Tebow and that ad: it’s the medium, not the message.

Let’s get the easy part out of the way first.  I’m not a conservative Christian, but as a confirmed libertarian, I respect Tim Tebow’s beliefs, support his right to air them publicly and think that the women’s rights groups that are lobbying to have the ad pulled are taking a mistaken approach to the matter.  Further, simply as a fellow human being, I admire Tebow for having the courage of his convictions.

That being said, I’m afraid I’m not buying this latest quote.

“I definitely didn’t think it would have this much hype — this much buzz — but, you know, it’s something I believe in and I’ll stand up for it,” Tebow said.

Dude, come off it.  You’ve been fawned over by the national media during your entire college career (actually, that started during recruiting, if you want to get technical about it).  You’ve been the embodiment of buzz.  To try to pretend that aligning yourself with an overtly political organization on one of the hottest button issues out there wasn’t likely to generate much attention is at best naïve and more likely disingenuous on your part.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Well, except for two things.  I was kind of hoping that Tebowmania would start to wane once his college days ended, but I guess that was naïve on my part.  And second, again as a confirmed libertarian, CBS deserves a helluva lot more grief than it’s getting for its decision to air the ad in light of its past practices.

56 Comments

Filed under Tim Tebow: Rock Star

56 responses to “Tebow and that ad: it’s the medium, not the message.

  1. James

    As a confirmed libertarian, I’m assuming that means you believe in the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, and you should applaud the traditionally liberal network’s decision to allow an opposing viewpoint to be aired.

    As a libertarian, you should also believe the Supreme Court overstated it’s mandate by invoking it’s personal agenda into a debate that was reserved for the states. Nowhere in the Constitution can it be inferred that anyone has the right to take life. Therefore, that decision was left to the states by the 10th Amendment.

    The debate is about science and faith, not liberties. If you believe that once the egg is fertilized and assumes it’s own DNA, it is a distinct and separate life, then abortion is murder. If you believe that the fetus is not a human until it receives it’s first breath of air outside of the delivery room, then it isn’t.

    Please, do not call yourself a libertarian by invoking the “anything goes” mentality. That is demeaning to those of us who believe the liberties granted to us by our forefathers are precious and not to be desseminated at will by anyone’s personal belief system.

    I personally have no problem with abortion. Watching unloved, neglected children grow into monsters or victims is heartbreaking. However, politically, we should follow the Constitution and let the states decide. We should have the liberty to decide in our own states. Not me and not you, but “we the people” should decide at the state level. Without following the Constitution, we are delving into totalitarianism.

    Please applaud a previously liberal corporate’s decision to allow a group the liberty to speek it’s mind, whether you and I agree with the message or not.

    Like

  2. Good post. He knew it would be a lightning rod. He’s young, but he can’t be clueless enough to have thought otherwise. I support the guy’s right to tout his beliefs in any forum available to him, but I doubt many folks not on ESPN’s payroll believe the “aw, shucks” foot-shuffling is genuine.

    Like

    • SCDawg

      Regardless of what you think, you’re talking about the most politicially divisive issue of my lifetime and Tebow’s lifetime (I’m not that much older than he is, anyways).

      And Tebow didn’t think it would create much controversy? That’s home-schooling for you.

      Like

  3. tdawgjenkins

    why should there be controversy from this positive story about choice?the reason is the abortion groups only advocate one choice and that is killing.if they truly believed in choice they would want as much info available to mothers such as sonograms but they know it would lead to less abortions and that would hurt their cash cow, do not let your tebow hate hurt a greater cause .GO DAWGS

    Like

  4. simpl_matter

    My first cup of coffee and a fledgling abortion debate staring me in the face!?! Must…resist…….Stay..On..Target!

    Indeed, CBS deserves flak for their decision to allow the airing of this ad after turning down numerous others over the years. Is it money or a political agenda that is behind their policy shift? Maybe they’ve decided to follow the FOX Broadcasting model….

    As a fellow card-carrying Libertarian (I must also admit I am now very intrigued by the idea of a Libertine Party), I agree that this ad should be allowed as long as others countering its message are given equal time and the same fair treatment. But big religion is as evil as big business and big government, the last thing I want is some THING preaching to the intoxicated masses and shaping policy. Don’t tell me what I can put in or take out of my body! (oops, went there)

    Like

    • Phocion

      ” I agree that this ad should be allowed as long as others countering its message are given equal time and the same fair treatment. ” – simpl_matter

      You should have stopped your commetary after the word ‘allowed’. CBS is a private company, therefore it has the right to air the ads/voice the speech it so chooses (within the rules/laws for broadcasts over the airwaves). Advocating that the government force a private entity into doing something that it has the right not to do runs contrary to the libertarian beliefs you profess to adhere to. Perhaps you should reassess your professed political belief and adjust your chosen label as necessary.

      Like

      • rbubp

        You must acknowledge, though, that media with such influential power may be private but are definitely not typical private companies. In short, I’m not sure the same standard applies as to, say, Domino’s Pizza and its support of pro-life causes throughout its history.

        Like

        • Phocion

          While the Framers didn’t have television in their day, they certainly had ‘media’ of varying degrees of influence and they chose not address that issue. Regulation should not discriminate by success…should the same rules you (may) advocate apply to CBS as they do to Fox News? What about those rules to FX…Mtv…VS…Logo…Univision…or any of the other much, much smaller stations?

          TV stations regularly broadcast television shows that work political beliefs into their stroylines. Should there be a requirement that the shows or stations have to balance their content?

          Should the newspapers be required to hire and print by column inch the same number of articles by conservative columnists/reporters/editors as liberal ones?

          Those are companies…what about individuals? Certainly the President holds more ‘influential power’ than any regular citizen that could buy tv time. Should there be a requirement that the president , when on tv, present both sides of an issue so that the same “influential power” is used when speaking about a political issue?

          What those who advocate for ‘equal time’ or ‘balanced programing’ or things such as the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ are doing is advocating for a targeted form of discrimination. That should be abhorant to all free thinking citizens.

          Like

      • simpl_matter

        No adjustment needed; no one has to adhere to every principle of any political party to consider themselves a member of that party (in the case of libertarianism, I challenge you to find an expansive set of principles every libertarian can agree upon). I identify with the core libertarian ideals in regards to the freedom of the individual and I oppose restrictions placed by the parental state on personal freedom in the name of the greater good (as long as my freedom does not infringe on another’s). I believe governments should not interfere in the politics of other sovereign nations, especially when such meddling is done in direct opposition of the will of that nation’s people.

        But I also oppose interference by NGOs (read large corporations) in our daily lives. I do not believe they should be afforded the same rights as the individual. Their potential for undue influence is too great. I am concerned by the recent overturning of the Campaign Finance Rulings; of the People, by the People, and for the People just took a big hit. If that makes me less of a libertarian, send me your address and I’ll mail you my card for burning….

        Like

        • simpl_matter

          I don’t think there were many large, multi-national NGOs when the constitution was being drawn up. I believe the founders would have specifically addressed their intrusion potential, if they had been aware of it.

          Like

          • Phocion

            I beleive you are mistaken in your recollection of history. The Framers would most certainly have been aware of and concerned with with operations of one of the largest NGOs in history: The Church…be it the Church of England or the Vatican. They chose not to approach those entities by tailoring rules and regulations according to their size and influence but instead by removing restrictions on competition by smaller groups as well as stating that government should neither promote nor restrict the disemination of their message.

            As for ‘large corporations’, again, the Framers would have been well aware of the size and power that a company such as the British East India Company. Again, the Framers chose not to differentiate between a company of that size and those of much smaller operations.

            Like

            • simpl_matter

              I think you are making my points for me; the constitution specifically separates the church from the state in the First Amendment. Whether you argue their desire was to prevent one main religion from subjugating others through the use of the state or (as I would argue) they heeded the numerous past examples of church interference in the governance of the state and set forth to explicitly prevent this from happening in America, the exclusion of the secular NGO from the governing of the people was of primary importance to our founders.

              Did you just get done watching the Pirates of the Caribbean box set??? I do have to admit I thought of that East India Trading Co. when I made my previous statement about no multi-national NGOs in their age, but this company was primarily concerned with trade in the Far East and the British government. Surely our founders did not consider the British government’s support of the East India Trading Co. and how said state support of this NGO’s would lead to their vicious attempt to rule the seas through the capturing of the Black Pearl….

              Like

              • Phocion

                What the Founders stated was that religion and its expression was an inalienable and private right; government should have no role in its promotion or restraint. Again, CBS is a private company. If they choose to broadcast an ad by Focus on the Family…or the morning service from Saint Peter’s Cathedral…it is not the governments business to limit either expression or to mandate that the similar broadcast be made by the pro-abortion supporters or from the service of any other protestant, jewish, or muslim place of worship. For the government to do so would be in direct violation of the First Amendment.

                Perhaps you have heard of this thing called the Boston Tea Party. Given that the British East India Company and its relationship with the Parliament played a large role in the events surrounding and following the that the Boston Tea Party which led to the Revolution and the writing of the Constitution I thought that anyone reading these comments would appreciate an example that so clearly and effortlessly disproves your assertion that “the founders would have specifically addressed their (NGOs and ‘large corporations’) intrusion potential, if they had been aware of it.”

                Like

      • (within the rules/laws for broadcasts over the airwaves)

        That’s quite an exception you parenthetically carved out there.

        Like

        • Phocion

          Rules and laws, such as FCC regulations, exist. Until they are ruled ‘Unconstitutional’ by the Court broadcasters will have to adhere by them. However, FotF and CBS are violating none of those regulations in airing the ad that they have selected. Until they do violate one of these regulations there is no place for government interference.

          Like

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    I can believe Tebow saying he is surprised at the fuss. He’s had a pretty sheltered life. I can’t fund words to describe the kind of church I think he was raised in, but I think most of us are familiar with a similar one in our hometown.

    CBS deserves every bit of razzing it gets from both sides on the commercial. It was a business decision to run this ad and a business decision not to run the others, and CBS dressing it up otherwise is pure hogwash.

    Like

  6. Turd Ferguson

    I, for one, think that Tim Tebow actually is stupid enough to honestly not have thought that the ad would get “this much buzz.”

    I also think it’s hilarious watching people (like these women’s rights groups) scramble to think of a good reason why it should not be aired.

    Like

  7. Russ

    There’s no crying in football.

    Like

  8. stick jackson

    “I can believe Tebow saying he is surprised at the fuss. He’s had a pretty sheltered life.”

    Rilly? This is a Super Bowl ad we’re talking about. If it were a speaking gig at a church camp or the Lakeland Rotary Club that blew up into a topic of national debate, then sure. But he honestly thought this was going to be one of those under-the-radar Super Bowl ads that no one sees and you never hear anything about? That’s a complete nonsense statement.

    Like

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I stand by my statement. Idealistic 21-22 year old people, especially men, aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. P. J. O’Rourke calls some of them ‘ideology addled.’ Tebow has had PR go mostly his way since he came to Florida. He may have had some dim understanding of this situation, but there’s a big difference between understanding and appreciation.

      Like

      • Phocion

        Then again…what did you expect him to say? “Yep, I knew this was going to be a big deal; it’s why I agreed to it.”

        If he does that then he has a more difficult time of extracating himself from any ensuing debate about abortion and /or his beliefs. He’s not doing anything different than what many, many other celebrities have done when they lent their image and/or voice to a controversial issue…be it pro-family tv commercials or Calvin Klein underwear ads in Times Square.

        Like

  9. tdawgjenkins

    planned parenthood is an org. that profits from abortion ,they never offer the parent side of the argument, good points phocion GO DAWGS

    Like

  10. So what have we got here? The most buzzed about college player EVAH!!, plus the most buzzed about and divisive social issue EVAH!! Wonder how long it took CBS to decide to run this ad-and .00000001 seconds. I doubt anyone in America will miss one moment of this Superbowl, hmmmmm?

    Like

  11. Sorry, should have said, “about-.0000000001 seconds”.

    Like

  12. Chuck

    Agree on the CBS thing. This action is completely inconsistent with their prior acts. In fairness to CBS, I will bet that if ad revenues weren’t down with this economy the issue would never exist: they would just refuse the ad as they have in the past. This way, they not only get the three million this ad probably cost, but the hype surely will help the ratings overall.

    Like

  13. Doubt it

    It’s not that complicated. A MoveOn.org ad is going to piss off over half the people watching. An ad that argues against abortion as a moral matter (as distinct from one trying to overturn Roe) is probably going to offend a much smaller group because even a lot of pro choice people personally oppose abortion (vast majority of Americans fall in this camp).

    CBS is doing what most for-profit companies do: take in money without trying to piss off their customer base. CBS only deserves grief if you think that they shouldn’t be self-interested.

    If someone was pushing an ad in favor of a less popular position on the conservative side, I doubt CBS would run it. Unless, of course, you think CBS is biased in favor of conservatives. If you believe that, you have deeper problems.

    Like

    • Except the last Super Bowl ad that CBS rejected was far more innocuous than the example you’re giving.

      Like

      • Doubt it

        Which ad was it? Do you think more people would have been opposed to it than a message about the morality of choosing life? That’s the question. Maybe you’re right, but I’d like to know the ad to which you’re referring so that we’re talking about the same thing in order to make that comparison.

        Like

      • Doubt it

        Please, please tell me you weren’t talking about the ads referred to here:

        “The media center also noted that as recently as 2004, CBS had rejected an ad from the United Church of Christ, which wanted to use the Super Bowl as a chance to tell people it welcomes gay members. The center says CBS also has rejected ads in the past from MoveOn.org and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.”

        If you think that there are more people in the country comfortable with a church welcoming gay members or any MoveOn ad (PETA ads are all over the map, so I can’t comment on that one without knowing what it is), I think you’re stretching it. And I say that as someone who has no problem with what United Church of Christ was trying to do (not to pull the Seinfeld line that “not that there’s anything wrong with that”). That issue is much more polarizing than an ad promoting life (again, as opposed to add promoting the overturn of Roe, which is a different thing altogether).

        The vast majority of the people in this country are personally opposed to abortion. I suspect that number is greater by a signifcant margin than the number of people who think gays and lesbians should be welcomed into a Church of Christ. And MoveOn.org ads are highly divisive (same group that called General Petraeus “Betrayus” in a NY Times Ad), much like an ads from other far right groups. I get that Focus on the Family is such a far right group, but this particular ad doesn’t highlight an issue in a partisan way. Maybe MoveOn has put such an ad out; it’s theoretically possible but I’ve never seen that from them.

        Like

        • First of all, I’ve got to tell you that it’s a sad day when a message of tolerance, which is what the UCC ad was about, is more polarizing than an advocacy ad.

          But that’s a minor issue. By your own admission, you don’t even remember the church’s ad. Think you’ll forget about Tebow’s? That speaks volumes as to which is more controversial.

          Like

          • Doubt it

            I thought I made it clear that I don’t take issue with the UCC ad, mainly because I just don’t get into theology debates. But a lot of Christians don’t think practicing gays should be welcome in a Christian church. If you think that’s sad, so be it. For me to even weigh in on whether it’s sad would require me to claim some base of knowledge about the faith that I really don’t have. Regardless, you don’t apparently dispute the notion that the ad would be viewed more negatively than an advocacy ad such as the Tebow ad. Or if you do, you’re not being very straightforward about it. There are a lot of things about society that are sad, but denying them doesn’t make it any less real.

            Second, the fact that the ad is getting more publicity makes it more controversial in absolute terms but not in a relative sense. Again, there is no denying the fact that the vast majority of Americans are anti-abortion (though the number of people who believe in the legal right are roughly the same as those who do not). It’s a contentious issue by its very nature, but the Tebow ad tacks the line that is favored by most people in this country whether you agree with it or not. So from CBS’s perspective, it’s pretty simple. You are offending a small but very vocal portion of the population. In return, you’re generating a lot of interest and likely spiking your ratings beyond what they would have otherwise been. And the people you’re pissing off probably won’t hold it against you because it’s not as if you have a reputation of being particularly conservative (no one is going to confuse CBS with FOX).

            What you seem to want to ignore is the business aspect of this — CBS is doing this because they think, from the bottom line perspective, it will help them, not hurt them. The same is not true for the other ads you mention, no matter how much that bothers you. You may think that’s immoral, unethical, etc., but if you believe in free speech, I don’t know why you’re so offended that a business would do something that furthers its bottom line. If they are doing anything else, it’s likely because someone is imposing a speech restriction.

            Like

            • Regardless, you don’t apparently dispute the notion that the ad would be viewed more negatively than an advocacy ad such as the Tebow ad.

              That’s not what I’m saying at all.

              From a purely free speech standpoint, I don’t see a whit of difference between the two ads. Speech is speech.

              From a perception standpoint, though, they are quite different in tone. The UCC ad was an invitation for gays to worship at the church; it didn’t purport to be a directive. The Tebow ad, on the other hand, is meant as advocacy. No matter how nicely dressed up it is with Tim and his mom, the underlying message is “people, don’t kill babies”. It’s much more intrusive in nature.

              I strongly question your underlying presumption that people are far more offended by the concept of gays praying in church than they are by an anti-abortion missive, but again, that’s not my point here. I don’t doubt that there are some people for whom the message is more important than the delivery, but to somehow inflate that in and of itself into judging which ad is more controversial/offensive is sad, IMO.

              Like

          • Doubt it

            I want to modify my earlier statement, but only slightly. If you say CBS should have its @rse handed to them because you think what the UCC did was right, I understand your position. You’re just voicing your own free expression against CBS for not supporting a cause in which you believe. For the same reason, I don’t blame some of the groups who are upset at CBS (though I differ with them on the underlying issue). When you get into the advocacy business, that’s the risk you face and you have to deal with those consequences. But I initially thought you were just going after CBS for hypocrisy, and on that score, I just think you’re dead wrong. It’s not hypocrisy if CBS’s perspective is purely business and one ad brings money in and another is a net drag on revenue. So if that’s the basis of your criticism, I just respectfully disagree. If you disagree on the merits of the respective ads, I don’t really have much of an opinion because, as I noted before, I’m not qualified to say what should offend someone with respect to theological matters. I spend too much time following sports (which will surely be my ticket to Hell).

            Like

            • It’s not hypocrisy if CBS’s perspective is purely business and one ad brings money in and another is a net drag on revenue.

              Except that’s not CBS’ stated perspective.

              The old policy was simply to draw a bright line prohibiting any advocacy advertising. (And isn’t it something of a stretch to characterize the UCC ad as advocacy, anyway?)

              The new policy, as I understand it, is to allow some advocacy advertising, as long as CBS finds the tone of the ad acceptable. That doesn’t sound like a “pure” business decision to me.

              By the way, CBS acknowledges that under its new policy, the UCC ad would be aired. So who knows where the line gets drawn now?

              Like

              • Doubt it

                You’re right, man, CBS is just a bastion of conservatism. That must be it.

                Sounds like the line is being drawn more liberally on all ads so that CBS can rake in as much money as possible.

                The fact that CBS says the tone of the ad must be okay sounds precisely like a “pure” business decision to me. The more “in your face” the ad is, the more likely it is to piss off people, which means that it’s not profit-maximizing anymore.

                The simplest explanation here is also the correct one: this isn’t a vast right wing conspiracy at work. But you seem pretty wedded to this opinion, so give CBS all the hell you want and see what difference it makes.

                Like

            • And I can’t help it, but your “business perspective” comment brought this bit of satire to mind.

              Like

    • Dog in Fla

      CBS wouldn’t necessarily call themselves being in favor of conservatives. Like the rest of the mainstream media, CBS is just scared of them and somehow had a heads up that if they ran the MoveOn ad Cheney would have their asses renditioned and waterboarded

      http://www.jimgilliam.com/2004/01/cbs_refuses_to_air_moveons_super_bowl_ad.php

      Like

  14. Rum-Dawg Millionaire

    I think there’s one thing we have gleaned from this last statement from Tebow: if Urban Meyer taught him one thing, it was how to blatantly lie.

    Like

  15. Dog in Fla

    One lady celeb lawyer for celeb’s opinion:

    “In her exclusive interview with RadarOnline.com Allred slams the ad and CBS’s decision to air it, pointing out factual inconsistencies with [MoT] Pam’s story. One glaring one is the fact that the act of abortion is totally illegal in the majority Catholic country of the Philippines – under all circumstances including rape and incest, and even without a provision in the circumstance that the mother’s [that would be, of course, Pam, the MoT] life is in danger. The law has been in effect since 1930.

    Allred says she believes it an impossible scenario to believe that Philippino doctors would of ever suggested abortion as a viable option for Tebow in the first place. And when you learn that physicians and midwives who perform abortions in the Philippines face six years in prison, and may have their licenses suspended or revoked, and that women who receive abortions – no matter the reason – may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years, it’s easy to see why.”

    Allred warns, “If this ad airs and fails to disclose that abortions were illegal at the time Ms. Tebow made her “choice”, then I intend to file a formal complaint of misleading advertising with those federal commissions.”

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/01/exclusive-interview-gloria-allred-threatens-cbs-allowing-tim-tebow-anti-abortion

    Like