Ari & I: May 4, 2001
White House Press Briefing with Ari Fleischer
Mokhiber: Ari, I have a question about commercialism's reach into areas that were previously off limits to commercialism. Alcatel, the French telecommunications firm, has procured the rights to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. They are running ads nationwide to use his speech to sell telephone equipment. They have also procured the rights to Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939 -- to sell telecommunications equipment. I know the Yankees were here today, and the [Yankee's] radio announcers are required to say on a double play -- "there's a Jiffy Lube double play," or on a home run,"there's a Coor's Light [Silver] Bullet blast." Does the President believe there are any limits to commercialism in terms of where it can and cannot go?
Ari Fleischer: There are of course a series of laws that govern communications activities. That's a question that you need to address to the Federal Communications Commission.
Mokhiber: Well, I was actually interested in the President's beliefs. For example, would he be offended by an oil ad on the back of a Texas Rangers shirt?
Ari Fleischer: The President believes that the law needs to be followed within the bounds of the free enterprise system.