United Church of Christ attacks liberal network for “arbitrary” banning of church ad: Tebow at issue.
Forget the Colts and the Saints.
The real struggle this Super Bowl season is between The Network and The Church.
This year’s brawl involves a fight between CBS and the United Church of Christ, only by extension featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mom Pam. Pam, as all of America is learning, was pregnant with her fifth child and advised to have an abortion. She refused — giving birth to a man who went on to win one of college football’s most prestigious awards, becoming in the process, in the eyes of many, a genuine celebration of life. David N. Bass outlined the fury in terms of the pro-choice movement yesterday.
But there is another problem here. It seems the ad, sponsored by Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, was accepted by CBS — when CBS, not all that long ago, rejected a fairly innocuous ad from the United Church of Christ proclaiming the denomination’s inclusivity when it comes to gays.
The fair and balanced people at Fox ran it, many others as well, but not CBS (or even NBC!)
As always, a disclaimer that I serve as both the president of my local UCC church and a board member of the Penn Central Conference — and do not speak for either in this space.
It may startle the liberal national hierarchy of my denomination to know I believe the UCC has a case. A very good case.
Yes, it must be acknowledged that CBS gets to set its standards for accepting advertising. That is its right. And at a time when Americans feel a move is on to strip them of their rights, most prominently by taking away control of their health care, a TV network’s right to choose its advertisers is a freedom that should be noted. But having a right — and this particular right is a right tempered by the fact of access to airwaves owned by the public — is a very different thing from having credibility.
Plainly put, CBS has no credibility on this.
Here’s the ad that CBS rejected from the UCC in 2004.
As you can see, it’s a very vanilla take on what the liberals running the church see as the denomination’s inclusiveness. Nothing over the top, nothing offensive. Just the straight (so to speak) message that the UCC is inclusive, that, in the words of the UCC, “all people, including gay and lesbian people, should be welcome in the church.” It takes no stand on same-sex marriage (although the national church leadership famously did so — in favor — in 2005, causing an internal firestorm, but that’s another story.). The ad, in other words, is hardly earthshaking.
Yet for some reason, CBS put this benign ad (not submitted for a Super Bowl time period) in the same category as those infamous banned Super Bowl ads of years past. Remember those?
Let’s see. There was the Ashley Madison ad that was promoting extra-marital affairs with the tag line “Who are you doing after the game?” The ad from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) depicting lingerie-clad women, none of them ugly, getting…ahhhh… “intimate” with vegetables. Remember the 2005 ad from GoDaddy.com that mocked the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction episode with a busty woman testifying before Congress as her top keeps sliding off? Or the cold remedy ad showing a bare-chested, towel-wrapped Mickey Rooney (he’s not a kid anymore) in a sauna? That gem was pulled because the towel dropped briefly (!) exposing America to the long-ago child star’s, um, then almost 90-year old butt. Yikes. Mr. Rooney turned 90 recently. God bless him… here’s to keeping his pants on during the Super Bowl. Then there was the Snickers ad from 2007, which showed two guys working on a car when one suddenly stops and pulls out a Snicker bar. The other starts chomping on the free end, leading to an accidental kiss and the declaration they needed to go do something “manly.” Gay groups got that one banned. In 2008, it was sexy models driving up in cars to some fictional big media event with live beavers in their laps (meant to be a visual joke on celebs Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, who at the time were in the tabloids for emerging from cars with, quite visibly to the paparazzi, no underwear) only to be followed by race car driver Danica Patrick, who proclaimed this not necessary and began unzipping her sporty GoDaddy.com top for photographers.
So. The United Church of Christ ad is in this category? Really? It’s ridiculous on its face.
CBS, in accepting the Tebow ad because it apparently needs the bucks, has quite vividly exposed what many people on all sides of the political spectrum have long suspected: that the networks in fact have no “guideline” for advocacy ads, they just have biases. Making money — or not losing money — is at the top of that list. Understandably, that may be the only thing on their list, which under most circumstances is a good thing because making money provides exactly what Americans say they want most — jobs. And whatever else one can say about the people working at CBS, it’s good news they have jobs.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?