Jesus And The, Er, Liberal Media

In the United States, we've been hearing a lot about the liberal media and we've been hearing it for a long time. How the major networks, Time and Newsweek, and virtually every mainstream newspaper in the country are firmly in the grip of the left.

But if that's true, how to explain the fact that a new spot for the United Church of Christ, admittedly one of the most liberal churches in America, has been rejected by all three networks?

The spot features a typical church only there's two white bouncer guys standing out front deciding who can go in and who can't. Needless to say if you're gay, for example, well, sorry dude. We're closed for business. The point being that at the United Church of Christ, everyone is welcome.

Now, you would think it would be just the opposite. You would think that the big bad liberal television establishment would be all too eager to promote a spot like this. Nope. Not even close. In fact, the UCC is claiming CBS, NBC and ABC are caving to pressure from the White House.

Not so, say the execs. We just don't allow advocacy ads. Period. Like Eric Alterman said, "What Liberal Media?"

See the banned commercial here: United Church of Christ - Bouncer

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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caffeinegoddess's picture

I found ">this article yesterday that stated:

The church received a written explanation from CBS, which said the ad is unacceptable because it challenges the exclusion of minorities by other institutions and because "the executive branch (the Bush administration) has recently proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman," according to Knight Ridder.

Now if that's really their reasoning behind not airing the makes no sense and is even more disturbing. Since when is challenging people who exclude minorities a bad thing? And just because two men are holding hands- it doesn't mean they are showing a married couple or even a couple who has entered a civil union. Nothing in the ad claims that they are. So does that mean that anything that shows homosexual couples is "advocacy advertising"?

This is appalling and a very distrubing sign of the times. So much for liberty and justice for all, eh?

AnonymousCoward's picture

It is about the power of influence. The majority of the people in the US are Christian, which read the Bible. The Bible repeatedly states that homosexuality is sin. The majority of Christians hopefully follow this view as the Bible is the true and absolute word of God and does not change even though the popular view of a culture does. So these churchs that welcome and accept homosexuals are sinninig themselves and seen offencive by the majority of Christians. These offended people have influence over what they watch, buy, and do. The last thing the networks want is to offend a large portion of their viewers...

ernieschenck's picture

I understand about the power of influence. So does Howard Stern. So does Abercrombie & Fitch. Personally? I think we've gotten ourselves onto a very slippery slope allowing any group to wield this kind of control over the media, be it left or right, heathen or God-fearing.

That aside, I was just trying to make the point that it seems amusing that all we hear about is how liberal the media is in America and yet here we have that same media rejecting a spot from a politically liberal Christian denomination like the UCC. And if you're right that the networks are trying desperately not to alienate trhe Christian right, then what does that say for their own commitment to the liberal agenda?

Dabitch's picture


Neo's picture

tfbrink - that was a pretty bad first comment, you've missed ernieschencks point completly in your eagerness to show off your bigotry. Please stick to the subject.

ernieschenck's picture

Thanks, Neo. Ever get the feeling you've gotten on the wrong plane?

Neo's picture

NP. There is a simply measure around here, people with no commenting history have no cred, as credability has to be earned. So don't worry about it too much (click the names to see members history).

AnonymousCoward's picture

ernieschenck, I think you're drawing an untenable link between a left-leaning media and a left-leaning denomination's ad. I see no reason to not take the networks on their word here - they don't air issue advocacy ads (regardless of the position) and this ad is saying that gay marriage is acceptable. Case closed. There's no liberal/conservative conspiracy here, although I'm sure there are groups on both sides pushing for their respective agendas.

I'll concede that gay marriage is not the main trust of the ad, but it's obviously in there. And considering gay marriage is such a hot button issue now, I'm not surprised that the networks would play it safe and refuse to air the ad.

Now, if I may actually comment on the advertising itself (heaven forbid), I think this ad makes a fatal mistake - it takes aim at the church when the UCC itself is part of the church. It's like banks that run hit ads against other banks. If you bash the industry, you hurt yourself. While the UCC may see itself different from other denominations, the general public is not so discriminating. By damning other churches, they hurt their own cause as well. Besides it's not really following Jesus' message of "love your neighbor" to bash fellow believers, but that's a post for another thread.

ernieschenck's picture

porthos is right suggesting that the UCC is doing a disservice to all churches with this approach. But I'm not convinced they really care about that. This is an admittedly liberal denomination and this is a deliberately political message. But, yes, it doesn't reflect well on organized religion and that's unfortunate.

As for the link being untenable, you're right. But that was the point. You've got so many red staters who want to believe the media is on this hellbent liberal agenda. I was trying to say that if that's true then why would they not run this spot? Well, just exactly for the reason porthos mentioned. They just don't do advocacy spots. Period.

AnonymousCoward's picture

I have to admit, I'm a little unclear on what you're implying this ad demonstrates. Your original post seemed to implicate that since the networks wouldn't run it, they didn't have the liberal bias that they have been accused of. But now you're saying that chosing not to run the spot has nothing to do with media bias (which I agree with). But that niether confirms nor denies the existance of said bias.

That the major media outlets could have a liberal bias and still chose not to run this ad is not mutually exclusive, IMHO.

AnonymousCoward's picture

I think the only groups that really "wield control" over the media are the FCC and the owners of said networks. Granted, you could factor shareholders into the equation, but let's not kid ourselves.

I would hypothosize that a large number of people would be upset by this ad and that's something the networks have to consider. Pro-hetero marriage reforendums passed with significant majorities throughout the US, so those people would be pissed off. Most American's consider themselves nominally Christian, so they certainly wouldn't like having their churches attacked (which is really the bigger issue). And then you have people that just hate bouncers.

Now, having an interest in not alienating the majority of your viewers is pretty sound business, not political pandering. Would you buy media in an outlet that had a history of pissing off your target?

I personally don't think the major media outlets necessarily have a liberal manifesto by which they plot their every move, checking with Al Gore and the DNC before each upfront. However, I do think it is fairly obvious to say the major news outlets have a left-leaning bias. That's not a moral judgement, that's just an observation from watching decades of news coverage.

But this whole discussion is really the red herring, because the decision to not air the ad was made for a totally non-political/religious/agenda reason - they don't air issue advocacy ads.

ernieschenck's picture

What am I missing here? Okay, last time. We're told the media is liberal. But if they really and truly are, would the networks not subscribe to the same liberal agenda as the UCC and therefore air the spot? The networks are saying flat out that their reason for not doing so is because they have a policy wherein they do not, regardless of political philosophy, air advocacy commercials. Period. Which says to me that maybe they aren't as liberal as they're made out to be by the right. Is that any clearer?

AnonymousCoward's picture

Last time.

You're saying "maybe [the networks] aren't as liberal as they're made out to be by the right" because they didn't run this ad from a liberal group. I'm saying the media could be died-in-the-wool flaming liberal and still not have run the ad because of their business position on issue advocacy ads.

The fact that they didn't run the ad has no bearing whatsoever on proving they don't lean to the left.

ernieschenck's picture

Well, in the interest of derailing this thing, I guess we'll have to agree to diasgree:)

Dabitch's picture