Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ejector Seat Ads Rejected

Major television networks ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, along with several prominent cable networks owned by NBC Universal and Viacom, are refusing to broadcast the UCC's "Ejector Seat" TV commercial that I blogged about last week.

The commercials have been branded as "Too political" by Viacom and "Too controversial" by NBC.

Rev. Ron Buford, director of the United Church of Christ's Stillspeaking Initiative, described the difficulty he is having getting the “Ejector Seat” ad on network television in an Op-Ed in the San Jose Mercury News.
“Like modern Bible parables, these commercials are short, catchy, simple and memorable. And like the Bible parables, they challenge the status quo.

Perhaps that's why they've been branded as 'too controversial' by the major television networks. Our message about rejection was itself rejected, and ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX all refused to air the ad."
Nearly all of the cable networks refusing the ad are owned by either NBC Universal or Viacom, which operated CBS until this January. The decision also means that the commercial will not air on Spanish language stations.

I find it especially odd that cable networks, such as MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Bravo and the lesbian/gay-oriented LOGO network, which are among those owned by Viacom or NBC, have rejected the ad due to the "political nature of its content".

ABC will run advertisements for Focus on the Family, but refuses to air the UCC's message? NBC will air Will & Grace and Bravo will air Queer Eye, but showing lesbians and gay men seeking relationships with God is "too controversial"?

Ironically, ABC Family, which which began life as Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network and broadcasts Robertson's ultra-conservative 700 Club
multiple times a day, is one of the few major cable outlets that will show the ad, despite being rejected by its parent network. Of course after hearing Pat's previous statements, people are probably being ejected from his pews right now.

Given the plethora of ads laced with sexual innuendo, greed, violence, etc. that air on broadcast television and especially on cable, it is disappointing 'amazing' that a message of openness and welcome that says "church doors are open to all" is being silenced as "too controversial" or "too political".

Maybe the way to get the ad on the air is to feature it on VH1 through one of their ever popular "Banned in America: World's Favorite Commercials" shows?

Meanwhile, Accessible Airways has posted a link where you can send a message to Viacom asking that they air the spot.

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