Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bloody Hands Of Brian Williams

Does Brian Williams have a conscience? Yet again, Brian and the Nightly News producers have allowed GlaxoSmithKline to sponsor a "Making A Difference" segment about rescued animals. Monday's segment (June 22) was about surfers who rescued abandoned dogs, taught them to surf, and then displayed their dogs' surfing skills in exhibitions for charity. The segment was sponsored by Breathe Right Strips--a Glaxo product. Doesn't Brian (and the Nightly News producers) get it? Glaxo is one of the world's largest utilizers of animal testing. They test virtually all their products on animals. The Glaxo labs are filled with animals--including dogs--with electrodes in their heads. Their labs are filled with animals who have been blinded just so that we can enjoy a new kind of contact lens solution. Their labs are filled with animals whose skin is bloody and raw so that we can have a new cream that will make wrinkles disappear. Of course, those animals are the lucky ones. They're still alive. Allowing Glaxo to sponsor segments about rescued animals is like some sort of sick joke.

Incredibly, this is the fifth time in the past seven months that Glaxo has been permitted to sponsor a MAD segment about rescued or trained animals. A May 13 MAD segment highlighted Lori Stevens and her organization Patriot Paws, which trains dogs to assist disabled veterans. An April 27 MAD segment was about Deborah Wilson's Arizona ranch for animals who can no longer be cared for by their owners. Last Jan. 2, Nightly News aired a MAD segment about Jon Wehrenberg's "Pilots 'N Paws" organization, which flies dogs from crowded animal shelters to other less crowded shelters where they can more easily be adopted. And last Nov. 21, a MAD segment told us about Lorita Lindemann, who rescues former race horses and keeps them from being euthanized and turned into dog food. All of these MAD segments were sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline products.

Over the years, Glaxo has killed far more animals than the people in these MAD segments have rescued or trained, so it is unconscionable that Brian Williams and the Nightly news producers continue to allow Glaxo to sponsor these segments. Brian Williams claims to love animals. He has introduced many a segment by saying, "For those of us who love dogs..." Unfortunately, Brian's claim to be an animal lover is just part of his carefully crafted on-air persona. Brian knows that Glaxo tests their products on animals. He knows that there are thousands and thousands of dogs who have endured permanent physical and psychological damage as a result of Glaxo's testing. And many more who died. But he chooses to ignore this. If Brian really loved animals, he would use his authority as the Nightly News Managing Editor to insist that Glaxo (or any other company that tests products on animals) be prohibited from sponsoring Nightly News segments. At the very least, they should be banned from sponsoring segments about animals. But he hasn't done this. Because for Brian, the Glaxo sponsorship money is far more important than any moral issues associated with the way they treat animals. Shame on Brian Williams. The blood of the Glaxo test animals is on his hands. I wonder how he sleeps at night. And when he counts sheep, do they have electrodes attached to their heads?

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