Thursday, December 02, 2004


The More Things Change...

The blogosphere has been on fire this week over CBS' and NBC's refusal to air an advertisement for the United Church of Christ in which they are promoting their open-door policy to people of all walks of life. The network's reasoning for refusing to run the ad appears to center around the inclusion of a gay couple being denied entry into a church. According to CBS, the ad is too controversial because it "implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies..." Now, if I'm reading this correctly, CBS is saying that acceptance of minorities is a bad thing. Funny, I thought this country was built on acceptance. What about "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; send these, the homeless tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door?" Sure sounds pretty accepting to me.

CBS went on to say "the fact that the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] Networks." Silly me, I didn't realize that George W. Bush's personal beliefs were a determining factor in CBS' broadcast policies. I guess you can call me naive.

In their response to the networks' rejection, the UCC makes a pretty solid case for themselves.

I couldn't agree more.

This situation raises so many questions that it's hard to know where to begin. First of all, I think it brings into question the notion of a liberal media. Wouldn't it stand to reason that a liberal media would want to run ads promoting the acceptance of gays and minorities? Wouldn't a liberal media want to run ads critical of George W. Bush's policies? Of course I've never bought into the whole liberal media theory, but I would think that this would poke a major hole in it.

Secondly, why is it that networks like NBC have no problem promoting shows such as Will & Grace, which features openly gay characters, but finds this ad "too controversial?" I guess it's because the homosexuals on Will & Grace are funny while the reality of homosexual relationships is not. Sort of reminds me of the black-face minstrel shows of the 1800s. It was okay to ridicule and laugh at African-Americans and their stereotypes, but in reality they were just viewed as second class citizens.

Really, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised by the networks', especially CBS', refusal to run this ad. Remember the controversy over's "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad that was to run during the Super Bowl? In both instances, CBS claimed that it "does not run issue ads." However, I could swear that I've seen anti-smoking and anti-drug ads on CBS. Maybe what they really meant to say is that they don't run issue ads that George W. Bush doesn't believe in. I guess the joke about CBS standing for the Conservative Broadcasting System isn't really that much of a joke. So what does that mean for NBC? Possibly the Neo-Con Broadcasting System?

Seems so long ago that I was led to believe that the media was on our side. Stupid history books!

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