UCC versus the ad-men and the nutters
You might be aware of NBC's and CBS's decision to ban an ad from the United Church of Christ. The ad "is a 30-second spot that depicts two burly male bouncers standing guard outside a church and choosing who will be allowed to pass a velvet rope and enter. Among those turned away are two men holding hands and several nonwhite people." The ad goes on to suggest that the UCC doesn't discriminate against such people. The Boston Globe (where the previous quote is from) also quotes Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, who probably has the most sensible comment to make on this. Says Thompson: ''They [the networks] don't want to do anything that could possibly incite boycotts or advertiser pullouts. And I could see why network TV would be uncomfortable airing an ad with a benign message, because what happens when a less benign message, perhaps from a fringe religious group, comes along?" Sensible, yes, but also quite sad. It's like so many things with free speech in this advertising-besotted media system: How can we keep the progressive stuff in the public sphere while keeping the advertisers - the only people who really matter - happy, and also keeping the nutters at bay.