A television ad criticizing the Bush administration for saddling the next generation with today’s debt will not appear during today’s Superbowl broadcast, because CBS refuses to run it. Eli Pariser makes a strong argument that CBS, by hiding behind a policy against advertising concerning controversial issues, is actually protecting its corporate advertisers from criticism.
Notably, the policy has not motivated CBS to avoid airing the administration’s controversial issue ads, including those making the specious link between terrorism and toking. Nor will it prevent CBS from airing this year’s anti-drug ad during the Superbowl, one that attempts in a “subtle” way to link drinking (a favorite Superbowl pastime) and marijuana smoking.
As Senator Durbin (D-IL) remarked, the CBS officials who are protecting the administration from criticism recently succeeded, with the administration’s help, in raising to 39 percent the maximum percentage of television viewers that any single company’s TV stations may reach in a market. According to Senator Durbin,
it just so happens that Viacom, which owns CBS, currently owns stations reaching 38.8 percent of American households, and Rupert Murdoch's news corporation, the owners of that "fair and balanced" Fox Network, owns stations reaching 37.8 percent.
TalkLeft recently reported that moveon.org, the organization seeking to run the ad, is urging Superbowl viewers to change the channel to CNN in order to view the ad that CBS refuses to run. The ad should be running during the halftime show, at 8:10 and 8:35 EST.
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