Tuesday, May 03, 2005

ABC Likes Dobson, but not UCC

I'm sure a lot of you remember the flap a while back over the United Church of Christ's ad that emphasized that church's inclusiveness, which was rejected by the major networks for being "too controversial". The ad depicted chuch officials denying entrance to various people who showed up at the door, to promote UCC's own policy of accepting gays, the disabled, and ethnic minorities.

Well, ABC is running ads from Focus on the Family, which is decidedly on the conservative side. Dobson's program is very popular with parents; I listened to it a few times, and had friends who tuned in regularly. He gives a sense of confidence to beleagured parents who don't know quite what to do with their unruly offspring. But, politically, Focus on the Family supports pretty much all of the positions of the religious right.

And *this* isn't controversial? Apparently, the ad itself isn't all that political, just promoting the website, and a toll-free number, which might be the reason it passes muster.

UCC is not happy. From its press release today:

Focus on the Family is clearly a religious organization," the Rev. Robert
Chase, director of the UCC's communication ministry, told United Church
News. "Here's yet another illustration of how a particular narrow agenda
makes up the rules as they go along, while another religious viewpoint
cannot even purchase time on the people's airwaves to proclaim an
all-inclusive message."

In December and March, the three major networks denied a purchasing request
by the Cleveland-based UCC. NBC and CBS rejected the UCC's 30-second ads as
"too controversial." ABC, however, sidestepped the fray by maintaining that
it has a blanket policy against all religious advertising.

"Why are the network executives so willing to bow to this narrow agenda of
the religious right?" Chase told United Church News. "Why is one religious
viewpoint continually accommodated by the network elites?"

"Focus on the Family may be using a non-sectarian come-on, but what kind of
assurances can ABC provide that Focus on the Family's follow-up literature
is respectful of all faiths, respectful of non-traditional families,
respectful of the one million kids that have same-sex couples as parents?"

Oh, I think one can safely bet that same-sex couples will not be treated respectfully in any follow-up literature given out by Dobson's group. His position on that is pretty clear.

And people think the media is dominated by liberals!


Anonymous said...

Maybe because the major networks feel guilty about using so much sex and violence in their ads and programming they want to counterbalance it with conservative right propaganda. The vast majority of network TV is anything but family friendly, and anything but spiritual too.

Karen said...

Good point! Certainly, any parent has to fight the culture created by the media -- even if it's only on the level of getting your kids not to use four-letter words.

However, like any corporation, ABC doesn't feel guilt. It makes decisions based on profits. If it could make more money by putting religious programming on morning to night, then it would do it. Likewise, if it could make more money by increasing the level of sex and violance, it will do that. So, I think it likely that ABC thinks that UCC's inclusive message is likely to upset its advertisers, while Focus on the Family will not.

Thanks for your input.

Love, Karen

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me?

The major networks feel guilty about using what American Idiots understand in their advertising?

The message from UCC was "COME TO CHURCH" not "do a line of blow off the ass of this hot hooker," for crying out loud.

Focus on the Family isn't a pro-family organization as much as a media outlet for queer-hating woman-hating hillbillies. Dobson loves patriarchy and is threatened by women leaving the kitchen and bedroom. I'm surprised ABC ran ANY spot from them.

At least the Mormons have useful commercials usually. You don't have to buy in to their nonsense to sit at the table and have dinner as a family, or not yell at your daughter for wrecking the car.