Working in a tough advertising climate, CBS surprised many Americans by explaining a new policy on advocacy ads after news emerged that it had agreed to show an antiabortion ad featuring Florida QB Tim Tebow and his mom, Pam.
That decision caused an uproar over the ad itself, the sponsor (the conservative organization Focus on the Family), and the prospect of politics seeping into a three-hour block where most Americans are trying to escape from the daily grind.
But after CBS on Friday rejected a potentially controversial ad from ManCrunch, a Toronto-based gay dating site, it opened itself up for criticism – which came fast and furious. The so-called “man-kiss ad” shows two football fans touching hands over a bowl of potato chips, which then leads, as the ad implies, to a make-out session."
CBS has a problem when they do something like this at the same time as they allow an anti-gay group like Focus on the Family to place ads during the Super Bowl,” says Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.) “This network should come clean to the public about what's going on because this seems to be a homophobic double standard."
Well, of course it's a double standard. Interested parties certainly should be unhappy with CBS. Complain loudly if you don't like it. Just don't call it censorship or an affront to free speech.
As owner of their channel, CBS has every right in the world to air, or not air, anything it chooses. They have the right to display any bias they wish with their advertising. That is genuine free speech, when the owner of the medium decides. Indeed, the worst case scenario would be that CBS was made to air an ad it didn't wish to. That's worse than censorship. That's fascism, literally, where one owns a property, but is dictated as to its' use.
As for me, I would love to see other broadcast stations take up the ad. Sure, it's not the same as advertising to the largest TV audience of the year. At the same time, the rejection has generated some buzz that would-be advertisers don't usually enjoy more than a week before the big game.
So, here's what all the fuss is about:
Just doing my part to show that ManCrunch hasn't been censored. Gratis.
(The most objectionable part is showing a Packer and Viking fan embracing. Everyone knows that would never happen.)
Update: Apparently, there is an ad that should be every bit as controversial as these, courtesy of Bud Light. Check out this Reason blog post.