January 26, 2004


I got an email from a friend today:

"Dear friend,

During this year's Super Bowl, you'll see ads sponsored by beer companies, tobacco companies, and the Bush White House. But you won't see the winning ad in MoveOn.org Voter Fund's Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest. CBS refuses to air it."
Well, that certainly sounds bad - CBS is willing to air a Bush ad but not an anti-Bush ad. Wait just a second, though: the email originally came from MoveOn.org. So now the question is 'What aren't they telling us?'

What they're not telling us is that the 'Bush White House' ad is from the Office of National Drug Control Policy; in other words, an anti-drug PSA. Hardly a political ad for the President's re-election.

CBS has a policy of not airing advocacy ads on divisive political issues:

CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said the network refused the MoveOn.org ad simply because it's enforcing its "longstanding policy prohibiting advocacy advertising on the CBS network."

As for a Super Bowl ad it accepted from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, he said, that's "an attempt to stamp out drug abuse. If there is a reasonable intellectual argument as to why drug abuse is a good thing, I'd like to know what it is."

It gets weirder, though. While MoveOn admits they have no evidence that the CBS decision was motivated by bias:

MoveOn.org founder Wes Boyd said he had no evidence the ad was rejected because it was anti-Bush, but added: "I worry that it's about ideology."
they insist that the ONDCP ads are indeed divisive:
"At a time when millions of Americans, including federal judges, mayors, governors and members of Congress are questioning the wisdom of continuing the failed war on drugs, the Office of National Drug Control Policy advocacy ads frequently inspire controversy. Indeed, past Super Bowl commercials from the agency, which equated casual drug use with support for international terrorism, have stirred significant debate – and, yes, controversy."
Maybe the "buy a joint, topple the WTC" commercials were a bit over the top, I'll grant them that. But those are the ONLY ones. Are they seriously trying to argue that ads discouraging illegal drug use are policically divisive?

I think my favorite take on this comes from Steve Czaban, a writer for Fox Sports Radio:

"It appears that two million dollars can’t even guarantee you a 30 second ad in this year’s game. The perception is that anybody with that much bling to blow can just walk up and buy a slot. Not so.

The radical left organization MoveOn.org tried to buy a slot so they could air their winner in the “We Hate Bush So Much We’ll Forfeit All Intellectual Credibility” contest. The ad wasn’t racy or over the top (like the Bush = Hitler ad which got pulled from their website), but CBS still said no - on grounds that it or the NFL has never accepted ads during the game that were overtly political or issue oriented.

. . .

Thank God some wacked-out Circuit Court somewhere hasn’t weighed in with a ruling that allows crackpots, cranks, and angry Howard Dean supporters to air these ads and totally ruin our Sunday.

It is a football game, folks. If you want to call attention to saving the crest-lipped tree salamander, post some flyers on telephone polls and yell at the six people who show up. We are here to watch football. Now run along. "

There's also something about a PETA-sponsored ad being turned down, too. I didn't care enough about that issue to look into it. PETAoids, if there are any of you reading this, here's all you need to know about me: every time I see your animal-worshipping organization in the media, I kill an animal and eat it. It's like a carnivorous version of the drinking game Hey Bob.

Posted by Chris at January 26, 2004 12:54 PM


Have you seen these?


Posted by: Steve at January 28, 2004 02:47 PM

Damn. And again, damn.

I think my favorite was Mary Lou: "All these asshole Nazis and shit, doin' all this stuff to the Pale- (oops) Jewish people - Fight Back! They did in the Warsaw ghetto!"

Yeah, great example. Didn't the Nazis kill 56,000 Jews in Warsaw as a result of that?

Posted by: Chris at January 28, 2004 10:31 PM

One other point.

I finally saw the ad that moveon.org wanted to air.

As a conservative, especially fiscally, I'm certainly appalled by the trillion-dollar deficit. My question, though, to moveon.org: Am I supposed to believe the Democratic Party will go against its tax-and-spend legacy and suddenly become the fiscal conservatives?

The Democrats will spend even more money, but I guess, in their minds, I'm supposed to take solace in the fact that I'd be paying for it in heavy taxes now rather than passing it on down the road as Bush seems to be doing.

Some of us don't like either of those options.

Posted by: Steve at February 5, 2004 01:54 PM

I'm inclined to think (in addition to raising taxes, of course) that they'd try to balance the budget on the back of the DoD, kind of like what Clinton did.

Posted by: Chris at February 5, 2004 04:59 PM