The Playgoer: NBC Blocks Dixie Chicks Flick

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

NBC Blocks Dixie Chicks Flick

Sorry to keep going off topic, but in this story about yet another seemingly anti-Bush film being denied advertising space, I just had to comment on this pseudo-rationale by NBC reagarding the Dixie Chicks movie:

NBC acknowledged that it had rejected the ads for fairness reasons, since Mr. Bush couldn’t be expected to buy response ads, as he would in a political campaign.

Huh??? Again, when did this become the standard for accepting advertisements? Does NBC not air any Coke ads until Pepsi has a chance to respond? Even in political campaigns, does this mean, one candidate never can outspend the other and offset the "fairness" balance?

More to the point: It seems to me the president doesn't need a 30-second ad on NBC to respond to a limited-release indie flick because he has... the Presidency! Like he needs a commercial? Does this mean even if you were just a rich citizen who wanted to buy 30 seconds of advertising to criticize the war, or the estate tax repeal, you wouldn't be allowed to by NBC unless they checked with the White House first?

But why even get into the logic. Like the NPR shutting out of "Death of a President" it's just bullshit. And while I do think media outlets should be entitled to reject ads they find objectionable, CNN, NBC and NPR in these cases are purely being chicken. They just don't want to have to deal with the email campaigns that the obsessive-right can unleash on "the liberal media." Even though--as Frank Rich demonstrated in a column a few years ago about the Janet Jackson joke--it's really just a handful of nuts hitting "send" a million times.

And if this doesn't disturb you yet, just ask yourself this question: what happens to our political discourse and the arts if anyone who produces a film, or a play, that takes on the president, finds themself unable to advertise their product?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And remember when wonkette and other liberal blogs were being blocked by the US when soldiers in Iraq tried to access them?