CBS Allows Anti-Choice SuperBowl Ad Despite “No Advocacy in Advertising” Policy


Earlier this week we reported on the announcement by Focus on the Family that it would spent upwards of $2.5 million to air a “life- and family-affirming
television ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 featuring 2007
Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam.  Reports indicated the ad would “likely to be
an anti-abortion message
chronicling Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a
mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by
doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim.”

Today, Amanda Terkel of Thinkprogress reports that according to MediaDailyNews CBS yesterday approved the Focus on the Family script:

CBS executives approved a script for a Super Bowl spot from evangelical group Focus on the Family, which suggests the ad will not carry a pro-life message — at least an overt one.

The network has a policy of prohibiting advocacy ads, even
ones that carry an “implicit” endorsement for a side in a public debate.

A CBS spokesman did say the network will review the video version of
the spot before giving it the final green light, but does not
anticipate any hurdles.

Terkel points out that the networks and the NFL have repeatedly rejected advocacy ads —
including by progressive organizations.

In 2004, CBS rejected
MoveOn.org’s 30-second ad about President Bush, which Salon called “a low-key attack on Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility
that’s unlikely to make anyone very angry.” The network has said that
it doesn’t accept spots where “substantial elements of the community
(are) in opposition to one another.” Last year, NBC rejected a
30-second public service announcement about marriage equality. Anti-consumerist activist Kalle Lasn and PETA have also had their ads turned down under the “no advocacy” policy.

But lo and behold, the policy leaves room for interpretation such that virulent anti-choice–and I would argue anti-family–organizations such as Focus get to air their messages. Terkel quotes Alex Jones, director of the Joan
Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard,
as saying:

The rules are exactly what the owner of the news medium wants them to be, and they are not rules, they are simply choices.
For many news organizations, the rules are governed by such things as
taste and accuracy. In the case of some, the question of taste slips
over into finding the message disagreeable or believing that the
audience would find that message disagreeable. The long and short of it is they don’t have to run any advertisement they don’t want to.

So despite the stated policy, which ostensibly is in place to provide uniformity and transparency in decision-making, the networks clearly do what they want. 

Terkel writes that last year:

ThinkProgress documented that NBC ran anti-smoking and anti-steroids ads, even though it rejected the marriage equality ad and a pro-life ad because it was supposedly banning all advocacy spots. In the past, CBS also approved “an anti-smoking spot,
a public service announcement about AIDS, and a commercial from the
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy” during the Super
Bowl.

So, she states, "even though CBS accepted Focus on the Family’s ad and the network
has a “no advocacy” policy, CBS may still allow the group to advocate a
right-wing position."

Makes sense, huh?

Like I said before, let’s see if Focus can put its money on families in which women and children face domestic abuse at the hands of violent partners (since shelters are hurting desperately in this economic environment) and if they do some ads encouraging all those pro-lifers to vote for funding to support the families now without sufficient food or health care, or the devastating effects of the loss of jobs.

I guess it is just that much easier to just keep the focus on controlling women. 

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  • alisa

    I’m so glad Focus on the Family is supporting women and families by suggesting that if women just ignore their doctor’s recommendations, they will give birth to a Heisman Trophy winner.

     

    I remember leaving the room to watch the MoveOn.org ad in 2004. Now I’ll have to leave the room to not throw up in front of everyone.

  • harry834

    couldn’t find phone, but is a comment section: http://www.nfl.com/contact-us

     

    CBS: http://www.cbs.com/info/user_services/fb_global_form.php

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    Tomorrow, RH Reality Check will join our colleagues at the Women’s Media Center in a campaign on this issue. We will keep our readers posted as soon as action info becomes available.

    Best to all,

    Jodi

  • derekp

    "let’s see if moveon.org and gettoknowusfirst.org can put their money on families in which women and children face domestic abuse at the hands of violent partners (since shelters are hurting desperately in this economic environment) and if they do some ads encouraging all those liberals to donate money to support the families now without sufficient food or health care, or the devastating effects of the loss of jobs.
    I guess it is just that much easier to just keep the focus on attacking republicans and traditional marriage."

     

    So it’s okay to complain about groups like Focus on the Family spending large amounts of money to promote their message, but no one on the Left seems to complain if groups like moveon.org and pro-gay marriage groups spend large amounts of money to promote their own agendas instead of using the money to help "real people." But then again, if you don’t think the unborn are real people who should be advocated for, I understand the frustration. But show why they aren’t people who deserve protection instead of just whining about how others spend their money.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I don’t think that zygotes are "real people" with the rights of born people, but that is beside the point. The entire agenda of MoveON.org and of LGBT organizations *is* to fight for the equity and equality of real people struggling with real discrimination, poverty, lack of rights and other issues on a daily basis, and just like the parent counseled to put on their oxygen mask first in an emergency, taking care of those extant, born people is a precursor to sustaining life for (chosen, wanted births) generations to come.

     

    Moreover the issue here is *not* whether FoF gets to have its ad, but the very fact that CBS and others has denied MoveOn and others placement of ads on a basis of "no advocacy," but is allowing FoF to have an advocacy ad.

     

    C’mon Derek, even you have to see the double standard there.

  • prochoiceferret

    So it’s okay to complain about groups like Focus on the Family spending large amounts of money to promote their message, but no one on the Left seems to complain if groups like moveon.org and pro-gay marriage groups spend large amounts of money to promote their own agendas instead of using the money to help "real people."

    Um, the whole point of "their own agendas" is "helping ‘real people.’" Or do you consider the poor, minorities, and LGBTQ folks to count as "fake people?"

    But then again, if you don’t think the unborn are real people who should be advocated for, I understand the frustration.

    Why do Republicans not support funding for prenatal services for those who can’t afford it?

    But show why they aren’t people who deserve protection instead of just whining about how others spend their money.

    Just a reminder, DerekP… these not-yet-fully-formed "people" happen to reside inside very fully-formed people, a.k.a. pregnant women, who don’t appreciate being forced to remain pregnant against their will.

  • prochoicegoth

    You did not just compare FoF’s anti-choice agenda to the gay rights movement, did you? If you cannot tell the difference between people DEMANDING a woman become a walking incubator against her will, and the gay community, which is composed of SENTIENT PEOPLE, fighting for equality, then that is very sad. 

     It’s pro-choice or NO choice.

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    Here’s some history about women’s struggle in pre-Roe America:

     

    Doctors could perform so-called therapeutic abortions to save a mother’s life, but hospital committees were unresponsive to procedural requests. A private patient might find a sympathetic doctor, a poor patient almost never. Doctors might refuse an abortion if they discovered the patient was unmarried.

    Leslie Reagan, author of When Abortion Was a Crime, describes one doctor as saying, “Now that she has had her fun, she wants us to launder her dirty underwear. From my standpoint she can sweat this one out. Pregnancy, Reagan points out, “exposed an unmarried woman’s sexual activity." This hostile physician acted on the common view that such a woman deserved the shame of pregnancy and childbearing out of wedlock as punishment for her sexual behavior, (and perhaps pleasure).

     

    Wealthy women could fly to Japan or Puerto Rico or Mexico for the procedure, but not everyone was that fortunate. Women told of abortionists who demanded sex in return for an operation, and of being forced to endure an abortion without anesthesia. Underground referral services blossomed: Between 1969 and 1973, a Chicago group called Jane routed between 11,000 and 12,000 women to practitioners. In 1971, there was published a guide to the Clergy Consultation Service, a group that helped 6,000 women between 1967 and 1973.


    The need for safe medical abortions was clear. Dr. Robert Hall, founder of the Association for the Study of Abortion, wrote in a 1970 article that hospitals were treating 350,000 post abortion patients with complications a year. 500 hundred a year were dying.

    Other sources estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 women died each year from illegal abortions. Yet these figures alone did not create a climate for change. A poll in 1965 found that a majority of Americans supported the American Law Institute’s abortion law model: A woman was entitled to an abortion if her physical or mental health were endangered, if she had been a victim of rape or incest, or if there were fetal deformities. 12 states agreed, but reform became bogged down.

     

    Catholics argued on the floor of state legislatures that abortion was murder and that the innocent unborn had a greater right to life than mothers did.


    In a Georgetown Law Journal article, Eugene Quay argued that a woman who was willing to sacrifice her child for her own health was lacking something. “It would be in the interests of society to sacrifice such a mother,” he wrote, “rather than sacrifice the child who might prove to be normal and decent and an asset.”

     

    As a woman, especially as a pro-choice woman who fights for equal rights for women, minorities, and GLBT citizens who are already-born people, I am avoiding enriching powerful interests that support patriarchy, the conscription of unwilling women into childbirth chattel slavery (even at peril to our lives), and the "traditional values" agenda being pushed which promote denying full equal rights to women and doing the same to gays where ever possible.

     

    I used to be an organ donor. I have changed that when I renewed my drivers’ license this past year. As long as women are not human enough for harm against us via forced birth to matter, as long as we’re denied equal rights as citizens, and as long as gays are denied equal rights because of not having "productive" (procreation purpose) sex; then I, as a woman, am not human enough for the possibility of my oppressors to benefit from use of my organs should I die an untimely accidental death.

     

    I will change my position and once again decide to become an organ donor once women have equal rights in this country — and yes, that includes a healthcare act that includes access to abortion since pregnancy and childbirth are non-benign medical conditions.

     

    When I am no longer oppressed by powerful over-privileged interest groups like the Roman Catholic Church, Focus on the Family, the Heritage Foundation, the Council for National Policy, and the Family Research Council  — all lily-white rich white male dominated seeking to maintain patriarchy (and enslavement of women) at the cost of women’s lives, liberty, health, and wellbeing — then, and only then, will I become an organ donor. When I am human enough for MY rights and MY life to matter.

     

    My body, my life. My right.

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute."

  • kater7

    I have already emailed a complaint to CBS and I think all women should do the same. And if we could get some of you pro-women men, well, that would make all the difference, since I imagine CBS thinks women don’t actually watch the SuperBowl.

  • colleen

    Catholics argued on the floor of state legislatures that abortion was murder and that the innocent unborn had a greater right to life than mothers did.

     

     

     

    It’s quite clear to me that the Catholic church and most of the ‘pro-life’ movement still  believes this and with an endlessly strident self righteousness. Indeed we occasionally see some conservative Christian male here bragging about his wife’s willingness to die in pregnancy. Bragging and proud. I cannot imagine being married to such a ‘man’,

    It’s odd how the most shocking and cruel attitudes towards women and girls are justified and normalized by religious fundamentalists.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • gram

    I would like to see an in-depth article really investigating the advantages or disavantages for women who choose abortion. I don’t condemn women who have one, but in my experience, women who have, suffer from depression, marriage problems and suicidal thoughts. I have also heard that the same women have increased health problems i.e. increased breast cancer, future pregnancy and child developement problems, etc. I think it would be great for women to have all of the facts before they make such a life altering decision. Would anyone address these issues in a future article?

  • prochoiceferret

    I would like to see an in-depth article really investigating the advantages or disavantages for women who choose abortion.

    Advantages: Avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, which may lead to medical complications up to and including DEATH; avoiding the birth of a child that one neither wants nor is prepared for mentally, emotionally and/or financially.

    I don’t condemn women who have one, but in my experience, women who have, suffer from depression, marriage problems and suicidal thoughts.

    Some do. Just like some patients of cosmetic surgery have their own demons to fight. The vast majority of women who have abortion, however, are perfectly fine with the procedure and glad to have undergone it.

    I have also heard that the same women have increased health problems i.e. increased breast cancer, future pregnancy and child developement problems, etc.

    Actually, this is just anti-choice propaganda, not a real-world concern. If you review the actual studies, and leave out the bias/exaggeration, none of these "increased health problems" exist beyond statistical significance—and they are all outweighed anyway by the risks of full-term pregnancy, which puts extreme stresses on the body.

    I think it would be great for women to have all of the facts before they make such a life altering decision.

    What makes you think they don’t? Medical informed-consent laws have been in place for a long time, and it’s not like women going in for an abortion are any less intelligent than other kinds of medical patients.

  • princess-rot

    If your argument in favor of making all women face mandatory motherhood is that you chose to keep your pregnancy*, you need a better argument. Choice is not a one-way street.

    *Let’s not forget that Pam Tebow had expert 24-hr medical care in a state-of-the-art hospital all the way, was able to take two months from whatever it was she did for bedrest, and had a supportive, wealthy family who were presumably able to foot the bill. This is not a luxury most people have. I just love the underlying message that if you are not Pam Tebow, you don’t deserve a choice at all.

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    Indeed we occasionally see some conservative Christian male here
    bragging about his wife’s willingness to die in pregnancy. Bragging and
    proud.

     

    Well you see, many such ‘men’ view women as disposable vaginal respirators. They don’t see women and girls as human enough for harm to us to matter. Even with modern medical technology and the best of medical care (that only the rich get), women still die from pregnancy and childbirth in the US. The US ranks as 38th in the world for an abysmal maternal mortality rate. Our maternal morbidity rate is even worse, considering that for every woman who dies from pregnancy and childbirth, at least twenty others are permanently maimed and/or disabled from it. 

     

    Dead women in the name of "pro-life" leaves no pious playboy, rapist, or pedophile behind. The "merry widowers" can count on a fresh supply of trophy wives to replace women who die or who sustain severe, long-term, or permanent childbirth injuries. 

     

    And for those left with permanent debilitating medical problems as a result of pregnancy and childbirth? They’re kicked to the curb and told "Sorry, I’m just not that into you" — a common fate suffered by women at the hands of Christian patriarchs in the Quiverfull movement and in the isolated FLDS communities where the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is hundreds of miles away across the Arizona desert.

     

    Flora Jessop, an escapee of the FLDS who helps young girls flee forced arranged polygamous marriages ordered by the "prophet"can tell you of first hande eyewitness experience of women who die in their early 30′s from having "their innards fall out" from repeated cycles of pregnancy and childbirth. In the FLDS communities of Hildale, UT and Colorado City, AZ, the life expectancy for women is 32 years of age. Similar premature death rates for women due to pregnancy and childbirth are also found among the low-key Quiverfull sects, as attested to by ex-Quiverfuller Vyckie Garrison Bennett. This is one of the "pro-life" movement’s dirtiest, best kept secret.

     

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute."

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    gram: "I have also heard that the same women have increased health problems
    i.e. increased breast cancer, future pregnancy and child developement
    problems, etc."

     

    Here are only some of the facts you might be interested in: elevated estrogen and other "pregnancy hormones" during pregnancy can cause, or exacscerbate various different cancers. And a pregnant woman cannot get chemo or radiation or any medically known effective cancer treatment unless she terminates the pregnancy.

     

    Another health problem that is FINALLY being acknowledged is the severity and frequency of post-natal PTSD (on top of, and in addition to post-partum depression). Birth Trauma Canada has some excellent reference material on this subject of childbirth-related PTSD and just how severe it is for the woman thusly impacted, as well as her family and/or partner who suffer by proxy (unless he pulls a Levi Johnson number and doesn’t care after bailing, except when it comes time to face a court order for child support). And remember, a traumatized mother is NOT a healthy mother!

     

    If you go to the ACOG, JAMA, BMJ, and The Lancet, you will also find credible sources that (albeit, very conservatively) address the fact that more women end up with PTSD and post-partum depression on top of permanent or very long-term physical impacts and health consequences directly caused from enduring pregnancy and childbirth.

     

    Some of those physical consequences include, but are not limited to:

     

    gestational-related diabetes (that sometimes never goes away)

    placenta previa

    ecclampsia

    hemorrhaging

    cancer

    molar pregnancy

    sepsis

    embolism

    pelvic organ prolapse

    fecal and/or urinary incontinence (not curable through Kegel exercizes, and not always 100% correctable with surgery)

    spine and/or hip damage

    parasympathetic nerve damage to the pelvic region and genital tract

    maimed/severely injured genital tract from third or fourth degree tears and/or episiotomies

    scalp hair loss

    damage to the ligaments and tendons which buttress the entire pelvic floor

    impairment to future childbearing for a WANTED and PLANNED pregnancy and birth of a WANTED child.

     

    In my book, Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie, I list the entire 4 pages of negative health impacts (which were obtained from JAMA, ACOG, BMJ, and The Lancet). Please feel free to read it. It is of paramount importance that whatever a woman chooses, her choice is a fully informed one.

     

    This current geopolitical climate does not provide full and accurate information because it is very slanted and biased (and medically non-factual/inaccurate)with anti-choice propaganda; some of which are outright lies. 

     

    Women and girls seeking an early term abortion (defined as being within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) are compelled by state and federal laws to review pro-life literature that does NOT mention all of the risks to a woman’s health and life that continuing a pregnancy, even a "good" pregnancy, commonly entails. Instead, they are told how they will be murdering a baby if they get an abortion.

     

    Abortion providers are also slapped with a gag rule that prohibits them from fully informing potential abortion patients of the risks of childbirth vs. the risks associated with abortion.

     

    The medical information sources I just gave you, in addition to Birth Trauma Org and the WHO sources, point to a staggering ratio of risks: the risk of dying from pregnancy and childbirth is eleven times as high than from a safe legal abortion. That ratio does not take into account women of advanced maternal age (over age 35) and those with pre-existing medical conditions (epilepsy, diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, depression, etc.)  

     

     

     

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute."

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    colleen: "It’s odd how the most shocking and cruel attitudes towards women and
    girls are justified and normalized by religious fundamentalists."

     




    For some unkown reason to me (I am not very computer savvy), I cannot seem to get the formatting to work correctly for me in trying to copy/paste a very informative article here that I copied to Word and tried to paste in this message window. (I also can’t seem to get the blockquote html formating to work for me in these posts, either.)

    Anyway, the article referenced is a rather lengthy examination and treatment of why it is perfectly logical for such cruel attitudes against women and girls are normalized in this country due to religion and institutionalized misogyny and sexism: it is rooted in their doctrine, in Genesis 3:16 to be precise.

     

    Since I could not correctly paste the cumbersome article here to share it, I have included the link. Please read it and you will gain some understanding why religious fundamentalists feel perfectly justified in maintaining oppression, discrimination, and outright abuse against women and girls.

     

     

     

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute."

  • jzyehoshua

    Ironic indeed that NARAL would be complaining about the advocacy ads of others. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of its founding members admitted, “We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one, knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.”

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30098

    For having sold the American people with a campaign of lies, ironic that now you complain about the advertising of others which uses no such distortions.

    Bottom line – we should be erring on the side of making sure we are not taking a human life, as opposed to seeing how close we can skirt that line. With ‘rights’ ought to come responsibility and commitment. No one’s choice should surpass the boundary of another’s nose, your rights stop where another’s begin. Life is an inalienable right given by the Creator, according to the declaration of independence. The right to one’s body does not include murder, yelling fire in a crowded opera house, rape, etc. Right to one’s body is not inalienable. It stops where another’s right to life starts.

  • jzyehoshua

    NARAL got abortion legalized through a mass advertising campaign to gain public support for Roe v. Wade. Now that the other side wants to advertise about the other side, you are all for silencing their right to speak. Liberals are only for freedom of speech when its their speech at stake.