CBS Tuesday (Jan. 26) stood behind its decision to take a Super
Bowl ad from Focus on the Family that has drawn fire from reproductive choice
organizations. The network said it does not reject advocacy ads out of hand,
and added that it would consider "responsibly produced ads from all
groups" for the "few" remaining spots in the broadcast.
"We have for some time moderated our approach to
advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect
public sentiment or industry norms on the issue," CBS said in an
e-mailed statement Tuesday. "In fact, most media outlets have
accepted advocacy ads for some time. At CBS, our standards and practices
process continues to adhere to a process that ensures all ads -- on all sides
of an issue -- are appropriate for air.
"We will continue to consider responsibly produced ads
from all groups for the few remaining spots in Super Bowl XLIV," the
That came in response to the announcement that the Women's Media Center,
National Organization For Women and more than two dozen other groups have
launched a campaign to pressure CBS into pulling a Super Bowl
"pro-life" ad bought by Focus on the Family.
That campaign includes a letter it delivered to CBS today,
according to a spokeswoman, and e-mails its members are sending today to CBS,
the NFL, and advertisers in the game.
letter calls on CBS to reject what the groups call an anti-choice ad that
advances Focus on the Family's Agenda.
They argue that CBS has rejected advocacy ads in the past,
including from PETA, MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ.
The spot in question is expected to feature Florida Gators
quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother talking about
how she refused to have an abortion after she was advised to do so by doctors.
The NFL backed the CBS decision. "CBS standards and practices department approved the content of the ad as appropriate for the audience. We take no issue with CBS' decision," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
A CBS spokesperson had told B&C's Claire Atkinson last week that the network had vetted the
spot's script and did not expect to have any trouble with the video.
"It is not inflammatory or divisive," a CBS
exec told Atkinson last week.