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Carried over from POWERLINE
We wrote here about the television commercials that Freedom’s Watch has produced, featuring veterans and their families, that urge Congress and the public to continue supporting the Iraq war. The commercials are well done, and convey the simple message that the Iraq war is important and winnable, and that we should allow our troops to see the mission through. The ads are appearing in the context of a blizzard of anti-war ads by left-wing groups, intended to pressure Senators and Congressmen into pulling the plug on the Iraq effort.
Freedom’s Watch has placed its ads on Fox and CNN, but CNBC and MSNBC have refused to run the ads. Ari Fleischer wrote this morning on behalf of Freedom’s Watch to let us know that CNBC and MSNBC have stubbornly refused to air the pro-war ads, even though they have run issue ads on other controversial topics. Freedom’s Watch has written to CNBC and MSNBC to protest their decision; here is the text of that letter:
Senior Vice-President of NBC News Network Sales
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Dear Mr. Kelly,
We understand that MSNBC and CNBC (the “Networks”) are refusing to sell advertising time to Freedom’s Watch (“FW”) to air a series of educational advertisements. It is our understanding that the purported basis for the denial is a Network policy denying access to groups that wish to sponsor advertising on controversial issues of public importance.
Given your recent history of airing such ads (see below), we must wonder if your denial to FW is a subjective decision because the network officials disagree with the FW ads’ message? If you continue to refuse to air FW’s advertisement we request an explanation of your basis in writing or station policy within two (2) days from the date above as time is of the essence.
FW has requested time on your networks to air advertisements discussing the War Against Terrorism. Your reporters and commentators discuss this issue on your programs at every hour of the day so you clearly agree this is an issue of great public importance. FW’s advertisements, to be sure, present a view of this debate that rounds out your coverage. These ads feature Iraq War Veterans and their families discussing their sacrifices in personal terms and their belief that we must allow the military time to complete its mission in Iraq and seek victory. This is a side of this issue that should not be silenced by national cable networks. We believe that rather than censor these American heroes, you should let the American public hear their story.
As noted above, it’s troubling that the Networks appear to be airing messages on issues on a selective basis. Our research indicates that your network has accepted and aired advertisements dealing with controversial issues of national importance in the recent past. For example, the Networks aired an advertisement entitled “Shameless Politicians” sponsored by Move America Forward regarding the war on terror in October 2004. In November 2006, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the American Medical Association entitled “Patient Voice” concerning the controversial issue of access to health care and coverage for the uninsured. During July 2007, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition. Your history of airing other issue advocacy advertisements makes the denial of FW advertisements troubling and raises the issue of whether your denial is based on an editorial disagreement with FW’s message.
These ads are about important issues that will shape our national security policies for years to come. These ads present a point of view that your viewers are not now receiving.
Your viewers deserve to hear all sides of this issue so that they can make informed judgments about the future of their country.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. Please respond to me through Larry Weitzner at Jamestown Associates.
Very Truly Yours,
Bradley A. Blakeman
President and CEO
Freedom of speech: at some of our cable networks, you can’t even buy it! We’ll follow up with any response that may be forthcoming from NBC.