Saturday, January 30, 2010

CBS, NOW and Tim Tebow

Apparently Tim Tebow's mom, in conjunction with Focus on the Family, wants to run an ad during the superbowl (*). The gist of which is to express Mrs. Tebow's joy at having made the choice she did and it resulting in Tim Tebow - QB extraordinaire for the University of Florida.

But this has angered the National Organization for Women (NOW). They think that the long standing prohibition on advocacy ads during the superbowl should remain in effect, thus disallowing the ad during the superbowl. I have not read what their position is on running the ad at any other time. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and presume that they would not object to it running at another time.

Unfortunately, I've listened to NOW defending their complaint. And if they could just stick to the point that advocacy ads are prohibited, I think they'd be ok. But they keep bringing up that they're defending a woman's right to choose. And this seems really inconsistent to me. If that's the case, why are they complaining about an ad which shows one woman's choice? Does NOW only like women's right to choose when it's the choice that NOW supports?

And this isn't the only time that NOW has seemed inconsistent to me. They've explicitly called for a ban on breast implants. Do they want the government interfering with a woman's choices over her body or do they not?

The inconsistency makes it seem like their position is less about changing people's minds and more about enforcing the choices they prefer on others. I could be wrong. But from the outside that's what it looks like. This is why consistency matters. It suggests that there's an underlying principle that your actions are consistent with. But in this case, their actions seem to be more consistent with a power grab rather than a principled position.

And NOW is not the only one that seems inconsistent. Frankly, the behavior of the vocal pro-lifers annoys me. I'd be much more moved by their concern for the children they're trying to save if they were willing to adopt those children. Do they really care about those children or are they more interested in punishing the mothers?

That said, I believe that the best approach to speech you don't like is more speech, not less speech. If you disagree with me, talk to me, I'll listen. Then I'll talk and you listen. But lets' stay far away from trying to force each other to shut up. So I think NOW should come out with their own advocacy ad. But trying to ban someone else's speech? Yeah, that's crossing the line.

(*) As a side note, I'm not going to start calling it "the big game" like so many other people are doing in response to the NFL's threats to sue. This is certainly a risk on my part, but a) I'm not hosting a party and trying to capitalize on the NFL's trademark, and b) I have like 5 people who regularly read this blog. To get in trouble w/the NFL, they have to notice first.  That said, I think the NFL is nuts in their desire to suppress the use of the word "superbowl". Yes it's a trademark. Yes they own it. But, c'mon. You're prohibiting superbowl parties? What's next? Will I be in trouble if I mention that the Packers are my favorite team? Or will I be required to call it, "the pro-football team from Green Bay"? If ever there were an argument for reforming trademark laws, I think this is it.