Thursday, December 02, 2004

CBS, NBC Bounce UCC Ad

The United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination of 1.4 million, has released a new TV ad. You can see it here. It appears that the image of bouncers turning people away from the door of the church is too hot for CBS and NBC, who have refused to run the ad.

In a news release, the UCC reports receiving the following explanation from CBS;

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies -- and is, therefore, too "controversial."

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact 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 on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot "too controversial."
One would think these networks might recall that 49% of the nation disagrees with the Executive Branch on most things. Or maybe that doesn't matter? In today's political climate, maybe courting favor with the White House is the highest priority? Is CBS jockeying to become the mouthpiece for this administration?

This is a situation that goes beyond the UCC; it should be a concern to us all, as pointed out in the news release;

"The consolidation of TV network ownership into the hands of a few executives today puts freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression in jeopardy," says former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, currently managing director of the UCC's Office of Communication. "By refusing to air the United Church of Christ's paid commercial, CBS and NBC are stifling religious expression. They are denying the communities they serve a suitable access to differing ideas and expressions."
Chuck Currie has more on this. You can send a letter to CBS and NBC here.


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