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Direct Mail Fundraising Material - FACTS AND LOGIC ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST

September 2017 Facts and Logic About the Middle East direct mail fundraising appeal (PDF)

Yet another media pressure group, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME, 2012 revenue $465,000) runs full-page ads in liberal and Jewish publications, presenting pro-Israel talking points. It demonstrated its no-holds-barred approach in its 2009 campaign against The Berkeley Daily Planet.

FLAME launched a campaign to get the newspaper to stop publishing op-eds and articles critical of Israel. The newspaper was founded in 1999 as a progressive daily that often endorsed liberal candidates and policies. After the newspaper published a letter to the editor by an Iranian student criticizing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, FLAME set out to shut the paper down. FLAME Vice President Jim Sinkinson sent letters to all of the newspaper’s advertisers, along with a form he developed to cancel their ads.

As a long-time professional publicist and owner of the Bulldog Reporter, Sinkinson’s personal business was producing media directories, webinars, conferences and award programs. A Sinkinson colleague, Dan Spitzer, called and visited the Daily Planet’s advertisers, demanding that they drop their contracts. Another fellow traveler, John Gertz, set up the website “DPwatchdog.com” to capture and warn web readers searching for The Berkeley Daily Planet of its “anti-Semitism and Journalistic malfeasance” and question whether individuals working for the newspaper were “anti-Semites.” An April 21, 2009, email to the executive editor from Gertz said, “Reform, or close, or bleed money until you are forced out of business or die broke.” Sinkinson contacted the newspaper’s advertisers as a representative of “East Bay Citizens for Journalistic Responsibility” without referencing his association with FLAME or the Bulldog Reporter, and urged advertisers to visit the website. According to The Daily Planet, the campaign had mixed results:

Some Daily Planet advertisers, incensed at the threats, have renewed their contracts. Others have fled, at least one prompted by the loss of paying clients.

In 2010, the perpetually financially challenged Daily Planet ceased print publication, but managed to continue its online reporting. During the lengthy FLAME attack, the Daily Planet fought back by publishing articles about who was orchestrating the campaign and why. It issued successful front-page appeals for funding and challenged the legitimacy of ideologically driven censorship.
In the end, it may be FLAME that flames out. A revenue forecast trending the group’s declining revenues reveals it probably will go out of business by 2017 (see appendix). According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2014 Sinkinson’s PR firm went bankrupt, with $178,000 in assets and $784,000 in liabilities.

Organization historical content excerpted with permission from the book BIG ISRAEL How Israel's Lobby Moves America

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