Friday, January 22, 2010

Focus on the Family Bring messing with The Super Bowl? Sacrilegious!!!

I read an article by Jim Edwards on BNET today, which really got me worked up

It seems the social conservative group Focus on the Family, headed by the always-entertaining “9/11-was-God’s-punishment” James Dobson, has bought itself a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl. For their millions, FOF joins an elite fraternity of deep-pocketed advertisers that includes, Anheuser-Busch and Cash4Gold… all like-minded institutions with a similar political agenda.

Wait, let me get my facts straight. It’s Anheuser-Busch that has a petition out to stop the passage of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Hate Crimes Bill, which increases the penalties on those who commit hate crimes, right? No? Then it must be leading the charge to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. That’s not right either, is it? I got it: Cash4Gold is the company that advocates treating homosexuality as a disease.

No, it’s Focus on the Family that holds all of these positions, but you can bet they won’t be prominently featured during the spot. Instead they’re trotting out All-American Good Guy Tim Tebow to talk about values, family, puppy dogs and ice cream. Awwwww. If you want to get the full quotient of hate, you’ll have to visit their website for that.

So why is FOF joining all of these consumer products and services companies and dropping the gross domestic product of Guam on half a minute’s worth of airtime during the Super Bowl? I’m sure they think their message of intolerance and fundamentalist Christianity should be viewed by the widest audience possible, and since they have the resources, they have every right to secure that viewing. Right?

But honestly, does that message belong there? After all, CBS, which is broadcasting the big game this year, denied an ad by in 2004 critical of then-president George W Bush. (That liberal media bias really is daunting, isn’t it?) Will it eventually become commonplace for organizations with political agendas to save the resources they might put into more constructive pursuits for an advertising nuclear option that, it should be noted, is entirely contingent upon football fans not getting up to get a beer at that exact moment?

Maybe FOF thinks it’s rallying its base, that Joe Sixpack is more likely to be watching the game on Sunday Feb. 7 than shopping at the Berkeley Co-Op. Maybe it’s some of the timely context they’ve been presented with, considering the ongoing challenge to Proposition 8 in California and today’s Supreme Court ruling that legitimizes corporate-funded political messages as free speech. But whatever their internal rationale may be, that message has no place on broadcast television.

Because of their intolerant, abhorrent agenda - and regardless of the actual content of the spot - FOF’s Super Bowl ad is more like one of the hate crimes they seem to want legalized and less like an expression of first amendment rights.

The best way to discourage groups like this, speaking as a viewer, is to make sure that their ad dollars go wasted. If they’re betting on a big audience for their message of intolerance, then don’t give it to them.

I imagine I’ll be up getting a drink when it airs, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

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