An interesting story has come out today involving the upcoming Super Bowl (go Cardinals!!!). NBC has backed out on its agreement to run an extraordinarily excellent and tear jerking pro-life Super Bowl ad for CatholicVote.org and The Fidelis Center for Law & Policy (the ad was financed by produced by CV.org and financed by TFCLP). I have imbedded the video at the end of this post, so be sure to watch it.
NBC has cited the ad’s “political advocacy and issues” as their reason for nixing the ad. The following is taken from an AFA piece on the development.
“Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, explains there is nothing objectionable in its “life-affirming” message, which features ultrasound pictures of a baby in a mother’s womb.
“The ad actually sparked so much interest, and we started getting e-mails and calls from people who saw the ad [and] wanted to try to put it on the air,” says Burch. “And given the time of year that we’re at, there began a campaign to put it on the Super Bowl.”
Burch says his organization signed a contract with NBC to air the spot, and they were extremely happy — “Until we were informed that NBC, in conjunction with the NFL, was rejecting our ad because it was a political or issue ad,” Burch states, “and they said they have a policy against it.”
The CatholicVote.org spokesman points out in a press statement that NBC appears to be inconsistent in applying its “no advocacy ads” policy. He notes the network rejected an ad produced by PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — because of its suggestive sexual content.
“There’s no doubt that PETA is an advocacy group,” argues Burch. “NBC rejected PETA’s ad for another reason altogether. Our ad is far less provocative and hardly controversial by comparison.”
He respects NBC’s decision but says his group’s pro-life ad is not divisive or confrontational and is not really political. It simply asks people to imagine the potential of every human life.
“And particularly one person’s human life — which I won’t give it away. You’ll have to watch the ad,” he says.”
This to me is an interesting situation. On the one hand, I understand and support NBC’s decision to avoid political advocacy ads, especially during an event as huge as the Super Bowl, but Mr. Burch is correct in pointing out the apparent inconsistency. It smacks of political correctness to me, and I am hard pressed to believe that NBC would turn down an ad from PETA if it was clean. On the other hand (how’s that for a little Tevye?) there are two considerations from NBC’s point of view that need to be mentioned.
1) With the dreadful recent history of sexually charged Super Bowl ads and halftime shows (Janet Jackson + Justin Timberlake at half time and Nicolette Sheridan + Terrell Owens Commercial) NBC has rightfully tightened their standard for sexuality in their ads, so the biggest problem with the PETA ad may have been its sexual suggestiveness (it sounds very racy to me). That just means, its political connotations may have been overshadowed by its raciness, thus no inconsistency in not citing its possible political message as the reason for nixing it.
2) It could be the ad’s sexual suggestiveness may not be bad enough to bother NBC, but they are using it as an excuse to avoid ruffling feathers as a result of running the ad. Most years running politically motivated ads wouldn’t a big problem, but with the heightened political tensions and sensitivities we are currently experiencing it would be risky to run a political ad. If this is true, then NBC’s nixing of both ads seems fair and reasonable enough.
You may be asking, “Why wouldn’t NBC just say they aren’t running PETA’s ad because of the political advocacy angle?” The obvious answer, to me, is to do so would really anger PETA and their many supporters who likely comprise a large portion of NBC’s viewers. It’s an incredibly sad testimony to our society (and media) when we place ads celebrating life on the same level as advocacy for the ethical treatment of animals, but that seems to be where we are.
At the end of the day I would encourage CatholicVote.org to not get too upset about this, which it would seem is thankfully not the case. Yes, there is some inconsistency in NBC’s actions, and there might be a lot of inconsistencies in NBC’s past. I don’t have television and don’t believe in spending too much time watching it besides, so I am no expert on NBC. But, CV.org’s case doesn’t seem strong enough to warrant dying on this hill. Maybe there will be further developments lending weight to their case, but I doubt it.
The ad may not run during the Super Bowl, but it is still an excellent to perfect ad, and they need to concentrate on using it elsewhere to spread the message.
Of course, I would be elated if NBC ran the ad, but I realize that there are several valid, albeit sad reasons contributing to their decision to not run it.
As usual I welcome all thoughts my viewers might wish to share. 🙂
God bless and veritas supra omnis!
P.S. If possible, send a link to the ad (or even this blog post! 😉 to your friends so they can see it. This has to be the best pro-life ad ever when all factors are considered. Don’t be discouraged by NBC’s refusal to run it…it can still be used to powerfully to influence millions of we utilize the internet to spread it around.