Wednesday, December 01, 2004
CBS and NBC "Just Say No" to Gay Church Spot 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Yet another reason I'd love to boycott network television:
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - CBS has refused to run an ad by a liberal church promoting the acceptance of people regardless of sexual orientation because the network believes the ad is advocacy advertising.

The church also says the ad was banned on NBC.

The 30-second spot, run by the United Church of Christ, features two muscle-bound bouncers standing outside a church, selecting people who could attend service and those who could not. Among those kept out are two males who appear to be a couple. Written text then appears saying, in part, "Jesus didn't turn people away, neither do we."

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast," the church quoted CBS as saying.

A CBS spokesman confirmed that the ad was banned, but would not comment directly about the above statement. "It was against our policy of accepting advocacy advertising," said the spokesman. NBC did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

"It's ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial," said Rev. John Thomas in the statement. "We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome of committed gay couples, that's where they draw the line."

The commercial can be viewed at www.stillspeaking.com. The church says the ad has been accepted on a number of other networks, including ABC Family, BET Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, TBS and TNT.
Interesting that the network considers the scenario portrayed in this ad as "advocacy" - advocating what, exactly? If the ad is advocating anything, it wouldn't be homosexuality, but tolerance - is tolerance considred too 'hot' a topic these days as well? I agree with Rev. Thomas - the "Will & Grace is okay, but heaven forbid..." stance of these two networks is nothing less than hypocritical.

Perhaps there are some nuances I'm unaware of, but there are countless examples of "advocacy advertising" on network TV...military recruiting ads especially come to mind, not to mention ideological public service announcements of all flavors. Does anyone out there know if an ad's "acceptability" hinges on whether the advertisement is paid or aired gratis?