January 30, 2010
As I'm sure you're aware, CBS has given the greenlight to a Super Bowl ad starring Tim Tebow, sponsored by Focus on the Family, in which Tebow and his mom promote their anti-abortion message.
CBS used to have a policy against airing advertisements that advocated for a certain political viewpoint, but they said they've changed that stance recently.
Meanwhile, along comes a gay dating website called ManCrunch.com, and they want to advertise in the Super Bowl, too. They attempt to run the following relatively benign little ad, and CBS says no.
What's the problem? If it's an issue of taste, I don't see where this crosses any lines. You don't see any mouth-to-mouth contact, and it's not like anyone's running their fingers through anyone else's chest hair. It's just an instance of two men deciding they're gay because their hands touch in a potato chip bowl. Happens all the time.
So why reject it? Here's what CBS says, via The Hollywood Reporter:
The network shot down the commercial Friday in a letter to the site -- ManCrunch.com -- saying the "creative is not within the Network's Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday."
Also the network said its sales department had difficulty verifying the credit of the site to guarantee payment of the estimated $2.5 million cost to air the ad.
CBS left itself some wiggle room there. By saying that the creative aspect of the ad isn't up to par -- and I can't say I'd wholly disagree with that assessment; it's a pretty cheap-looking ad -- they halfway cover themselves from accusations of anti-gay discrimination.
I don't buy it, though. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I believe that if it was an equally cheap-looking ad from a straight dating website, there wouldn't be an issue. Since the action is man-on-man, though, someone at CBS doesn't like it (and it wouldn't be the first time CBS was accused of being anti-gay). And if I'm right about that, it means that CBS is the one interjecting political advocacy into the issue, not the company doing the advertising.
And if that's the case, it would mean that their new "Sure, we'll accept advocacy of all kinds" policy would only apply to advocacy that they happened to agree with.
My suggestion? Find a fair compromise for all parties. Air Tebow's Focus on the Family ad, let him and his mother make their pro-life statement, but at the end of it, have Tebow's mom say, "So please, give birth to your child, so he can grow up to be a man ... and find love at ManCrunch.com." Then the camera cuts to Tebow making out with a dude, while his mother smiles proudly at her son and his new partner, Roger.
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