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Thursday December 02, 2004

A scandelous welcome mat

Chuck Currie posted yesterday about a story involving a church's struggle to get its own commercial aired on CBS. To many of those who believe that the American media has a liberal bias, this would hardly seem surprising. After all, many believe that CBS is anti-Bush, anti-conservative, and consequently anti-Christian. So it naturally follows that it would also be hostile to the Christian message, right?

Well, yes and no.

Personally, I don't believe that the media is generally liberal or anti-conservative, CBS included. Let's keep in mind that Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Brit Hume are all part of the media, and that virtually all of the major outlets are owned and operated by the most conservative men in the country. So, considering this, it would not naturally follow that CBS is hostile to the Christian message because it has a liberal bias.

In reality, CBS is hostile to the Christian message because it fears offending the conservative powers that be.

The advertisement in question was a spot promoting the United Church of Christ, a socially progressive Christian denomination that accepts everyone that walks through their doors, including people who are gay. The message of the inappropriate ad was, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." The commercial was intended to highlight their unconditional welcome, but was apparently too scandelous for CBS to air. Currie quotes CBS:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations, and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the networks."

In essence, since the Bush administration is in favor of changing the Constitution to deny gay couples marriage rights, CBS believes that it's inappropriate to run a commercial showing a church welcoming gay people. The message of inclusion is as scandelous today as it was in Christ's time... That's no surprise. But why would an alleged bastion of liberalism refuse to run such an ad? It doesn't make much sense according to conservative logic. Sure, the ad is produced by a church, but it runs contrary to the conservative ideal of exclusivity. This is a liberal ad from a liberal church. What is CBS so afraid of?

Is it the Christian content? The Bush administration crack down? The scorn of conservative media pundits? All of the above? What?

I am neither a member of the United Church of Christ, nor do I care about running television commercials. If it were my money, I'd use it on something other than dramatized television ads aimed at boosting church membership. But such an example of aversion to inclusive Christianity begs the question, is it possible for the media to be both anti-liberal and anti-Christian?

Or is it inevitable?


dude, is that a firefox link i see? are you a new convert?

Shannon on December 2, 2004 03:29 PM

Guilty as charged, Shan.

Death to Internet Explorer!

Drina on December 2, 2004 03:57 PM

*tents fingers a la Mr Burns*


Shannon on December 3, 2004 07:48 AM

I don't know if it is that Big Corps don't want to rock the boat and offend the Republicans because they want to maintain favor with those who will treat them nice, or that people are scared of the real message of Jesus. I honestly don't think it has anything to do with being liberal, but it has to do with not offending those in power. While I don't know if CBS and NBC air other religious commericals. I've seen LDS commericals, but I don't know if they where on the major networks.

It is just sad that inclusiveness is labled offensive. But beer commericals and tv shows about infidelity are fine.

Jake on December 3, 2004 02:55 PM

It's my opinion that the "major" networks are neither right nor left (although I'd probably admit that a predominance of the tech and content people might well be more left, while the executive, management, and general bean-counter types might be more right -- but I'm not here to make that case:); they are, instead, deeply entrenched in a desparate battle to maintain the status quo. Witness the utter dearth of coverage of the Libertarian, Green, Constitutional, and Guns&Dope; Parties (ok, I just threw in the G&D; Party for fun -- I think they ran an ostrich for tzar this time).

Which is, probably, just another way of saying that they don't want to rock the boat and offend the Republicans, Jake.

Access is the lifeblood of traditional network broadcasting (hmmm... I think I committed a redundancy there). Those that ask the wrong questions, or allow the wrong content, are denied accessed.

Delta Foxtrot

Delta Foxtrot on December 10, 2004 04:10 PM