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Tony the Tiger and the flaky NFL
2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award winner
Expanded from the 11-30-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 9-20-2009

The National Futzball League presented three blowouts instead of football games on last week’s appropriately-termed Turkey Day.

Adding insult to indigestion, the barons of bone breakage brokered a bushel of network time for some public relations initiative called NFL Play60. (No, it’s not a new parlay bet at the Nugget sports book, but give it a week.)

Save northwestern Nevada community television

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

The math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers

Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

Paunchy people, prostrate before their 70-watt gods, were peppered with propaganda promoting a new war on pork called "The NFL movement for an
Active Generation."

The latest bad rap against flabby abs was launched with video of undoubtedly steroid-free behemoths barking to children about the beauty of busting their buns in order to burst forth with better health.

It was the first interesting thing on the tube all day, and more transparent than the Seahawks’ ground game.

Maybe it was a deft exercise in reverse-psychology. Show non-fat kids gleefully interacting with NFL millionaires and their real-life marketing targets will revolt at the whole idea of junk food for health.

Which is exactly what it was. Not one nanosecond of the NFL promotional programming or support spots mentioned better nutrition. Understandable.

Why risk that the blubber blunderbuss might blow up in your face because of an awkwardly placed McDonald’s commercial? Better to show skinny, happy kids sweating to the NFL oldies.

The total focus on Super Bowl over cereal bowl galvanized me to L-lysine-induced inaction. I was so irritated that I almost got off the sofa and made coffee.

When my fourth beer and the Cardinals-Eagles feather pillow fight ended at the same time, I put the crack Tribune investigative unit into action. As usual, we spared every expense to expose the hypocrisy of the jockocracy.

A simple websearch turned up the official list of co-sponsors of NFL Play60. I cracked the case when I found Tony the Tiger cracking his catty smile.

No less than the American Heart Association is in bed with the legendary striped salescritter – probably a case of "if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em."

Besides, who wants to lick Frosted Flakes, especially if you’re allergic to cats.

Some front outfit called the School Nutrition Association is part of this hustle, exhorting our little lab rats to "power up with school breakfast with the help of Crunch, Yogurl (did Cap’n Crunch get married to a Swedish Viking chick?) and the rest of the school breakfast superheroes." (I think I’m gonna be sick.)

The SNA purports to promote the "importance of eating a healthy breakfast, eating a variety of foods, and being active."

"Variety of foods" is junk food lobby code for "mix us in with good food and on average we don’t look so bad."

Well, skunk juice does smell sweet to other skunks.

Tony the Tiger is using this NFL tie-in to pimp "The Power of Gold: Athletes are discovering the power of NEW Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Gold. With 10 grams of whole grain per serving, it gives you energy when you need it most – helping you go for the gold!" (No emphases added.)

This particular section of the salescat’s website is titled "Eat Right," where Tony advises all his little marketing prospects to "just add ice-cold milk and enjoy."

Milk. Butterfat bobbing in lactose.


Tony’s page also sports a link to Pop-Tarts. These guys never miss a cross-promotional possibility, do they?

I was getting soggy with all this unintentional self-satire, but slogged on in the name of journalistic hilarity. Tony’s list of ingredients includes sugar, honey and high-fructose corn syrup, the additive increasingly accused as the critical source of our national porkification. The flakes also contain "natural sweeteners." (Like what, campaign contributions?)

And "BHT (preservative)".

Butylhydroxytoluene keeps fat from going rancid and is also used in cosmetics, jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products and (gasp) embalming fluid.

For decades, BHT has been accused of producing hyperactivity in some children (I thought that’s what all the gold-medal sugars were for) and as a possible cause of cancers and tumors.

It has shown promise as a treatment for AIDS and herpes, so perhaps Tony may one day be thanked for immunizing our media-seduced, sexy sub-teens.

That would be a damn sight better than the Orwellianly-named Gardasil, the purported cervical cancer preventative that has been killing and brain-damaging young girls nationwide.

"There is evidence that certain persons may have difficulty metabolizing BHT, resulting in health and behavior changes," notes’s chemistry section.

Kellogg’s changed "Sugar Frosted Flakes" to just "Frosted Flakes" a few years ago. They later produced a reduced-sugar version.

In 2005, the Associated Press did an independent analysis to see if Tony had changed his stripes.

So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
Updated 11-14-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008



The lower-sugar compounds of Frosted Flakes and several others were just as fattening.

To preserve the crunch, the technocrats of moppet marketing simply added other carbohydrates which your body sees as sugar anyway – energy to go for the gold while sporting overpriced footwear.

Nike, a purveyor of products produced by impoverished skinny kids in third-world sweatshops, is thus another quite logical co-sponsor of this football boondoggle.

May their swash buckle.

"This is about marketing. It is about nothing else," New York University nutrition Prof. Marion Nestle told the AP after reviewing the 2005 cereal science.

"It is not about kids’ health," the noted author added.

The same can be said about the NFL’s foul ball on Turkey Day.

Eat well.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant

Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008

Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008

The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.

Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008

Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008

Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008

Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2008, 2009 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 (for at least the next 90 days) and 216. E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988. Tempus fugit.


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