No Will, and Certainly No Grace

AMERICAblog reports on the rejection of an ad by NBC and CBS, put together by the United Church of Christ. The ad, which you can view here, carries the message that the UCC is one of inclusion. Their press release states:

The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed "too controversial." The ad, part of the denomination's new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that -- like Jesus -- the United Church of Christ (UCC) seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.
As for the so-called liberal media, their rejection of the ad is rather curious:

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies -- and is, therefore, too "controversial."


Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot "too controversial."
The spot, the content of which is about as benign as it gets (I had to watch several times before spotting the people who were supposed to be gay), is too controversial for NBC, a network that airs Will & Grace, and owns Bravo, which airs Boy Meets Boy and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I find it—ahem—interesting that a network is willing to line their pockets with the profits from popular gay programming, but deems a commercial advocating inclusion too controversial. Apparently, the UCC finds this—ahem—interesting, too:

"We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome of committed gay couples, that's where they draw the line," says the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC's communication ministry.
Of course, the reality is that the executives at NBC and CBS don’t really believe the spot is too controversial. The true motivation behind their decision is not-so-subtly hidden in the remarks offered by CBS:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."
In other words, we’re still pretty keen on that whole media deregulation thing.

Nonetheless, as long as the guise of “controversy” stands as the official explanation for the rejection of this ad, it’s just another setback for the equality of gays and lesbians in this country, and another frustrating blow to those of us who support equal rights for everyone. John at AMERICAblog summed it up thusly:
Yes, it's come to the point where an ad for pro-tolerance is now too controversial in America.
A sad day indeed.

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