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No surprise

Dear friend of MoveOn,

During this year's Super Bowl, you'll see ads sponsored by beer companies, tobacco companies, and the Bush White House. But you won't see the winning ad in MoveOn.org Voter Fund's Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest. CBS refuses to air it.

Meanwhile, the White House is on the verge of signing into law a deal which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says is custom-tailored for CBS and Fox, allowing the two networks to grow much bigger. CBS lobbied hard for this rule change; MoveOn.org members across the country lobbied against it; and now our ad has been rejected while the White House ad will be played. It looks an awful lot like CBS is playing politics with the right to free speech.

Over the last year, you've been a part of our incredible campaign against media consolidation. CBS's censorship demonstrates why this issue is so important: a few big media companies can effectively stop political speech. If we can successfully highlight CBS's unfairness in the media, we'll be able to push forward our FCC campaign as well.

To watch the ad that CBS won't air and sign our petition to CBS, go to:

(If you want to skip the ad and just sign the petition, click here.)

We'll deliver the petition by email directly to CBS headquarters.

You also may want to let your local CBS affiliate know you're unhappy about this decision. We've attached a list of the CBS affiliates in your state at the bottom of this email. Remember, a polite, friendly call will be most effective -- just explain to them why you believe CBS' decision hurts our democracy.

Of course, this is bigger than just the MoveOn.org Voter Fund. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) submitted an ad that was also rejected. But this isn't even a progressive-vs.-conservative issue. The airwaves are publicly owned, so we have a fundamental right to hear viewpoints from across the ideological spectrum. That's why we need to let CBS know that this practice of arbitrarily turning down ads that may be "controversial" -- especially if they're controversial simply because they take on the President -- just isn't right.

CBS will claim that the ad is too controversial to air. But the message of the ad is a simple statement of fact, supported by the President's own figures. Compared with 2002's White House ad which claimed that drug users are supporting terrorism, it hardly even registers.

CBS will also claim that this decision isn't an indication of political bias. But given the facts, that's hard to believe. CBS overwhelmingly favored Republicans in its political giving, and the company spent millions courting the White House to stop FCC reform. According to a well-respected study, CBS News was second only to Fox in failing to correct common misconceptions about the Iraq war which benefited the Bush Administration -- for example, the idea that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11.

This is not a partisan issue. It's critical that our media institutions be fair and open to all speakers. CBS is setting a dangerous precedent, and unless we speak up, the pattern may continue. Please call on CBS to air ads which address issues of public importance today.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The MoveOn.org Team
January 23rd, 2003


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2004 11:05 am (UTC)
Ha. I posted about this in my journal just now, too.


Except, we're not.
Jan. 27th, 2004 11:27 am (UTC)
movin' out...
pack your bags georgie boy...you and the rest of your fuck buddies, your porcine-faced wife and your ugly offspring are gonna be so outta there...just like your daddy...hahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!

liberal and damn proud of it!!!!!!
Jan. 27th, 2004 12:52 pm (UTC)
if they hadn't allied themselves with peta, i would have been willing to sign the petition.

networks reject ads all the time, and i could definitely see how the peta ad would be considered offensive to a general viewing audience (beyond the fact that it's misleading).

also, the white house ad is actually from the office of drug control policy; not political as such. whatever one thinks of the country's 'drug war', these types of ads have been de rigeur for years (and can anyone argue that teaching children to avoid drugs is a bad thing?). moveon has a decent-enough argument without resorting to tired rhetoric & poor comparisons.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )