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That Super Bowl Ad: It’s Not About The First Amendment

January 28, 2010

There’s been a spirited media discussion about Focus on the Family's anti-choice ad, which many progressive organizations are asking CBS to pull from the Super Bowl lineup. “Free speech” is a common theme. Asking CBS to pull the Super Bowl ad is not about censorship or free speech – it's about pulling a divisive agenda out of an event that is meant to unite Americans. TV execs make decisions every day about what they will and will not air in consideration of their viewers – networks don't practice a policy of anyone can say whatever they want, whenever they want. Bottom line, this is the first time a contentious ad has been allowed to air during the Super Bowl. CBS and the NFL are choosing to inject the abortion debate into the Super Bowl, pretending that it's an innocuous celebration of life, when we all know that you don’t spend millions of dollars to “celebrate life.” Now CBS is asking progressives to DontSitontheSidelineshelp sell their ad time, but sports fans want the Super Bowl to remain about football, and we believe Americans deserve a more nuanced discussion of women's reproductive health than a 30-second ad war could provide (and perhaps there are more important things that millions of dollars could be spent on). We don't stand in opposition to other campaigns and are pleased that this conversation is happening. In the last two days through the WMC's email campaign, over 5,000 people have sent 150,000 letters to CBS, NFL, and Super Bowl advertising executives, and we are keeping up the drumbeat. Check out our newly updated campaign page, where we are encouraging people to send in their videos of what C-B-S stands for ("Corporate Bias Sucks") with video to