Ad Welcoming Gays is Unwelcome to Networks
In what seems intended as a witty, yet serious message of inclusiveness to gay Christians, the United Church of Christ recently developed its first television advertising campaign. The ad depicts a church whose doors are barred by a velvet-rope barricade, manned by beefy security guards, in the manner of an exclusive club. The bouncers admit some people, but turn away others who appear to be gay or part of a same-sex couple. The tag line: "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."
Relinquishing all claim to being even "so-called liberal" media, both NBC and CBS have refused to air the ad, saying it is "too controversial. " The UCC's own press release quotes CBS's letter rejecting the ad. The media giant's reasoning is a model of conservative doublespeak:
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.Josh Marshall points out in today's TPM that we have come to a sad pass when an entire political campaign season can be fueled by millions of dollars of patently false ads, creating all manner of phony, over-hyped controversies. Yet a mild and responsible ad such as this one, speaking to a matter of important national debate is deemed unacceptable for the public airwaves.
Marshall suggests that the ads may be unacceptable precisely because they speak to a controversy, or perhaps merely because they speak about homosexuals. The Peach finds an even more alarming message in CBS's language. Essentially, they are saying that they find the ad unacceptable because it advocates the acceptance of gays in church and society, and the White House doesn't approve of that sort of thing.
How is this kind of right-aligned self-censorship any different from the government simply telling our media what they can and can't say? The result is the same, and The Peach finds it very sobering indeed.