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Cartoon Network CEO Resigns Over Aqua Teen Scare 710

Posted by Zonk
from the i-doubt-he's-laughing dept.
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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Cartoon Network CEO Resigns Over Aqua Teen Scare

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  • by uofitorn (804157) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:40PM (#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.
  • by vanyel (28049) * on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:44PM (#17958070) Journal
    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...
  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:45PM (#17958078) Homepage
    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.
  • by copponex (13876) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:46PM (#17958082) Homepage
    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 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?
      • by copponex (13876) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:27PM (#17958452) Homepage
        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.
      • by Xenographic (557057) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:16PM (#17958864) Homepage Journal
        > 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?

        The kind who knows that real bombs have payloads. The kind that knows that a device that small isn't going to cause structural damage to something like a bridge even if it was 100% high explosive. The kind who knows that they were very, very poorly placed as anti-personnel devices, called unnecessary attention to themselves, and probably wouldn't have been able to kill anyone at all, unless that person had been standing right next to them.

        You know, the kind of person who might be found on a bomb squad :] Well, a competent bomb squad, like those found in all the other cities...

        --
        Every time you panic, the terrorists win.
        • by Garse Janacek (554329) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:49PM (#17959100)

          Mod parent up.

          I live in Boston. The city screwed up, badly. Pretty much everyone I know thinks city officials made us look completely ridiculous. This was not a case of reasonable precautions, even, as they say, in a post-9/11 world.

          All these people keep saying "But it could have been a bomb, you don't know!" or "Well if it had been a bomb, you'd be glad they responded the way they did!"

          No. I agree wholeheartedly with the parent here. It couldn't have been a bomb. Literally, physically, something that looks like those devices could not possibly be an explosive device of any serious power, nothing that poses any danger to any structure or even any human who wasn't essentially holding them in his hands.

          An ordinary person off the street might not know this. That's fine. But a bomb squad member damn well better know this, and it terrifies me that the bomb squad members in our city apparently don't. What the hell are they going to do if there is a real bomb, and they have to try and disable it without blowing up anything important? If they don't even have the basic grasp required to know there should be a payload, what exactly do they know about the construction of bombs? Seriously, I'm not nearly as bothered by the possibility of some terrorists planting a bomb as I am knowing that if there is a bomb, our trained professionals whose job it is to handle that sort of thing won't be able to do anything about it, even if they know where the bomb is and have plenty of extra time. What the hell is the bomb squad for?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rta (559125)
            I think you might be too harsh on the bomb squad here. While i don't have an attribution, one of the articles in the middle of that day on cnn had a quote from a random citizen who said something like "Well, earlier I saw on TV a bomb squad guy holding it in his bare hands and just walking along with [the device] so I knew it couldn't be TOO bad ".

            What the actual bomb squad guys thought / knew and what the managers and politicians decided to do with the information, those are different things.
  • by bgspence (155914) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:49PM (#17958118)
    At least the city of Boston found the weapons of mass deception.
  • by pcx (72024) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:49PM (#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?

  • by sokoban (142301) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:51PM (#17958136) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      They did not look like bombs in any way shape or form

      What does a bomb look like?

      Plastique as mailable as a child's ball of clay? The cartoonist's stock grenade or stick of dynamite? A farmer's truck, weighted down with fertilizer and diesel?

      The parcel where there should be no parcels? Movement where there should be no movement? Lights where there should be no lights?

      What does a bomb look like?

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:52PM (#17958150) Journal
    ..."the terrorists have won".
  • by Supp0rtLinux (594509) <Supp0rtLinux@yahoo.com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:53PM (#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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by feepness (543479)
      Sony could put up a PSP campaign saying "white is right"...

      The PSP campaign wasn't in the US.
  • by alanmeyer (174278) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:01PM (#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.
  • by RoutedToNull (1040292) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:14PM (#17958330)
    I think this says it best... http://bostonbombsquadtraining.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]
  • by StarWreck (695075) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:17PM (#17958368) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by shma (863063) on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:22PM (#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.
  • by bXTr (123510) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:02PM (#17958796) Homepage

    I know you can't see this, but I'm doing this harder than I've ever done it before.

  • by thedbp (443047) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:43PM (#17959066)
    Most of the comments here are of the mindset that the reaction was absolutely justified - that they should have seen it coming - that anyone in their right mind would have assumed those were bombs.

    Its amazing to me how this state of paranoia and fear has not only become so widespread, but ACCEPTED even - as if everything really changed on 9/11. Here's a fact for you: NOTHING CHANGED AFTER 9/11. The ONLY thing that is different in America is the amount of surveillance we are being subjected to and the number of rights that are being eroded before our eyes.

    More people die every year from peanut allergies or swimming pool accidents than terrorism. Terrorism IS NOT A BIG THREAT. Beyond that, it is IMPOSSIBLE to completely stop. The war on terror is a FARCE and its SOLE PURPOSE is to subjugate a nation enslaved by comfort and convenience - with their consent.

    The people who should have to pay for this are the idiots who overreacted. Did you see those signs? THEY LOOKED LIKE LITE-BRITES and had a CARTOON ALIEN FLIPPING THE BIRD. What muslim extremist would use that as their terrifying logo of doom?!?!

    HOW THE HELL DID YOU PEOPLE GET THIS WAY!? AREN'T YOU LOOKING AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU?! Don't you see how absofuckinglutely ridiculous it is to consider the reaction to these HARMLESS and FUNNY signs in any way justifiable?

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" - Thomas Jefferson

    Chew on that.
  • by RonBurk (543988) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @12:29AM (#17959390) Homepage Journal

    Anybody who's ever been stuck in traffic can understand the knee-jerk "those bozos should pay" response.

    But anybody who cares about national security and terrorism should be sobered by what happened in this case: an utter failure of threat assessment. Our ability to survive terrorism is not just reliant on the ability to detect and respond to threats: it's crucial to be able to detect the lack of threats and not respond to them.

    What Boston demonstrated is that they are ripe for terrorism. After all, terrorism is about creating terror, not about inflicting actual damage. Boston showed you can terrorize them with some children's toys and no explosives at all.

    Of course, the knee-jerk conservative reaction will also include the phrase "abundance of caution" and "we can't take any chances". The problem is if you have an abundance of caution and can't take any chances, then a real terrorist action can have you dancing all over the place trying to respond to decoy threats and missing the real action.

    Correctly assessing situations that are not threatening is just as important to security as correctly assessing situations that are.

  • by adrianmonk (890071) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @12:39AM (#17959478)

    I think this quote, by the Attorney General [state.ma.us] of the State of Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, sums up the overreaction and the unwillingness to look at the situation rationally:

    "For those who responded to it, professionals, it had a very sinister appearance," Coakley said. "It had a battery behind it and wires."

    (My source for that quote is a Boston Globe article [boston.com].)

    Oooooooh! Batteries and wires!! Run away!

    My feeling is this: if I lived in the state, I'd damn well make sure I stayed away from Radio Shack, because I'm likely to get caught in the crossfire when someone buys a few electronics components and the SWAT team comes in to take out the "terrorist" with a storm of bullets. Have these people never, ever seen a homemade electronics project before!? For God's sake, MIT [mit.edu] is located in their state!

  • by GiMP (10923) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @12:44AM (#17959502)
    Should one be jailed and fined millions of dollars for plugging in an alarm clock at a public place? Littering, perhaps. Vandelism? Probably not.

    The truth is that a car parked underneath a bridge is a much more realistic and simple solution for a terrorist. However, the city isn't calling out the bomb squad for every car parked under a bridge. In fact, I cannot think of more than one case that I've heard about where such an event has happened. I wonder why this hasn't happened more?

    Really, the line should be drawn somewhere, and I think that line is 'common sense'. I think that this is a case of misunderstandings. The artists were too naive, they underestimated the stupidity of other people. The city reacted based on THEIR OWN concerns. This was not a hoax, the devices were not bombs, they weren't intended to look like bombs. Could some people mistake them as bombs? Apparently. However, I do not believe that one should be legally responsible for the mistaken actions and responses of another. The artists did break some laws, but nothing more than vandelism, trespassing, or littering.

    Is this the result of the last presidental elections when Kerry was called a 'flip-flopper'? You know, sometimes people make mistakes. Maybe the city of Boston should realize that and consider changing their stance. Sometimes it is better to admit mistakes and correct one's actions, rather than carry a bad idea forward just because you're afraid of a little change. For that matter, I'd rather have a "flip flopper" as president than one that can't admit that they were mistaken in their judgements and decisions, and continues to drive our country forward like a Lemming off a cliff.
  • Bottom Line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:08AM (#17959668)
    We live in a culture that has become so paranoid that we've traded freedom for "security."

    Maybe it was, indeed, a bone-head idea to "tag" public spaces, but the government and media need to quit making stories out of nothing. There's plenty of stupidity to go around on this one.

    The clue phone is ringing:

    Boston, Line 1:
    Your anti-terror "heroes" went all Barney Fife over nothing. You guys just need to chill the f**k out and learn to triage terror from shennanigans. If you go the full-monty everytime some paranoid citizen dials the bomb-squad over flashing light and some wires, you're gonna have to figure out a way to pay for that kind of over-kill out of your own budget instead of drama-queening your way into restitution.

    Viral Marketers, Line 2:
    WTF? Maybe go for something a little less obscure the next go-round, eh? Only about 1 in 5,000 people driving by those signs had any kind of clue what the hell those bird-flipping little dudes were anyway. Way to spook the natives, dorks. Don't forget to include some useful information about your "product" next time. Seriously, this is like the corporate version of "JACKASS."

    Bottom Line: Two stupid parties did two stupid things. One was the government the other wasn't. Guess which one wins?

    I think Meatwad summed it up like this:
    I'll touch 'em all the way to the trash can is what I'll do...
  • by Spokehedz (599285) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:28AM (#17959808)
    All they wanted was to incite fear and massive panic amongst the people of the USA.

    They won.

    America the brave. It is to laugh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:34AM (#17959848)
    First a thank you to all the slashdotters who have unilaterally decided that citizens of my city are gun slinging luddites... Hopefully I can provide a little more of a first-hand analysis.

    While there is no question that the reaction of the BPD was an overreaction, there is no question that the actions of Cartoon Network and Interference were totally unacceptable. The first "device" that was found was placed at a critical intersection of the major North-South Interstate highway that feeds the city, a major subway train line, and the commuter rail that services all communities north of the city. Further, it was adjacent to (a few feet away from) the main fiber optic right-of-way between the city and northern communities (a fact that was missed by media - surprise, surprise). Finally, despite the fact that many try to blame this on post-9/11 hysterics, a group of anti-Semites attempted to blow up this same bridge/highway on 4/20/01 (Hitler's birthday - classy) so forgive us for our post 4/20 paranoia.

    An explosive device - even one with a limited payload - if successfully detonated would have impacted the ability for more than a half million people to travel to or from and communicate with the metro area. Further, the other devices were placed on every single bridge that allows people to travel out of or into the City of Boston from/to the North.

    Finally, the foolish duo that installed these devices were filmed an hour into the incident watching the BPD and bomb squad in their investigation and decided to remain silent for several hours, allowing the situation to continue to snowball out of control.

    There is plenty of blame to share here amongst all of the actors involved. It is tempting to blame "the man" for overreacting, but the reality is there is no one that should escape criticism. It is not ever - no - not ever - acceptable for a marketing campaign to be based on the illegal placement of advertisements on publicly owned infrastructure, especially not on critical pathways into and out of a major metro area.

    Source: I was there (if only my personal experience could be validated in a wikipedia entry...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pitr (33016)
      By that reasoning, any really good, well developed, high traffic position to place an add is a fantastic position to place an explosive device.

      So the CN is responsible because there _could_ have been a bomb. This reminds me of the guy on the British subway who was gunned down because he _could_ have had a bomb, since his jacket was a little bulky, and he was running for the train. I'm believe both cases came about through fundamentally flawed reason and response, not to mention unreasonable levels of fear

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