the friggn' question in the article...

The question here is whether Turner got what it deserved...

1. It broke the law by placing / defacing / etc. public property.

2. A two cent sticker on the back of the sign listing the ad company / turner's contact information could have prevented this.

3. It cost taxpayer money / city time to remove in ALL the cities.

To run around saying Turner/CN/etc. has no responsibility is, well, irresponsible..

Re:They should've given police a heads-up (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958470)

Notifying the landowners in this case seems to be mostly the same as notifying the local government, since the devices were placed (mostly) on public land. A few locations might have been more a matter of notifying the railroad that owned an overpass right of way, or notifying state Depts of Transportation rather than just a local government. Giving the police or appropriate security photos as well as the basic story also seems pretty much common sense.
        However, why would you notify the press?
        A. You're not covering yourself legally - as the people who find these and think they are a bomb have no rational excuse if they then notify the press instead of the authorities. In fact if anyone did something stupid and got hurt "Why did you tell the press instead of the police?" might be one of the questions your lawyers would want to ask.
        B. In this age of news hungry shows, desperate to fill any voids in their 24 hour always-on schedules, the chance of the whole campaign leaking is so high. This is not the press of the Morrow or even the Cronkheit era - typically they will give no guarentees they will sit on the story, and often the print media will flat out lie about employees with ties to national TV, and refuse to admit leaks came from their people and not fictious other parties. A few years ago, Fox news won a court decision that said, in effect "Fox apparently lied quite deliberately, but even proving that the protected sources they cite don't exist won't nulify their claim to be immune so long as they are protecting their sources." It's a masterpiece of legal double talk, and it puts the whole press morally on a par with snake oil salesmen. Until the rest of the industry repudiates that, why cooperate with any of them?

Public & Network's joined fault! (2, Interesting)

JAB Creations (999510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958134)

It's everyone's fault really. The media and government hype terrorism for certain political forces to establish a "comfort zone" in the middle east by trying to scare the crap out of Americans. Then the same people who own the media companies are trying anything to make money like any other big businesses and it's no secret that bad publicity is somehow good publicity because people are still talking about it versus not.

Most overblown story ever (4, Insightful)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958136)

Seriously folks, I understand that people are still all sorts of freaked out over a terrorist attack which happened in the US over 5 years ago, but it is time to chill out and not be so uptight about anything which may be suspicious.

These 38 lighted signs which were mistaken for bombs, never should have made the news. They did not look like bombs in any way shape or form, and had been in place for a considerable amount of time before people started going apeshit over them. People seem to fail to mention the "real" fake bombs which were planted in Boston on the same day (http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.b g?articleid=180349), and have been focusing entirely on a silly marketing stunt which didn't hurt anyone. Honestly people, do most terrorists even know where Boston is? It isn't exactly the biggest city in the US, nor does it have any huge symbols of American Imperialism such as the World Trade Center. It has a couple of nice universities, but do you thing the terrorists care at all about those?

Security will never come through "preparedness" against an enemy which doesn't care whether it lives or dies. If terrorists/crazy dictators/serial killers/thugs want to kill you badly enough, they probably will. The only way we will ever be secure is to make people not want to harm us

Re:Most overblown story ever (0, Troll)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958282)

Terrorists care about killing Americans and as a large city Boston has many Americans. Boston and other large cities in America are the target of terrorists and it's a mistake to think otherwise. The only way to make Islamic terrorists not want to harm us is for us all to covert to Islam. America is not willing to do that, so fighting for our freedom is the only alternative.

Re:Most overblown story ever (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958534)

I would mod this funny if I had mod points. I sincerely hope that you were joking. If you really believe what you just typed, you're a woefully misinformed, ignorant individual.

Re:Most overblown story ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958348)

Honestly people, do most terrorists even know where Boston is?

Evidently. When they needed to find an airport with the worst security in the nation, they were able to use good ol' Boston as the launching point for the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the United States.

Don't forget - Boston in where 9/11 started. Boston let the terrorists onto the planes. Boston dropped the ball and caused 9/11.

So, yes, the terrorists know about Boston - it's a great starting point for launching attacks on actual useful parts of the country.

As for attacking Boston itself: why destroy your launch-pad to attack the rest of the US?

Re:Most overblown story ever (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958456)

As for attacking Boston itself: why destroy your launch-pad to attack the rest of the US?

Fuck, why even bother attacking any more; do you honestly think that those that plan terrorist attacks are more interested in the body count than the scale of provokation and the ensuing international loss of credibility? Sure, the foot soldiers think the body count is important. Anyone who plans this kind of thing, those who do the logistics and provide the connections is just looking to make their enemy look silly, like the guy who goads a giant into a fight that is logically impossible to win. The 9/11 terrorists might as well have provoked America into the War on Sawdust. "Terrorism" is as old as history itself, and a great number of attacks that occurr these days have nothing to do with the US. If the US wants to win the "war on terror", they'd have to engage in so many conflicts, they'd have every citizen fighting abroad. What is unfortunate is that the attack was so incredibly front, center and brazen, it blinds people who even despite the attacks are reluctant to acknowledge the extent of violence on the planet today. It's like trying to win the war on snowballs by throwing snowballs.

Craven cowardice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958146)

The reaction of the City of Boston and Turner officials tells me that the terrorists have won. America has sunk very low since the days of the founding fathers. This nation was founded by people who would not put up with being jerked around like this. Compare the reaction of the idiots responsible for public safety in Boston with the heroism of the firefighters who gave up their lives on 9/11. It makes me sick to my stomach.

This is what is meant by the expression... (5, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958150)

..."the terrorists have won".

Let me see if I have this right... (2, Insightful)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958154)

Sony could put up a PSP campaign saying "white is right"...

But these guys are getting fined and losing jobs over something that was truly harmless?

pixely aliens (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958168)

is boston that starved for cash that they
need to get it from the cartoon network?
as far as adevertising goes those things
are cool. i could like ads that blink and
give me the finger.

If I were Jim Samples (3, Funny)

alanmeyer (174278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958234)

... then I would have just blamed the whole thing on Meatwad [wikipedia.org] . Shake [wikipedia.org] gets away with that kind of crap all the time.

Does this mean? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958270)

If he's resigning, a new CEO of Cartoon Network must be in the works. Admit it, everyone just wonders if Ranma ½ is going to show on Adult Swim? Really, the whole 'Run for your lives! That Lightbright's a killer!' thing is sad, but I'm wondering how a ghange of CEOs will affect the network itself. I hope whoever comes in next won't give the anime the kiddie down treatment. At any rate, after all this commotion the ATHF movie better not suck.

how many terrorist attacks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958306)

how many terrorists attacks have happend in america?

Does this mean? (0, Redundant)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958308)

If he's resigning, a new CEO of Cartoon Network must be in the works. Admit it, everyone just wonders if Ranma ½ is going to show on Adult Swim? Really, the whole 'Run for your lives! That Lightbright's a killer!' thing is sad, but I'm wondering how a change of CEOs will affect the network itself. I hope whoever comes in next won't give the anime the kiddie down treatment. At any rate, after all this commotion the ATHF movie better not suck.

Thanks for the hint, Zonk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958344)

I'm sure no one would have commented on this story without your prompting. Good work.

Terrorists Win! (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958352)

The purpose of terrorism is to change behavior.

It is successful.

If it wasn't for... (1)

dexomn (147950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958360)

the fact that the government and the media sensationalize war and talk about 'terrorism' as if they weren't committing it themselves... (so we're all scared, in the name of freedom, and the shit that this country stood for almost 200 years ago...) we wouldn't be in this mess.

I mean seriously; would people be freaking the fuck out if it was the Pillsbury dough boy? Or maybe Mario? Should I call the police and let them know that there's a sign on the highway threatening unknown danger if I'm going over 45 miles an hour?

If we can impeach a president over a few blowjobs and then another one can get on TV and say "Fuck you idiots I'm the king." and that's cool then I don't know what the fuck the point is.

Atlanta Reacted Better (4, Insightful)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958368)

Its quite obvious that the high-strung nut-jobs in Boston over-reacted. The EXACT SAME ads were in Atlanta for a week before they were installed in Boston and on the very first night in Boston people were crying that it was 9/11 times a million!!! They didn't even bother taking the ads in Atlanta down until a couple of days after everybody freaked out in Boston and still not a single person thought they were a bomb.

Light Bright Bombs (2, Funny)

mr-mafoo (891779) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958392)

What terrorist would leave a bomb decorated with a scaled-up 32x32 pixel motif lit up in bright blue LEDs?

Osama Bin LightBright

How ridiculous. (0)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958408)

No further comment beyond that.

There is such a thing as bad publicity (sort of) (3, Informative)

shma (863063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958414)

On top of this, Forbes [forbes.com] is reporting that this whole sorry episode didn't even help raise the number of people who watch the show. The good news is that the ratings haven't gone down either.

Cars look exactly like car bombs (1)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958436)

Whereas those things looked like a marketing gimmick.

Anyone who parks a car in Boston should be forced to resign from whatever job they have, and then have their genitalia pointed at by an unattractive woman whilst being water-boarded while a continuous loop of the Barney song plays in the background.

Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958446)

People in Boston are cowards to have such an over-reaction to some LEDs and batteries. Seriously this country is doomed if people are so willing to buy in to cowardice like that.

Distinct lack of common sense on both sides.. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958460)

On the side of the marketing team someone could have been smarter and discussed this with police and city hall before they let it loose. Unknown electronic devices without a label on the back stating "it's ours, call this number" was possibly not the brightest idea.

On the side of the police someone could actually have been clever by investigating a device instead of trying to hog news coverage in their eagerness to show how wonderfully they were "protecting the public". Now they look like fools.

In short, neither side has exactly covered itself with glory here.

Freeway with Overpass Sniper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17958484)

One day going up the freeway, there was a white car parked dead center on a busy overpass.

The 'alarm' went off in my perception - *great sniper spot*.

I slowed down, and sure enough it was a sniper
- A state police man in an unmarked car, with a radar gun out the window.

Lined up on the next on ramp was a collection of regular marked police cars, zooming up the ramp and ticketing speeders.
A 'harmless' speed trap.

But my first impression was not that of a law enforcement officer, but of a 'lone gunman' scenario - like the east coast sniper team from before.

I was really surprised no one called the police - on the police, for disrupting traffic during rush hour.

Oh, you've got to be kidding... (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958496)

I have to say it again:

"oONoEzbLINkylIGhtswe'ReaLLgONadIE!!1"

Limits to Marketing? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958508)

Should there be limits to Marketing? Damn straight there should be. Can we assume that given the punishment given to the company responsible is limit enough and that other marketers will take a lesson from this? Not so much. Can we assume that marketers are still willing to push their limits ever outward at any cost to themselves or the public? I think yes, but what you think. Been getting spammed lately? Got more than enough crap in your mailbox to throw away? People calling your phone at inconvenient times? Strangers knocking and hanging crap on your doors? People jacking with your car to put crap on it? Got a fax machine printing out a lot of crap you don't want? How about every imaginable effort to ensure that you record and watch the TV commericials that you'd just as soon skip? How about the broken promise of "commericial-free TV?" You decide.
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