NY Times vs. liberal censorship

Good for them:

The 30-second [Super Bowl] spot, financed by the conservative religious group Focus on the Family, is said to recount the pregnancy of Pam Tebow, mother of the college football star Tim Tebow. After falling ill during a mission to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child, who became the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.

The National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America and other voices for protecting women’s reproductive freedom have called on CBS to yank it. Their protest is puzzling and dismaying…

A letter sent to CBS by the Women’s Media Center and other groups argues that the commercial “uses one family’s story to dictate morality to the American public, and encourages young women to disregard medical advice, putting their lives at risk” — a lame attempt to portray the ad as life-threatening…

I don’t go around telling people to ignore their doctors, but I’m pretty sure that the First Amendment gives me that right.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly

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  • redbus

    It's an inspiring story, no question. Generally, I am not opposed to abortion in instances where the life of the mother is at-stake. That seems to have been the issue here. I wonder to what extent an OB-GYN doctor's advice is influenced by the potential threat of a malpractice suit?

  • adexterc

    You are pleased they did not censor the pro-life commercial. Good. Are you displeased that they did censor the gay-dating commercial? If not, why not

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    Bit early for April Fools, isn't it, David?

  • Don Quijote

    No censorship needed… I'll just watch something else…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782533161 facebook-782533161

    So I have heard that there is a law against abortion in the Phillipines, with prison terms for the doctor and the mother as well… thus no doctor in their right mind would give that advice. What say you?

  • Rudi

    The issue should be the politicization of the Superbowl, neither a pro-life or pro-choice commercial would be appropriate. Maybe on Fox or the Sunday talk shows, but Tebow next to the next sleaze from GoDaddy…

  • Hotjets

    Does the commercial specifically call for a banning of abortion or tell viewers never to have one? Or does it just describe an instance in which a woman chose to not have an abortion? If it does the former, it might well be one-sided political advocacy. If it does the latter though, the it would be an ad that simultaneously reflects a degree of both pro-choice and pro-life ideas. Certainly, even the most stringent pro-choice person would agree that deciding not to have an abortion is a legitimate choice for any and every woman?

  • Hotjets

    Sorry accidental double post.

  • http://writeslikeshetalks.com Jillmz

    I would really appreciate it if people reading this post also read this article at RH Reality Check and this op-ed from the Washington Post – they both contain really interesting and important information about what is going on here. There should be no questioning of Pam Tebow making whatever choice was best for her at the time. The issue is CBS changing its policy, the issue is the suggestion by Focus on the Family that other women NOT have such a choice (with its bias against abortion) and apparently there is a lot of doubt now about what exactly was said to Pam Tebow while in the Phillipines (it appears that the consequences were described to her but very possibly no one told her that she should or could have an abortion).

    This issue is truly not about Pam or Tim Tebow or freedom of speech. It is about CBS and its policies and the application of those policies, esp. when a broadcast that reaches nearly 100 million viewers is involved.

  • JeffersonDavis

    Hi Jill…..

    You probably already know where I stand here on this one. So I won't bloviate too much about it.
    I checked out your links and, with little shock, saw a misrepresentation of Mrs. Tebow's decision.

    Firstly, “Again…her choice, and one she seeks to take away from other women, men, and their families.” was stated again and again. The last time I checked, a father has no say on whether HIS child is aborted, nor do any other family members (parents,etc).

    The Post Op-ed, however, was extremely well written and outlined the entire Life-versus-Choice process through the years. Thanks for posting it.

    And I can't post without bloviating a bit:
    Media outlets have limited advertising since TV's incepetion. They tend to be pragmatic about it, and only allow “controversial” ads when they appeal to the majority of their viewers. Since most of America is pro-life these days, and since CBS's core audience is typically the older crowd (possibly driving that percentage higher), they made a good business decision.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    My favorite quote from the link Jill provided:
    While the exact content of the advertisement has not been revealed yet, the commercial is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow’s pregnancy in 1987,” noted CRR.

    So we're basically arguing about an advertisement that nobody has even seen yet?

    For the record, though you might not guess it from many of my positions on domestic policy, I happen to be “regretfully, moderately pro-choice” on the abortion issue, and unabashedly in support of gay rights. So what do I make of CBS's actions?

    CBS is a business. As such, they have business decisions to make. In a perfect world designed solely to suit Jazz Shaw, it would be nice if companies had clearly stated policies which they stuck by at all times to remove any ambiguity. In that same imaginary world, it would be nice if I could dictate what sorts of shows, advertisements and other media content were shown so that everyone was “treated fairly” across the board.

    In this world, if CBS is going to allow “issue ads” on their airwaves, they should take them from both sides of any issue. They *should* but the reality is that they won't. They're going to make as much money as they can. If, as it has been presented or implied in some places, this is an advertisement about a woman who made a choice not to have an abortion and both she and her now adult son are happy about that decision, and they want to encourage others to make that choice, then they need to run with it. I know for a fact that CBS runs advertisements for the “Plan B” bill on a regular basis. And there simply aren't enough people in the country who are going to get mad enough about it to seriously affect their ratings. Boycotts are rarely effective and the sound of the description of this ad is such that it's just not going to get any but the extreme wing upset.

    Now, about the gay dating ad… trying to compare and conflate the two, as in “if you run one you need to run the other” is a red herring. It's not a pro-choice abortion ad. It's not an issue ad. It's an ad for a service. And frankly, they should have the right to run advertisements and get a chance to make as much profit as the market will bear just like CBS. But CBS is still worrying about their bottom line in the background. I'd have to see the ad to know for sure, but I suspect it largely depends on what they are showing in the advertisement.

    Nobody gets upset over straight dating services. Some people will get upset about a gay dating ad, depending what is depicted. Sad state of affairs, but here you go. The gay viewing audience will not be offended. Most of the straight female audience won't be offended. (At least not THAT offended.) As for the males, if they are showing two guys actually kissing (still *unbelievably* rare in television today) then a significant number of the guys will be freaked out. If they show two girls kissing, they may say they are offended, but they'll watch. Hell, they'll probably DVR it.

    In my imaginary world they would run the ad for the gay dating service. In this world, if they thought they were going to send the straight male audience charging for the doors, they'll pull it. And it sounds like that's what they did.

  • http://writeslikeshetalks.com Jillmz

    Hi Jeff –

    I really have to quibble with the “most of America is pro-life these days.” This is a VERY DEBATABLE stance. Not because people aren't pro-life but because the way in which the reports from which this conclusion comes are worded so differently. From what I've read – and I've read an awful lot about these studies – it is true that many Americans do not want women to have abortions. But this is completely and totally separate from whether they think it should be illegal. I think we have to be so so careful in making sure we make that distinction and do not just run with the “most of America is pro-life.” Do you know what I mean? In other words, I believe it's true that many if not most women who support abortion are in fact “pro-life” but that has nothing to do with our desire to see abortion remain legal and accessible. This is a whole semantics thing and I would really like to stay away from it. Depending on how something is worded, I too could very well be pro-life, but I want abortion to remain legal and available and safe.

    Anyway – the issue isn't a misrepresentation of Pam Tebow's decision – the issue is that she herself has changed up what she says and how she describes to the point that there is bona fide confusion as to what the circumstances were and to what extent she's now making hay with it all. Again – I don't know her, I don't mind her decision-making processes or result. I do want her to be honest with exactly how it came down – because it sounds as though it's being finessed for very specific agendas. None of us on the right or the left should support that.

    As for the father's involvement, you made a generalization – I honestly don't know the stats on that but I don't think it's quite as much a solo decision as you say – in practice, I'm sure many fathers are in fact involved – are you really saying you don't think that's the case?

  • http://writeslikeshetalks.com Jillmz

    Jazz – I understand what you're saying. But I think it's still scuzzy of CBS to have changed their policy with this ad for this show.

    Gaw – just imagine what kind of ads are going to come down now after Citizens United?

    Really – this just is not how money is supposed to be used in my world. lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Axel-Kaspar-Edgren/635450085 Axel Kaspar Edgren

    Abortions are illegal in the Philippines, so Tebow is even stupider than I suspected.

    That's what happens when you illegalize abortions; poor women get screwed over, privileged women (like Tebow's wife) still has a choice.

    I hope there's a power outage exactly when his blubbering little spiel starts. If that happens, I'm going to drop atheism like *snap*.

  • DLS

    “I really have to quibble with the 'most of America is pro-life these days.'”

    Only militant extremists are 100%-elective, totally-unfettered abortion-rights advocates. (A correct synonym here would, indeed, be “enthusiasts,” not merely “defenders,” given their abnormal motivational level and direction.)

    Most people support or (correct words) reluctantly accept abortion when it is necessary (sparing the mother's life) or even when it isn't, but they don't object to what conforms to societal norms and is understandable under the circumstances (rape or incest). Most view it as some kind of necessary or practical evil or unpleasant thing; their support is best characterized as “reluctant acceptance.” Even many abortion-rights advocates admit this in their choice of words: “safe and legal and [or "but"] rare.” Many are opposed to elective abortions at any time, early or late in pregnancy; many view it as murder (and they are normal, as opposed to the rabid few who demand no limits whatsoever, and even demand abortion provided on demand as an entitlement or government-provided “right”). Most people draw a line between necessary (or unnecessary customary and understood and accepted — rape and incest cases) and unnecessary (elective, at-will or at-convenience), and most people have a time line before which it's unpleasant but acceptable, and after which it is unquestionably killing, and normally murder.

    Unfortunately, the Left brings with it some highly toxic broad-and-deep baggage related to this issue, including a bogus “victimhood” mentality, unmerited defensiveness, and a ferocious attachment to leftist judicial activism, both in general and specifically with the Roe v. Wade decision, treated as holy.

  • DLS

    “Certainly, even the most stringent pro-choice person would agree that deciding not to have an abortion is a legitimate choice for any and every woman?”

    The militants are highly intolerant of that message ever being promulgated.

    Their behavior (NARAL was predictable) once more outdoes, or subsumes, the original story and the original thought, that this commercial can be considered political and it might be better to refrain from political ads during the Super Bowl. (The likes of NARAL would fight the ad no matter what the circumstances were.)

  • DLS

    “The issue should be the politicization of the Superbowl, neither a pro-life or pro-choice commercial would be appropriate. Maybe on Fox or the Sunday talk shows…”

    You have it right, Rudi. Unfortunately, messing with something Holy of the Left creates a huge mess.

  • imavettoo

    Typical of your thinking DLS, kinda of wingi-dingi. If you want to own a gun, buy one. If you don't want to own a gun, don't buy one. If you're against a woman's right to choose whether or not an abortion is the proper choice for HER, don't have one. And don't assume that you are the one privileged enough to make her decision for her.

  • DLS

    “And don't assume that you are the one privileged enough to make her decision for her.”

    In case you didn't understand what I wrote — I am not claiming the privilege of deciding for someone else.  And, I've always been fairly “pro” about this issue; I view it for what it is, including in what context (similar to contraception, though more complicated and a more serious decision in the case of abortion, obviously).  On the other hand, nobody has an unfettered privilege or right to expect me to pay for her abortion, if she wants one.

    You may not understand, but some of us do, and I've tried to make the obvious something more people need to consider: Once government (typically, in cases like this, the federal government is what is assumed) involvement in health care is extended to teens and women who can get pregnant, abortion (and contraception) become related issues, which with their associated politics cannot be evaded.  The politics unfortunately include militance on the extreme Left and an obscession with a paranoid siege mentality (perhaps the consequence of being so alien to the mainstream?) and equal obscession with Roe v. Wade and judicial activism.  All this has just started now that DC has flirted this past year with taking over health care for everyone.  It won't go away, and will get bigger and more ugly the closer we get to federal health care for everyone.

    That's separate from the real issue here, having a political ad run as one of the Super Bowl ads.  (No doubt, some lefties are angry or even jealous, because they were asleep, complacent, lazy as they often are, and were beaten to this decision by the Religious Right — or they're angry their orthodoxy — don't question or contradict what is Holy – was violated, and even assaulted [gasp].)  However, it's more important, and has emerged or surfaced, so face it.

  • adesnik

    Haven't heard about the gay dating commercial. Post a link and I'll be glad to offer an opinion.

  • adesnik

    Jill and Jazz, thanks for the constructive comments and discussion.

  • JeffersonDavis

    Like you, Jill, I'm not one that likes to play the symantics game. I pretty much try to tell it like it is, or at least, the way I see it in my experiences. That's all we can expect from anyone.
    By my statement, “most of Americans are pro-life these days”, I'll state it plainly:
    Most Americans are against abortion, except in extreme cases where the mother's life is in danger, or in other cases (rape, incest, etc). These are the vast MINORITY of all abortions – they account for no more than 10% of all abortions. Most Americans are against abortion being used as a means of correcting a mistake, or as a form of after-the-fact birth control. The left wants unfettered on-demand abortion, the right wants NO abortion, and the rest of America wants abortion limited to extenuated circumstances (outlined above) only. I think the polls (no matter how they're worded) back up that statement.

    As far as fathers go, yes….. I have no stats to back this up, but I believe that, in most cases, the father does NOT know. Back to experience…. that very thing happened to me 17 years ago. A woman had aborted MY child with out my consent. Of course, that was long before I adopted my current Christian life. Would having that child in my life now have been better, even though I am happily married to another? Absolutely. The mother could have walked away with no strings attached, and I would have loved and cared for that child. But I was not given that “choice”. It was my genetic code within that life that she ended.

  • JeffersonDavis

    “If you're against a woman's right to choose whether or not an abortion is the proper choice for HER, don't have one.”

    That's all well and good. Then why not just extend that “right” to women who don't want children AFTER they are outside the womb? Just kill 'em.

    At the core of this argument:
    When does life begin?

    I say it is after conception.
    Others (abortionists) say it's, well, they can't make up their mind on that one.

    Whatever they “choose” to determine when life begins is arbitrary. If they say sometime in the third trimester, then they can justify pre-3rd trimester abortions. If they say life begins as soon as the head is out of the birth canal, then they can justify partial birth abortion. No one wants to be called a murderer. And most will go to any lengths to push whatever agenda that would keep them from losing sleep about murdering a human being.

  • alphonsegaston

    Does anyone actually think that CBS would accept a pro-choice ad, no matter how wrapped in qualifications and other drapery?

    If “most Americans” are against abortion, where do all these women who get abortions every year come from? Are they some separate class? Are they all “left-wing extremists”?

    As far back as we can read the social history of women, abortion has been very much in demand. Why should our generations be any different?

    These are not rhetorical questions.

  • adexterc

    Just google “CBS gay dating” and you will get a bunch of hits, even from CBS

  • DLS

    “As far back as we can read the social history of women, abortion has been very much in demand. Why should our generations be any different?”

    That's why I place abortion with contraception, above, where it is appropriate to do so. That's also why I've said I look at the issue of abortion itself in a practical way. Women (and men, so often slighted or mistreated by feminists, along with the facts) have sought contraception and abortion as long as there has been pregnancy — and unintended or unwanted pregnancy. That is no mystery.

    Unfortunately, the issue has been corrupted and subsumed by radical leftist politics since the 1960s.

  • Frith_Ra

    Abortion has been so illegal in the Philippines (since the 1930's) that a doctor who even consults on the topic with a patient whose life is at stake is subject to fines & loss of license.

    This is well known in many West Coast Hospitals since many of those women come to them.

    The whole Telbow story is a fabrication. Therefore it is not worthy of perpetuation.

  • JeffersonDavis

    “Abortion has been so illegal in the Philippines (since the 1930's) that a doctor who even consults on the topic with a patient whose life is at stake is subject to fines & loss of license….The whole Telbow story is a fabrication. Therefore it is not worthy of perpetuation.”

    Did Pam Tebow ever say that she went to a Fillipino doctor? Did she ever say that she did not receive this advice during one of her many visits back to the United States? No.

    Let me give you an example. I lived as a civilian with my parents in Oman for 5 years. Not once did I see an Omani doctor during that five years, yet I saw the doctor 5 times during that time.

  • Frith_Ra

    The law, as I understand it there refers to ANY doctor licensed to practice in the Philippines.
    She was not on a military base, that is part of the whole mythos being built in this ad.
    I do not know who her doctor was, but even if he was a missionary/foreigner he still had to be licensed to practice in the Philippines.

    Ergo: She's lying & you, Jeff Davis, are defending a lie. Be proud.

    I lived in Norway, as a sort of missionary, for long enough to require a couple of doctor/dental visits. I only saw Norwegian doctors: were you too scared of the Omani doctors or could you just not bring yourself to accept that they may be skilled practitioners too?

    (Or didn't you learn the language? Do you some good to see how others in the world think too)

  • adesnik

    I watched the ad. Amusing. It would've been very interesting if ManCrunch did a soft-focus, lovey-dovey kind of commercial and tried to run that past CBS. It would've been very hard to reject at the same time they accepted the Tebow commercial. But the actual commercial from ManCrunch sort of gives CBS an excuse to back out — although you could easily point to the Go Daddy spots and show that straight sex is allowed to go much further.

    I don't think there's any way CBS can explain this all logically. Still, CBS's double standards don't seem to justify NOW or NARAL calling for the Tebow ad to be yanked because they find it offensive. On that side, logic demands telling CBS to show the ManCrunch add, too, not to censor more.

  • JeffersonDavis

    “Ergo: She's lying & you, Jeff Davis, are defending a lie. Be proud.”

    I'm not defending a lie, there Frith. I'm saying that her doctor could have been in the UNITED STATES!!!!!
    When you live overseas, you travel back and forth to the USA at least once per year. I gave you my own circumstance as an example. Not once did I see a “native” doctor when I lived overseas, yet I saw a doctor every year. And NO, I did not trust the Omani doctors, nor would I trust the doctors in the Phillipines. Didn't drink the water there either. Does that mean I didn't drink water? No.
    I'd probably trust Norwegian doctors, since they are among the FIRST WORLD.

    I simply don't know what Pam Tebow's situation was. It was a good question, I thought.

  • adexterc

    I do not like it; but I agree with all you write; especially that last
    sentence. As others have said before me, the thing I hate is that the game
    is allowed to become political.

  • http://writeslikeshetalks.com Jillmz

    Just an update for those following this story – Focus on the Family folks have now said that CBS has been working on the script and the ad for months. Seriously – please – this is NOT ABOUT Tim or his mom OR a judgement on her decision. This is about CBS and the media and money. Do you want this to be the default for what gets shown? Do you know how many commercials kids see? Seriously. This issue goes way way beyond the topic of the specific commercial. And people want us to not be concerned with the possible effects of Citizens United? Sigh.

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/019893.html