Video Urging RIers to Stop Complaining From RI Foundation Draws Criticism
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Rhode Island Foundation as part of their "What's Next" campaign is urging Rhode Islanders to stop complaining, stop blaming, and stop trolling -- and has met a less than favorable response by some in the state.
The video, produced by Nail Communications, features kids reading expletive-laden Tweets that are actual quotes from Rhode Islanders, who then tell people to "be nice, or be quiet."
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"Rhode Island Foundation Tells Rhode Islanders to Shut Up and Take Their Medicine," wrote Justin Katz with The Ocean State Current in response, taking issue with the message delivery.
"The message from the people who produced this slick video...is that we're not being nice, that we're being dismissive," wrote Katz. "That we should just shut our traps and not complain about the treatment to which the powerful in our state subject us or when they do things like impose new fees, take away our rights, and slush around money sucked from our economy in a corrupt whirlpool (or when they use non-profit organizations to push political agendas) or blame them when things continue to go wrong, year after year. We’re just “trolling.”
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Mike Stenhouse, the CEO for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity wrote on the issue for the Current as well.
"It is further immoral that the Foundation seeks to subvert the voice of the people in their implied endorsement of the status quo politics in Rhode Island," wrote Stenhouse in his piece, "RI Foundation's Sneak Attack on Free Speech."
"Stop complaining about Rhode Island’s 48th place ranking on the national Family Prosperity Index? Stop complaining that so many of our neighbors cannot find or have given up looking for meaningful work? Stop complaining about the political corruption that continues to embarrass our state? Stop complaining about the lack of bold and decisive action to do anything significant about it?" asked Stenhouse.
About the Spot
Nail Communications produced the minute and six second spot, which the Rhode Island Foundation has featured on its YouTube page and in email communication.
The video begins with kids reading lines from anonymous Tweets, including, "What a [expletive], when I see her face I get annoyed," and "He's such a piece of [expletive] I hope someone cuts his brakes." The expletives are "bleeped" out.
The kids then go on to say, "Stop, just stop. Stop complaining, stop blaming, stop trolling."
“We’re proud of our work funding programs and services that benefit hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders. Our Centennial campaign celebrates the thousands of visionary donors and nonprofit partners who make that possible. Rhode Island is better place for their commitment. We’re honored to give them a platform to speak their minds,” said Chris Barnett, spokesman for the Rhode Island Foundation, of the Nail video.
Nail's Alec Beckett addressed he criticisms -- and fired back.
"Third, saying that the message of this video is to repress free speech or public debate is a deliberate and cynical misinterpretation. The intent is the opposite—challenging those who are abusive, bullying, racist, etc. to stop repressing constructive dialogue. Heck, every child who participated understood that," said Beckett. "I will defend to the ends of the Earth your right to express your opinion—whether I agree with you or not. But if your participation in the public discourse involves cruelty, insult and racism, then yes, I guess I would prefer you keep your thoughts to yourself."
Katz responded to the rationale.
"The message of the video is extremely broad, and the only specific behaviors mentioned are 'complaining... blaming... trolling.' The video does not say 'stop being abusive, bullying, and being racist,' said Katz on Monday. "In that regard, this response only further serves the point we're making: that these self-styled righteous elites see no distance between complaining and assigning blame and being cruel and insulting. They only want dialogue if it is 'constructive,' which means affirming the legitimacy of the people who've harmed our state so egregiously."
Taking State Connections to Task
Katz took issue with Nail's ties to the state, including getting a state contract.
"It’s interesting to note, though, the group behind this video, NAIL Communications, because it’s received almost $2.5 million from the state government through HealthSource RI, our ObamaCare health benefits exchange, over the past few years," wrote Katz in his Current piece. "So, yes, shut up and pay your taxes, you nasty Rhode Islanders, so that people who think they’re better than us can get big paydays from government ventures that limit our freedoms as well as redistribute our money."
Stenhouse was critical in turn of the RI Foundations role in public policy.
"The RI Foundation has turned its attention towards public policy, where it has been a supporter of multiple far-left, government-centric and federal intrusions into the affairs of Ocean Staters," wrote Stenhouse. "The Foundation has been a frequent and close public partner with the Chafee and Raimondo administrations. It was a major supporter of the controversial RhodeMap RI agenda and it largely funded the related Brookings Institution report that recommended massive crony-corporate subsidies."
Related Slideshow: 20 Things to be Thankful for in Rhode Island - 2015
Newport in Summer, Spring, Fall and Winter — We can often forget to appreciate enough how beautiful it is in Newport. From Cliff Walk to the Jazz Festival to Newport Vineyards, to the Thames Street shops and restaurants, to the beaches…you get the idea.
College Basketball Season - The Winter months in Rhode Island and be long, but thankfully there is college basketball season help us get through it.
With both Providence and the University of Rhode Island expected to compete for an NCAA Tournament birth, this season should be as exciting as any.
George Washington — One of America’s most important pieces of art is right in the State Room at the State House. Gilbert Stuart’s masterpiece of the first President of the United States is daunting in size and historical importance.
Ye Olde English Fish & Chips and Wrights Family Farm - There are two classic restaurants in Northern Rhode Island that are authentic and a throw back family eateries. Take your picck between surf or turf, but we're lucky to have both institutions.
The Arcade — America’s first indoor shopping venue has been restored to both retail and residential micro-living. The development is a global model to modern re-use. After having been shuttered for a number of years, it is now a vibrant re-addition to the downtown scene.
Jim Vincent — With class and determination, Vincent has lead the NAACP to unmatched heights of importance. In a period of time in which discussions about race are dominating communities’ narrative, Vincent is a voice of advocacy.
Federal Hill — One of the great city neighborhoods in America. It has the legacy of Italian immigration, Mafia headquarters, and a tremendous restaurant destination.
Providence’s de facto “Little Italy” is the hub to more than a dozen great restaurants.
The Lady Project — Sierra Barter has created a organization that connects, inspires and showcases awesome women doing amazing things. The organization started in Providence is now growing across the country.
Harry’s Burgers — Just maybe the best burgers in the free world (we cannot speak to burgers in North Korea). In a state and region with plenty of good burger joints, Harry's stands out. And we're glad it's here.
newportFILM — The non-profit group brings Rhode Island the most innovative and interesting movies each summer. Better yet, the films are framed by the most unique and beautiful venues. Who else can screen an adventure film at an historic fort during the world's biggest ocean race?
James Diossa — The Mayor of Central Falls is a breath of fresh air. While other elected officials are struggling in Rhode Island, Diossa stands out for his commitment and energy to revitalizing Rhode Island’s most devastated community. He just gave his bike to a student who needed one to ride to school.
Drone Videos of Rhode Island — Nothing shows the natural beauty of Rhode Island like a good drone video of our beautiful state. We have added one for your enjoyment. Want a drone for personal or professional use? RI has that for you.
Gamm Theater — With Trinity Rep and PPAC producing great shows, it is difficult for smaller theaters to compete, but make no mistake about it, the Gamm is producing some of the best productionsin the state. If you haven't checked a show there, you simply must.
You won't be disappointed.
Providence Antheneum and the Redwood Library — These two amazing, historic libraries in Providence and Newport respecitvely are the opportunity to enjoy amazing collections and architectual beauty. These two edifices are unmatched in America.
Deepwater Wind — Rhode Island's population represents less than one-third-of-one percent and when we are the first or the best in the U.S. it defies all odds. Rhode Island's Deepwater wind project is the first off-shore wind project and has the capability to be a major job creator.
Hope Artiste Village —The Pawtucket redevelopment project has become the incubator for everything from artists to coffee to bowling. It is a success in redevelopment, energy and collaboration. We are thankful for the vision and pragmatism in bringing an old mill back to life.
Our U.S. Military and Public Safety Officers — At a time when concerns about terrorism is real and mounting, with recent attacks in Paris, Mali, and Beruit killing hundreds, we are thankful for the work of the United States Armed services around the world and the efforts by domestic law enforcement in the U.S. to deter terrorism on our soil.
Creative Energy - From artists to entrepenuers, the future of Rhode Island will be created and grown by thinkers driving the next generation of small businesses through temendous work and innovation. From RISD to BIF, and designers, creators, and do-ers across all genres, we are thankful to have such a creative community.
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