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Warner Bros. Polling to See if its AT&T Connection and The Lincoln Project Will Hurt Its Brands

The Warner Bros. A-List Community is an interesting, and not every known, tool of Warner Bros. Through it, the company polls its members to get their opinions on everything from box art to their habits consuming media. Questions often are more along the line to see if the community is familiar with a brand, movie, or tv show. But, based on the latest poll, the media company is a bit worried about how its connection to AT&T might impact it.

Recent court documents recently revealed that AT&T was pretty vital in the creation of One America News, OAN. The company provides OAN tens of millions of dollars in revenue. AT&T was so vital that OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr. testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.

OAN is a rightwing news network that AT&T wanted to to compete with FOX News and since has helped, and continues, to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic. It became a favorite of former President Trump who’d wave his support when attacking Fox who he felts wasn’t supporting him enough.

90% of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms like DirectTV. Without it, Herring has testified that the network would be worth zero.

AT&T has pushed back a bit about this releasing a statement after initially declining to comment about OAN’s testimoney. The statement included:

AT&T has never had a financial interest in OAN’s success and does not ‘fund’ OAN,”. When AT&T acquired DIRECTV, we refused to carry OAN on that platform, and OAN sued DIRECTV as a result. Four years ago, DIRECTV reached a commercial carriage agreement with OAN, as it has with hundreds of other channels and as OAN has done with the other TV providers that it carries on its programming.

The decision of whether to renew the carriage agreement upon its expiration will be up to DIRECTV, which is now a separate company outside of AT&T.

According to court documents, AT&T and OAN had a relationship to the point that AT&T offered to acquire a 5% equity stake in OAN and AWE but a different deal was agreed upon. OAN also promised to cast a “positive light” on AT&T during newscasts.

So, how does Warner Bros. fit in?

AT&T is the parent company of Time Warner which then became WarnerMedia. That includes Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO, Adult Swim, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, DC Comics, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and a 50% stake in The CW. This year, AT&T announced that WarnerMedia would be spun off and merge with Discovery, Inc. for $43 billion.

How does AT&T’s relationship with OAN impact all of those brands?

That’s what the Warner Bros. poll wants to figure out. The poll, run through its community, starts easy enough asking the familiarity with certain brands. Then it shifts to how often individuals watch or interact with them.

Then, the whole things gets very political.

After a rather normal setup, the poll then asks the person’s political affiliation and how they see themselves on the political affiliation.

Why? Because Warner Bros. wants to see how The Lincoln Project is impacting its brands and who they’re influencing.

The Lincoln Project launched in late 2019 formed by former and current Republicans who were against the far-right lurch of the party and its takeover by Donald Trump and his supporters. The organization has supported “moderate” Republicans who have rejected Trumpism and Democrats, taking a stand against the move to the far-right.

The Lincoln Project has launched the “Hang Up on AT&T” initiative taking on the telecom’s support of OAN and the sedition and white nationalism that OAN has promoted. They’ve also gone after AT&T for supporting elected officials who have restricted voting rights.

Warner Bros., through their community, are asking if that is impacting how members interact with Warner Bros. brands. While The Lincoln Project has had issues of its own, the organization has been effective getting Toyota to stop donations to Republicans who have contested the 2020 Presidential election.

That’s a pretty interesting and rather out in the open fact finding mission by Warner Bros. which are often tasks taken on by polling companies and kept on the hush hush.

It’s clear The Lincoln Project and their campaign is on Warner Bros.’ mind and their weighing their options based on the impact of The Lincoln Project’s latest campaign.

Sofia Warren Follows a First-Year State Senator on Her Unforgettable Journey from Outsider to Insider in Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator

What’s it like to be on the inside of politics? Campaigns and the day-to-day business of governing is unlike anything else out there when it comes to work. Sofia Warren‘s graphic memoir, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator, peels back that curtain opening up a world few know but everyone is impacted by.

In early 2018, cartoonist Sofia Warren was not paying attention to New York state politics. But that summer, her Brooklyn neighborhood began buzzing about Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old democratic socialist running for state senate whose grassroots campaign was inspiring an army of volunteers. When they beat the odds and won, Warren found herself wondering what would happen next. How does it work when an outsider who runs on revolutionary change has to actually do the job? So she decided to find out.

A graphic memoir to be published by Top Shelf Productions in June 2022Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator is a remarkable first-hand account of Warren’s experience embedded with Julia Salazar and her staff during their first year in office. From candid conversations and eyewitness experiences, Warren builds a gripping and intimate portrait of a scrappy team of community organizers battling entrenched power structures, particularly to advance Julia’s marquee issue of housing rights.

At every key point during the year — setting up an office, navigating insider politics, public pushback, testy staff meetings, emotional speeches, protest marches, setbacks, and victories — Warren is up close and personal with Julia and her team, observing, questioning, and drawing, as they try to translate their ideals into concrete legislation. Along the way, Warren works toward answers to deeper questions: what makes a good leader? What does it mean to be a part of a community? Can democracy work? How can everyday people make change happen?

All these themes will be explored — with nuance, compassion, and humor — next June in Sofia Warren’s remarkable debut.

Review: What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel

What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel gives a visual spin to Dan Rather’s collection of essays. The graphic novel covers a wide variety of topics exploring the United States, what works, and what doesn’t.

Story: Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner
Art: Tim Foley

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle
Bookshop


First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Gotham Citizen to President Over Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial

A person who has spent some time in the fictional Gotham will be playing a major role in the second impeachment trial of former-President Donald Trump. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will preside over the impeachment trial.

With Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts declining to oversee the trial (Chief Justices preside over sitting Presidents), the duties fall to the Senate President Pro Tempore. That position has historically done that over impeachment trials for non-presidents.

Senator Leahy is a huge Batman fan and has appeared in some of the Batman movies and voiced characters. That was Senator Leahy standing up to Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight. The Senator has appeared in five Batman films (Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as well as voiced a character in Batman: The Animated Series. He’s also credited with being in My Wife is a Vampire.

Leahy has taken on numerous roles, depending on the film, though usually a politician. He’s been credited as himself in two films, Territorial Governor in Batman: The Animated Series, Board Member #2 in The Dark Knight Rises, and Senator Purrington in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While we can’t say 100% that the Senator’s characters live in Gotham, he does spend a lot of time there.

Yes, the President Pro Tempore has spent time in Gotham and faced the Joker. We have little doubt he’ll have trouble facing objections during the trial.

The position of Senate President Pro Tempore is one of those that’s rather obsucre. A member of the Senate they’re third in line of succession to the President. The position is bestowed upon the longest-serving senator of the majority party. It is now held by Patrick Leahy who was once again sworn into the role on January 20, 2021 when the Democrats became the majority party in the US Senate.

Senator Leahy debuted in this new role today overseeing the first steps in the trial which included the swearing in the rest of the Senate and taking his own special oath as “judge” of the trial. The official trial will take place in a few weeks.

After today’s initial proceedings ended Leahy was taken to a hospital after an abundance of caution due to discomfort. He’s expected to resume his duties on Wednesday.

President Pro Tempore, Third in Line of Presidential Succession, Batman Fan and Actor

patrick leahy dark knight

It seems the geeks have inherited the Earth, but when it comes to American politics, comic geeks (and geeks in general) seem to be the ones in charge. President Obama is an admitted comic book fan, having read and collected Spider-Man and Conan. former Congressman Grayson is a comic fan who has often quoted comics and used them in political speeches. Recently elected Senator Jon Ossoff has had thoughts on Star Wars and anime. And, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez regularly streams on Twitch and plays video games.

The Senate once again has a new number two, who also happens to be a Batman fan. The new President Pro Tempore (pro tem) of the United States Senate is Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont). Leahy was sworn into the position on January 20, 2021, as the Democrats regained the Senate Majority. This is the second time he held the position. Leahy previously held the role starting in December 2021 after the passing of Senator Inouye. He held the position until January 2015.

The President Pro Tempore is a position created by the Constitution, and is the chamber’s second-highest-ranking official, after the Vice President. Basically, that person runs things when the VP isn’t around. By tradition, the Senate unanimously elects the most senior senator in the majority party to fill the position, which also makes the person third in the line of succession. While the position has played a bigger role in the past, its duties have lessened over the years.

Senator Leahy is a huge Batman fan and has appeared in some of the Batman movies and voiced characters. That was Senator Leahy standing up to Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight. The Senator has appeared in five Batman films (Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as well as voiced a character in Batman: The Animated Series. He’s also credited with being in My Wife is a Vampire.

That fandom and those appearances have also raised some eyebrows. Senator Leahy has stood up for and fought for Hollywood when it comes to things like intellectual property protection. We’re sure being in movies and those policies are not related at all…

Nonetheless, it’s another example of comic fans dominating politics.

Marvel Chairman’s Connection to Sedition and the Capitol Riots

Ike Perlmutter

The sedition and riots that happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, were a stain and dark day on American history. What was supposed to be an abnormal certification of the election victory for President-elect Joe Biden turned into an attempted coup by the outgoing President Trump.

The connections and who were behind the criminal act are still coming out but there were numerous groups and individuals who organized the seditious and deadly act.

One of those organizations behind the rally was Women for America First, which helped organize the “March to Save America”. The 501(c)(4) nonprofit is allowed to engage in limited political activities by the IRS and doesn’t have to publicly disclose their donors. But, we know of at least one of those donors.

America First Action is a political action committee chaired by Linda McMahon. The organization’s 2019 990 disclosure form showed they contributed $25,000 to Women for America First. American First Action is affiliated with America First Policies, a political organization started by Trump and Pence staffers.

McMahon is the wife of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Both are friends and allies of Trump, and Linda McMahon headed up the Small Business Administration. She resigned from that position in 2019 to assume her role as Chairwoman of America First Action.

A donor to America First Action is Isaac (Ike) Perlmutter and his wife Laura. Ike Perlmutter is the Chairman of Marvel. Together, the two donated $21 million in 2019-2020 over 4 donations. $15 million was donated on September 24 and $6 million on September 8. America First Action was founded in 2017 but 2020 was the first time either donated to the super PAC.

The Perlmutter donations happened after the 2019 donation to Women for America First but America First Action has yet to file a new 990 form since 2019. Who knows what might turn up in their next one. Women For America First’s donors are generally unknown. It’s near impossible to determine who directly donated to that organization and funded their failed coup which is why crumbs like this raise questions and concerns.

As of this article, in 2019 and 2020 the Perlmutters contributed 100 reported times to Republican candidates or organizations for a total of $26,067,600. That includes the maximum donation of $11,200 to Donald J. Trump for President, $1,871,200 to Trump Victory, and $1,207,000 to the Republican National Committee.

Perlmutter, like McMahon, also played a role in the Trump administration. He “advised” the Department of Veteran Affairs, which lead to attempts at investigations of his involvement. Questions remain concerning that position.

The COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Makes Illegal Streaming a Felony

Bill School House Rocks

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) looks like he’s getting his wish as his legislation to increase the penalties for streaming unlicensed work is currently part of the desperately needed COVID-19 relief legislation being voted on today.

Tillis’ legislation is a bit different than the legislation of the past with a focus more on commercial operators than individual users. If passed, illegal streaming of works including movies and musical works could carry up to 10 years in jail.

The current relief legislation as a whole is being criticized for being dropped on elected officials to vote on and there not being given enough time to read it. This is surely just one example of unrelated legislation included.

The bill also features a plan to create a small claims adjudication system within the U.S. Copyright Office. The “claims court” would forgo judges for “claims officers.” These claims officers will be able to issue fines up to $30,000. The House Judiciary Committee called that amount “truly small” amount.

That is the culmination of years of work by advocates on behalf of copyright owners a way to deal with infringement outside of going through the court system. That may be unconstitutional and will likely be challenged as such if passed. The system gives the option as an opt-in and isn’t compulsory so there’s the belief it’ll pass a legal challenge due to that. The goal is to lead to a swifter resolution over takedowns of copyright material posted online. The DMCA is already a tool that’s widely abused and we’re sure this will be as well.

Known as the CASE Act, it had previously passed the House by a 410-6 vote before being blocked in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Legislation is often added to legsilation like the COVID-19 relief knowing that the legislation will likely pass and on their own, the legislation would not.

A vote will occur today on the legislation.

The Hunger Games’ Three Finger Salute Becomes a Symbol of Defiance in Thailand

It’s always interesting to see what pop culture symbolism is adopted when it comes to politics. The Joker mask was recently adopted in protests in Hong Kong last year. The iconic silent three-finger gesture from The Hunger Games is being used during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Thailand. It’s become a symbol of defiance within the nation. The protestors are demanding reform of the Thai monarchy and an end to corruption. They have entered into the ninth month of protests against the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

This isn’t the first time the gesture has been used in the nation and not the only pop culture references regularly being spotted.

The three fingers first caught on in 2014 after a military coup overthrew the Thai government. There was an attempt to ban the gesture in response which failed. In 2019 a general election was held based on a controversial military-drafted constitution.

The symbol was so popular, the opposition party, Future Forward, adopted it. That party won 80 seats in the parliament in 2019 making it the third-largest party. The party was dissolved earlier this year when one of its leaders was ruled to have illegally donated money to the cause after calling it a loan.

Protestors have also dressed up as references to Harry Potter and Japanese anime like Hamtaro and Naruto.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn has taken on comparisons to the Harry Potter villain Voldemort, “He Who Must Not Be Named”, because it is illegal to insult, defame, or threaten the king.

The three fingers has symbolism as the protestors have three demands:

  1. The Dissolution of parliament
  2. End the intimidation of the people
  3. Draft a new constitution

From Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, the salute is a way to say goodbye, as a sign of respect and admiration, and becomes an act of defiance and solidarity against tyranny as the story progresses. It has historical significance and was used during the French Revolution to symbolize the trinity of freedom, fraternity, and equality.

The salute has also been used in the before mentioned pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year. Those protests along with the Thai protests and, Taiwan protests have been led by youth and been dubbed the “Milk Tea Alliance.” Other popular adopted pop-culture symbolism is the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta which has been used during Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring protests as well as being used by hacktivist group Anonymous.

Exclusive: Learn About Presidential Succession in this Fault Lines in the Constitution Chapter

Fault Lines in the Constitution

First Second BooksWorld Citizen Comics is a graphic novel line focused on civic involvement. The line of comics lifts the curtain on the world of politics and government creating easy to understand guides to help educate and possibly spur engagement.

Fault Lines in the Constitution focuses on today’s political struggles and their origins in the decisions of our Founding Fathers. Children’s book author Cynthia Levinson, constitutional-law scholar Sanford Levinson, and artist Ally Shwed deftly illustrate the contemporary problems that arose from the Constitution—and offer possible solutions to them. This latest volume teaches readers how this founding document continues to shape modern society with colorful art, compelling discourse, and true stories from America’s past and present.

First Second has hooked us up with an exclusive look at a chapter. “Is there a leader in the room?” focuses on presidential succession.

Read the chapter below and you can order the graphic novel now.

Purchase: AmazonKindleBookshop

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