CNBC and MSNBC are refusing to air the Freedoms Watch ads that we ran in a post last week. The ads feature testimonials by troops and families of troops who have fought in Iraq and support the mission. They have run on Fox and CNN, but MSNBC and CNBC won’t run them. They’re claiming to have a policy of not airing ads centered on controversial public policy subjects, but according to a letter that Freedoms Watch released today, that explanation doesn’t fly.
For example, the Networks aired an advertisement entitled “Shameless Politicians” sponsored by Move America Forward regarding the war on terror in October 2004. In November 2006, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the American Medical Association entitled “Patient Voice” concerning the controversial issue of access to health care and coverage for the uninsured. During July 2007, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition. Your history of airing other issue advocacy advertisements makes the denial of FW advertisements troubling and raises the issue of whether your denial is based on an editorial disagreement with FW’s message.
These ads are about important issues that will shape our national security policies for years to come. These ads present a point of view that your viewers are not now receiving.
Certainly not if they’re watching Krazy Keith.
I suspect that if pressed, NBC’s next gambit will be to claim that the ads are partisan advocacy, citing FW board member and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer as evidence. As if an ad about universal health care, whichever side it advocates, isn’t in some sense partisan, and as if the war, which continues to have some Democratic support, is inherently partisan. But that might be their next angle of defense.
Or it might be that they know their Olbermann-led audience won’t tolerate anything that even hints at supporting the war.
For more than three hours Monday night, Rep. Brian Baird was verbally flogged by hundreds of his constituents for no longer supporting the quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
More than 500 people packed a high school auditorium in Vancouver while another 175 or so were unable to get inside. And virtually everyone who got a chance to address the Vancouver Democrat were harshly critical – including several who said they had been long-time supporters and friends.
“You have just broken my heart,” said Phil Massey, a Vancouver ship’s pilot who wasn’t swayed by Baird’s explanation that the U.S. was finally starting to make some progress in bringing peace to Iraq. “You have screwed up, my friend. You have screwed up and you have to change course.”
That was two hours into the meeting and the crowd was still loaded for bear as the room broke into loud applause. At several points in the evening, Baird simply leaned against the stage with his arms folded, his head down as he let the crowd vent. But he also vigorously disputed several points made by the speakers and defended his independence from the Bush administration. He insisted that he is taking the courageous path.
“The easiest thing in the world would have been to go over there…and just say, using partisan rhetoric, ‘Get out now,'” he said.
Such voters/Olbermann fans aren’t interested in hearing anything about troops or families who support the war, and certainly aren’t interested in hearing about the on-the-ground realities in Iraq unless they’re unrelentingly negative.
One woman told him the blood of the troops was now on his hands, and several said he was violating the wishes of his constituents.
“We don’t care what your convictions are,” said Jan Lustig of Vancouver. “You are here to represent us.”
Looking a little bit farther afield, just in the past week we’ve had several newspapers censor Opus comics that gently mocked hippies and Islamic radicals, with the Washington Post leading the way by seeking Muslims’ opinions on the cartoons prior to running them (and, ultimately, deciding to spike the cartoons based on part on the Muslims’ reaction). And before that, CNN covered the Mohammed cartoon jihad by spiking those cartoons and instead running a photo of the dung Mary “art.”
I’m not suggesting other than what I’m seeing, which is a media that employs many people who see themselves not as reporters or conduits of information, but as deciders. And the decisions they make tend to skew in one direction.