Speaking of Women's Rights: Super Bowl Skirmish: CBS isn't scoring any points with decision to air anti-abortion ad.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Super Bowl Skirmish: CBS isn't scoring any points with decision to air anti-abortion ad.

You may remember a number of super bowls ago, a decision made by CBS not to air a particular advertisement during the oh-so-coveted commercial time. The ad was created by the United Church of Christ and highlighted its acceptance of gays and lesbians and other groups who are often not welcome in more conservative congregations. CBS claimed that it wouldn’t run the ad because of its policy against advocacy ads.

Those who rallied against the decision were recently befuddled by CBS’s recent choice (no pun intended) to air an anti-abortion ad, produced by right-wing zealots Focus On the Family.

To make matters worse, CBS doesn’t find anything about the ad to be contentious. "There's nothing political and controversial about it," a CBS spokesman said. "When the day arrives, and you sit down to watch the game on TV, those who oppose it will be quite surprised at what the ad is all about. They are just celebrating families.”

CBS says they’ll consider other “responsibly produced” advocacy ads for any remaining spots during this year’s super bowl. Spokesman Dana McClintock had this to say: “We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms.” Yet it seems that all other networks still have non-advocacy rules on the books.

Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest of decisions to bend the rules for a thoroughly intolerant organization like Focus on the Family. If CBS is truly going to begin allowing advocacy advertisements on its network, maybe they could’ve started with something slightly less polarizing than abortion? Did CBS really sit down and rethink its policy? Or could it be that they’re under the impression that football fans tend to lean to the right, and would thus be more supportive of anti-abortion sentiment than pro-gay. And is this a dangerous precedent to set, allowing marketing departments to support one side of a political debate by airing ads that they deem “responsibly produced?” Sure sounds like it to me.

Women’s rights groups have started a couple of Facebook pages calling for the removal of the ad from the super bowl line-up. Consider writing a letter to CBS, signing this petition, or sitting the Super Bowl out this year.