free html hit counter On CBS and MoveOn - John Battelle's Search Blog

On CBS and MoveOn

By - January 18, 2004

Loads of folks have commented already on this, but I wanted to add what I could to the meme, if only to insure one more protest is lodged in this particular record in the database of intentions. It boggles the mind how deeply lame CBS’s decision to deny MoveOn’s ad is. CBS claims “the network has had a long-term policy not to air issue ads anywhere on the network.” Uh huh. Lessig comments that somehow a War on Drugs ad from the Bush White House, a blatant piece of “issue advocacy”, made it through the CBS filter. Not to mention all the presidential advertising lucre CBS will be happy to suckle over the next 10 months. You’re telling me an RNC- or DNC-funded attack ad won’t be an “issue ad”? Did CBS refuse the Willie Horton ad back in 1988? What the fuck is going on here?

Folks are up in arms over this, but we don’t know what to do about it. We should make a concerted effort to air the ad online to at least as many people as would have seen it on the Superbowl, only for free. Get the ad from, and put it on your site, or at least link to it, over and over. Maybe MoveOn can count or estimate how many folks have seen it and prove that the net can route around this mass-media market insanity. If anything proves network television is in a death spiral fueled by ignorance and blinkered reasoning, this is it.

Policy against issue ads my ass. More like policy against losing White House access, policy against sticking one’s neck out, policy against standing for anything. Pathetic CBS. The Tiffany Network has fallen, hard, long, and with abandon.

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4 thoughts on “On CBS and MoveOn

  1. mary hodder says:

    Don’t hold back! Tell it like it is.

  2. Clarkus says:

    Bravo John….you hit the nail on the head. CBS is fooling themselves if they think I/we are going to believe their lame excuses for not airing the MoveOn ad….a very real and moving one at that. Pictures do indeed say more than a thousand words.

    C. Clark

  3. Geoff Fox says:

    Good statement on CBS & MoveOn. I’ve quoted you, with link to your blog, on mine.

  4. First, they drop the Reagan mini-series due to right-wing pressure, then they drop Michael Jackson’s special, only to add it back to the schedule after he agreed to be interviewed on 60 Minutes. And now this. Does CBS really expect their viewers to have any respect left for them?

    You can can act though. Here’s an online petition you can sign and send to CBS President Les Moonves.

    Add your own thoughts, too.