NBC Television Network first turned down, then accepted an ad from conservative watchdog Freedom Watch which was intended to thank troops stationed overseas for their service during the holiday season. Not long before, Fox News Channel rejected an ad from liberal Center for Constitutional Rights that was accepted on two rival cable networks.
The objection to the Freedom Watch ad was not controversial content, but rather a reference to the group’s website, which NBC deemed overtly political and triggering the network’s ban on such material. NBC said in a statement that from now on ads will be judged by content only.
The CCR ad rejected by FNC featured actor Danny Glover and charged that the Bush administration is chipping away at constitutional rights of Americans. Fox said the ad’s charges could not be substantiated, and said in a statement that documentation was required to show that the Constitution was actually being "destroyed." CCR objected to FNC’s "literal interpretation of the ad." It was accepted for broadcast on CNN and MSNBC.
RBR/TVBR observation: It is our firm belief that matters of opinion do matter to the American public. Media outlets cannot help but be gatekeepers, but that does not mean they need to put on a complete hockey goalie uniform and decide what is and is not worthy of being passed along to the public. As long as an ad isn’t based on obviously false information and is not indecent, it should run.