Monday, June 21, 2004

CBS is a shill for the right-wing

Why you're right:

1. CBS refused to run an ad from MoveOn.org. The MoveOn.org ad – which they were planning to run during the 2004 Super Bowl – explored the mounting budget deficits since George W. Bush has been president. At the time CBS said, "Our policy is long-standing and clear. We do not run contentious messages that are clearly divisive." (Ad Week)

2. CBS agreed to run an ad from right-wing group. CBS ran an ad yesterday by the right wing group Citizens United, attacking former President Clinton's counterterrorism record. (Newsday)

3. CBS agreed to run the administration's Medicare ad. The ads – produced at taxpayer expense by the Bush presidential campaign's media firm – was partisan and misleading. The ad prompted a General Accounting Office investigation into whether the ad constituted improper expenditure of taxpayer money for political purposes. (American Progress, GAO)

4. CBS refused to run a mini-series chronicling Ronald Reagan's life. The network bowed to pressure from conservatives who felt that it wasn't a flattering enough portrayal of the former president. Even CBS admitted that everything in the film was verifiably accurate. (NYT)

Why they're wrong:

CBS tries to avoid criticism for the anti-Clinton advertisement by claiming it aired on CBS affiliates which are not obligated to abide by network policies. But it is much more expensive and logistically complicated to buy ads on every affiliate than to make a single purchase with the national network. By restricting ads on network advertising time but placing no restrictions on affiliate time CBS is giving a distinct advantage to moneyed business interests over grassroots advocacy organizations. At the same time – since viewers can't differentiate between a network and an affiliate ad – CBS's policy does not seem to uphold any discernable principle.

A better idea:

CBS should let everyone run advocacy ads on their network – not just right-wingers.