"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Dixie Chicks Ad Banned from NBC

Click and see. The fact that this sort of thing is not allowed makes no sense to me. I mean, the ads for Fahrenheit 9/11 were much more disparaging to Boosh.

Can't wait for the networks to stop mattering.


I read Glenn Greenwald's entry on this and even cutting through his rhetorical hyperbole I do not agree that there is something new to be concerned about. It's quite the same old thing to be concerned about. The concatenation of regulation, business and the free-flow of ideas is an old saw in television.

I don't think it's the big concern, either. The big concern is how advertisers think a network's audience respond to content and the control those companies have over the flow of ideas. They have, I believe, much more of an affect on what people see and hear than the government does, even with regulation and possible threats because of it.

Currently, cable market penetration is huge and regulation affects cable much less than it does the broadcast networks. To me it almost seems like fighting over the use of a flyleaf in a novel while forgetting the fact that there's a whole book after it.

But, if we're just talking getting the film advertising, well, look no further than News Corp. Fox affiliates have been running stories on this as has Fox News. As far as the affiliates are concerned, the reports are slanted more towards talking about The Dixie Chicks than anything else.

I think you're right that the critical thing is that this is about the flow of ideas; that in general there isn't really a huge "problem" because of the proliferation of outlets -- and especially with the potential of a free and open internet -- but rather a particularly mediocre malaze that comes from having out civilization information-sorting driven by consumerism.

What I find creepy about this case is the rationale. I mean, the shot-callers at NBC are influential people. Their decisions matter, and the thinking reflects the mindset within the power-elite, at least in part. In that context, and given a look at the ad, it's troubling to hear a gatekeeper say "we won't air that because it's too critical of the President."

Let me be Devil's Advocate on that.

What if it's not that it's critical of the President which makes them not want to run it, but that their viewers would not want to see something critical of the President?

That places NBC's reasoning within an entirely different context.

Bush is very unpopular, as are most of his policies. I think it's unlikely that NBC has any rational reason to believe that their audience "doesn't want to see" criticism of the president. Foxnews maybe, but the NBC market segment is pretty mainstream, and among mainstream Americans, the President is not well-liked.

It's possible that the shot-callers here live inside a bubble and think that their audience would balk at something that's anti-bush, but given how mild the critique is that still makes it kind of alarming.

Whether the thought process is "that's not what people want to see" or "that's not we want people to see" the outcome is still troubling as an indicator of where these people's heads are at.

What seems odd to me is that some of NBC's workhorses, Law & Order, SVU, Criminal Intent, SNL, Will and Grace, etc. are or were much more critical of the president, or his policies than this add. It shows a serious inconsistency. However, I think it may have to do more with the fact that it's the Dixie Chicks and not the criticism. Chalk it up to mysogeny or a good memory about the commercial backlash against them in 2003, but I think that's where the real issue lies. Either way, it's a bit ludicrous.

In spite of the CD-burnings that album was actually very commercially successful, as is their latest in spite of being virtually blacklisted by Music Row. Of course, country music is just like the regular industry, and success without industry support has always been possible (e.g. Cash, any of those "outlaws," etc).

Well, then my commercial theory doesn't fly. Still, after viewing the add, it is no more critical of Bush than the shows I mention can be directly or indirectly. So, there is some lacking consistency which leads me to believe it's a dummy response. Also note, that the "too critical" claim is a direct quote from Weinstein, not NBC. Along with the inconsistency of the reports about the CW stand on the ad(they rejected the add vs. the ad company didn't submit a buy to CW), methinks Harvey is up to something. Though it's not out of the realm of possibility for NBC to be worried about sullying the president.

It may have something to do with equal time laws. Just thinking out loud here, but perhaps NBC doesn't want to risk being forced to run a pro-GOP ad to counterbalance the movie ad, thus losing out on some all-important revenue.

Equal time rules, for whatever they're worth as they only apply to broadcast networks, apply only to programming the networks themselves pay to produce (anything the FCC deems a "news" program is exempt). It doesn't apply to commercials.

The intent is to prevent a network from explicitly engaging in political advocacy. Commercials are subject to what the network wants to run, and what people can pay for.

Thanks for the lesson! I've heard that argument used every once in a while, so I thought I'd chime in. Ignorance shall remain bliss.