Many of us started watching the Super Bowl in ernest when Apple ran their 1984 ad against IBM back in the early 80’s. Since then we watched the ads sometimes interrupted by a football game. Then YouTube came along and strung the better ads together so in case of a calamity and we missed them live we could watch them all together. So too this year. 2 1/2 to 3 million dollars for a 30 second ad gives you an audience of 100 million, mostly men, to sell your product. So lots of beer ads and what goes better with beer than chips and cars. There’s a good teachable moment here but I don’t want to get in to it.
So, pretty benign so far. Most networks who have carried the Super Bowl, refrain from advocacy ads. Advocacy advertising can be directed at either specific targets, or general targets, such as political activists, the media, consumer groups, government agencies, or competitors. It can be sponsored by any type of advertiser (businesses, consumer groups, special interest groups, political parties, or even individuals). In 1974, Mobil Oil Company began advocacy advertising concerning the need for offshore oil drilling to alleviate the energy crisis that existed at the time. NBC accepted the television commercial, but ABC and CBS did not, because of the controversial nature of the topic. CBS and ABC refused. Of course that was then and this is now. Focus on the Family has bankrolled a 30 second anti-abortion “celebration of the family” advocacy ad. The commercial is to feature Tim Tebow, the college football star, and his mother, Pam, discussing their anti-abortion positions.
OK cool. Although I have issues with the evangelical group behind the ad, I cannot fault Tim or his mom talking about a “choice” she made concerning the well-being of the fetus who would grow up to be a celebrated football star. At the time she didn’t know that, we never know exactly how our kids would grow up. (Baby Adolph was so cute) So, back to the story, While Mrs. Tebow was struggling with a fever, the doctor treating her in the Philippines suggested she may want to consider aborting the yet unnamed Tim. She refused. She made a choice and recounts that choice in the 30 second spot. I love stories like that.
What I do take exception to, is CBS flip-flop on advocacy ads. MoveOn’s anti-war ad, bought and paid for by a left leaning organization was rejected because of its advocacy for peace against what turned out to be the dreadful Iraq mistake. CBS has a well-documented history of prohibiting advocacy ads it deems controversial, rejecting ads from organizations such as PETA, MoveOn.org, United Church of Christ, and even ones that carry only an “implicit” endorsement for a side in a public debate. Last year, NBC made the prudent decision to not air anti-choice messages during the Super Bowl.
So, I don’t get it. The anti-abortion discussion is definitely divisive and even deadly as in the case of the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller. So what gives, CBS? How come?
Focus on the Family are the same people who tell you that in the case of rape and incest that abortion is OK. This double standard is troubling because in their mind on the one hand when the woman ‘chooses’ to end a pregnancy the innocent fetus is removed, but when it comes to rape and incest its OK to get rid of the guilty fetus. What it comes down to the sins of the father are visited on their offspring. (Oh yeah, these pro-lifers are also for the death penalty…not a terribly consistent message.) And finally on this issue, 48% of respondents to the Daily Kos’ poll question believed that the “pill” is not abortion (when the label inside the box indicates it is. It does not prevent conception, just implantation of the egg.). Thankfully there is a small group of respondents (34%) who believe the pill is a chemical abortion.
So what do we do about CBS’s duplicity? Write them I guess. Tell them what douches they are for not being principled. By the time you read this, the commercial will have aired on Sunday. Sometimes checking which way the wind is blowing get’s spit in your face.
Now where’s my beer so I can drive my car to get some chips?