Over the weekend, we got an email from the Smoke Free Indy folks letting us know there will be “an emergency news conference happening on Monday morning regarding exemptions inserted into House Bill 1018, which the Senate is expected vote on next week.”
We were aware of the exemptions being amended to the bill and we agree with them. As far as we can tell, there are plenty of smoke-free options for those who choose to avoid smoke in both work and play. Many bar restaurants have no smoking rules during the day and allow for smoking during specific hours when their clients expect it. There are non-smoking bars both downtown and in Broadripple for servers, bartenders and patrons to have a choice–and that is what we support.
Still, we read the email and may watch their news conference online as they noted we could. But, we found something else about the email much more interesting.
The emails were sent by folks from Fenton. It is not at all uncommon for a cause like Smoke Free Indy to employ an outside public relations/issue advocacy firm to help with their messaging. No surprises there. What we did, frankly, find a little surprising is that they would choose Fenton.
Fenton may be a great company. They certainly seem to have some big clients. But, they don’t seem to be a good fit for this particular campaign.
First, if you check out the contact page, you can see that they have locations in D.C., California, and New York. What about Indiana? Yeah, not so much. Perhaps they should have thought about using an Indiana firm before sending us an email saying things like “Ind. workers used as pawns” and “protecting Indiana workers.” How about employing Indiana workers if you care so much about them?
Secondly, you can find a list of clients and case studies for groups Fenton has worked with on their site. It is not a secret that we are pretty progressive over here so we think it is great Fenton works for equality groups associated with gay marriage and the like. We weren’t even bothered by Planned Parenthood. They provide a lot of necessary services for low-income women that have nothing to do with abortion–but that is a different post. We draw the line, however, at MoveOn.org.
Call us crazy, but we do not think Smoke Free Indy has anything to do with the Indiana workers with whom they claim to be concerned. We think it boils down to an elitist group of people who are not satisfied to make a decision for themselves to not smoke and not frequent locations that permit smoking. They know best and they can make that decision for themselves and everyone else. They do not like smoking and, therefore, you should not smoke.
We would agree that Indiana workers are being used as political pawns–we just disagree with Smoke Free Indy and Fenton on who is using them.
UPDATE: Smoke Free Indy emailed us and said they have no idea who Fenton is working for but they use a local firm, Promotus, for their advertising. We recieved two emails from Fenton promoting the press conference. Since they are not a local firm, someone must be paying them. The question is who.