TV ADS ON ISSUE 5 LABEL LAW BEGIN: CITIZEN ACTION SAYS
OPPONENTS TELL "9 LIES IN 60 SECONDS"
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Both supporters and opponents of Issue 5, the chemical labeling right-to-know law, are taking to the airwaves to get their message across to Ohio voters. Ads opposing Issue 5 starte favoring Issue 5 start Sept. 19 statewide.
"The chemical industry knows they can't defeat Issue 5 based on the facts, so they have set a new state record today by cramming 9 lies into a single 60-second TV spot," said Ed Hopkins, Environmental Policy Director for Citizen Action. "Their ad insults voters by treating Issue 5 as a game of can-you-top-this-whopper, rather than a serious matter about cancer, birth defects, and the right to know."
Issue 5, on Ohio's Nov. 3 ballot, would require warning labels on products with dangerous amounts of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects. In addition, Issue 5 requires polluters that expose neighbors to dangerous chemicals to warn them.
The spokesman in the pro-Issue 5 TV spot is actor David Clennon, best known for his role as Miles Drentell in ABC's "thirtysomething". Clennon says: "You know the old saying, 'What you don't know can't hurt you?' Well, in Ohio what you don't know could give you cancer or cause birth defects in your children or grandchildren. Because businesses that make products containing dangerous levels of carcinogens and other poisons don't have to tell you that on the label."
The pro-Issue 5 TV spot includes an innovation in ballot issue campaigns, a toll-free number -- 800-686-VOTE -- for viewers to call to contribute and get involved in the campaign. A toll-free number has been used in candidate campaigns, and as one-time efforts in some issue campaigns elsewhere, but never systematically in an issue campaign anywhere in the country.
After a week in which Ralph Nader barnstormed Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Toledo for Issue 5, Citizen Action's TV message emphasizes his support. Hopkins said: "Nader's support wand bread would have w ning labels (no, they wouldn't), that any product with any of 458 chemicals would have a warning (no, only if there were dangerous amounts), that there would be millions of warning notices (no, only to those exposed to dangerous amounts of pollution), that taxes will go up (no, it creates a penny-per-pound fee on factory polluters).
"The silliest claim is that the law would cost over $1 billion -- this is the same wild charge made by opponents of a label law in California. This calamity never happened after voters there passed a label law. In fact, according to Gillette, which reformulated Liquid Paper, and Dow, which reformulated K2r Spot-lifter, making products safer did not increase their cost by a single penny. Nor does putting a warning label on a product increase cost."
Citizen Action has purchased $97,000 worth of TV time statewide for their message over nine days beginning Sept. 19. The opposition group has purchased approximately $350,000 of TV time for their spots over ten days beginning today.
"The relative spending on this first wave of ads is what we expected, and fits this David and Goliath campaign," said Hopkins. "The proof that voters can see through this kind of disparity in TV spending is the insurance reform initiative in California in 1988, Prop. 103." Insurance companies and trial lawyers in California put four competing initiatives on the ballot and spent $90 (ninety) million to promote them and defeat Prop. 103. Supporters of Prop. 103 spent little on the campaign, but with Ralph Nader's support, Prop. 103 won with 52 percent of the vote. The other initiatives were defeated.
Citizen Action is Ohio's largest consumer and environmental organization, with 500,000 dues-paying members. A non-profit, non- partisan group, Citizen Action was founded in 1976.
/CONTACT: Ed Hopkins of Citizen Action, 614-224-4111/ CO: Citizen Action ST: Ohio IN: SU:
BM -- CL015 -- 1197 09/18/92 14:25 EDT