Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CBS and the Anti Choice Ad

So, the feminist blogosphere is all a-buzz about the Superbowl advertisement which will be telling the story of how Tim Tebow's mother chose* life and now her son is an amazing football star and blah, blah, blah. The real problem, feminist bloggers have asserted over and over again, is that CBS previously held the position of disallowing "advocacy ads" but suddenly changed their position and allowed this spot. In fact, they are a lot more intimately involved with this adverstisement than it first appeared. (Keep in mind that they've denied PETA,, and The United Church of Christ in the past, and a gay dating website this year.)

Naturally, I found this annoying, so when I saw friends posting a link on Facebook for people to write to CBS standing up against this choice, I sent the email and also posted the link. Then the opposition on Facebook started to speak up...even though the article I posted said:

"CBS has decided to air an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl, despite years of refusing to run "advocacy ads" by progressive groups. Whatever your opinions, the Super Bowl is not the time or place for an abortion debate. Please take a stand with me and go here:"

Here's what the central thesis of the outcry against this posting was...followed by my ideas on why these theses are foolish.

1) CBS can air the commercials of anyone who is willing to pay. It's their decision.

What's wrong with this idea is that it supposes that CBS is simply catering to the money provided to pay for the ad (which is a reported $3 million spent by Focus on the Family. Think what $3 million could have done if it was actually spent helping women...) However, the fact of the matter is that in the past CBS has denied the groups I mentioned above the opportunity to air their advertisements. Was their money not as good? Was CBS some different kind of business then that didn't care about profits? CBS is clearly picking and choosing when and when not to air ads and promoting a particular agenda over others. That's what the problem is.

2) CBS is a business and will act in their best interests...

I quote, "the Superbowl has a bigger demographic of Christian families [than] leftist feminists." This argument rests on the premise that CBS is just being smart and catering to the interests and beliefs of the people who watch the Superbowl. (Now I might actually believe this when it comes to vetoing material they might see as damaging to their image, like...oh...say tons of advertisements with scantily clad women in them. But that's not what CBS is doing, is it? They're actually specifically promoting certain material, but I digress.)

I can hardly wait to address everything that is wrong with this perspective:
A) First of all, are you really suggesting that someone cannot be both a leftist feminist and a Christian? Or be pro-choice and a Christian?
B) If we are going to agree that the majority of people who watch the Superbowl are "Christian families," (and let's go with the assumption that a majority of them are already anti choice) then do they REALLY need an advertisement extolling the virtues of not getting abortions? I thought advertisements were to persuade someone to buy a certain product, believe something, or do something specific, that they might not otherwise do. Then isn't the Superbowl an incredibly silly, and perhaps even inappropriate place to air this? I mean, there aren't public service announcements telling people to breathe air, for a reason. Hmm...something just isn't adding up.
C) Furthermore, if we're going to start talking about the demographic that actually watches the Superbowl, (and let's continue with the theme of extremely sweeping generalizations) then couldn't we say that the majority of people watching the Superbowl are actually most likely MALE and therefore have no legal say in the actual decision to carry a baby to term or not (according to legal precedent.) Doesn't this make this an even more foolish choice as far as catering to your demographics go? Unless, maybe, you have a certain agenda and you want to promote a very specific viewpoint. Hmm again...

3)...It's not like they're the government, after all!

This follow up to #2 is under the argument that CBS can cater to their audience while the government would have to be more diplomatic to all viewpoints and people. This is laughable, because it rests on the premise that the government does treat all people fairly. (Because, you know, access to education and legal marriage, to name a few, are the same for ALL people, right?) But beyond that, I don't think that CBS is like the government, or should be held to a government like standard...but I do think that the media holds a special place in American society, CBS included. They are part of the long standing tradition of at least attempting to be partial and unbiased. (Even though we usually know which way each media source slants.) It's just sad to me when the media is so incredibly transparent about its political agenda and isolates already marginalized groups.

So while I'm on the topic...I thought I'd mention the Sarah and Bristol Palin In Touch magazine cover, that proudly declares they chose* life. Of course, I would wager that most women who do choose* to have their babies don't regret their decisions and love their babies and would never come out and say "I wish I had an abortion." On the other hand, however, I know there are women who also do not regret their abortions, despite the fact that we are told that all women who have them do. Just some food for thought.

Point is they had a choice...

*Special emphasis on this particular word :)


  1. As much as I love how good of a writer you are, I gotta stop reading your blog. These articles just make me angry for the state we're in. I'm so sick of the right being hypocrites, scoundrels, and just plain idiots. I mean, seriously, most of the people who are for the ad playing during the Super Bowl can't argue their way out of a paper bag. They spout off mindless points they were fed through their party. None of them think for themselves.

    Sorry, I'm just really angry right now.

  2. I know what you mean but don't stop're like my only loyal follower :)

  3. Hey, I'm a loyal follower too!

    But I don't care about the content or message of the ad even though I'm pro-choice. The only thing that annoys me greatly is that CBS should all advocacy ads or none instead of picking and choosing.

  4. Sorry, Pat! I didn't forget you, I just didn't know if you'd consider yourself a loyal follower of mine. :)

    And that opinion is totally legit. It's really my main beef w/ the whole situation. That's what makes them clearly promoting a specific agenda. If they allowed all advocacy ads that met FCC standards and such, they'd be presenting no agenda at all.


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