Thursday, 04 February 2010

Tebow Pro-family Ad Garners Pre-Super Bowl Hype

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Focus on the Family’s desire to run a pro-life advocacy advertisement during the Super Bowl on February 7 has gained the traditional values group far more publicity than its leadership could ever have imagined.

The ad will feature former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother Pam sharing a story that the group says celebrates family and life. While the ad has apparently passed muster with censors at CBS, news that the network would even consider selling ad time to an organization speaking out for life and family sent abortion activists and feminist spokesmen into a non-stop PR blitz in an attempt to pressure network executives to kill the ad.

While Focus has not revealed the precise content of the 30-second commercial, which will cost an estimated $2.8 million, it is expected to center on Pam Tebow’s decision in 1987 to reject the advice of doctors to have an abortion after she became ill on a church missions trip overseas. Her son Tim, who has grown up to live a productive and inspiring life, has been grateful ever since. The ad features the two of them together as a testimony of one family’s commitment to life. Officials at Focus on the Family explained that the Tebows “share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive,” and that the family decided to participate in the ad “because the issue of life is one they feel very strongly about.”

But pro-abortion groups have been nothing short of aggressive in their cries of foul over CBS’ decision to air the ad, and in their efforts to pressure the network to overturn their approval of the ad, arguing that CBS is violating its long-time policy of refusing to air advocacy ads during its broadcast of sports events.

The left-leaning Women’s Media Center used the issue as an opportunity to activate its supporter base, encouraging them to sign on to a petition to CBS declaring that the Focus advertisement “endangers women’s health, uses sports to divide rather than to unite, and promotes an organization that opposes the equality of Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and reproductive freedom.”

The feminist group called the upcoming ad, which its leadership had not seen, “surrealistic in its argument that a woman who chooses not to have a child may be depriving the Super Bowl of a football player. It uses one family’s story to dictate morality to the American public. Concludes the hyper-reactive petition, “Women comprise 40% of Super Bowl viewers. If CBS airs this ad, they will be throwing these women under the bus.”

Similarly, the ultra-feminist National Organization for Women (NOW) called on CBS to torpedo the Focus spot, arguing that an ad which spotlights the abortion issue “has no place in the Super Bowl.” In a patently disingenuous attempt to appear self-effacing, NOW’s vice president Erin Matson solemnly attested that as a veteran organizer of pro-abortion rallies, “I recognize how inappropriate it would be for me to sit in the stands with signs at the Super Bowl.” But with Focus on the Family’s success in getting its ad aired during this year’s game, don’t be surprised if next year’s contest features an entire series of feel-good ads from groups like NOW and Planned Parenthood.

Defending its approval of the advertisement, CBS said in a prepared statement, “Our standards and practices process continues to adhere to a policy that ensures all ads on all sides of an issue are appropriate for air.” And CBS spokesman Dana McClintock explained, “We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms. In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads for some time.”

A half-dozen years ago CBS actually rejected an advocacy ad submitted by the United Church of Christ highlighting that denomination’s acceptance of homosexuals. CBS indicated that the under its current policy, the church ad would have made the cut for this year’s Super Bowl.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life and pro-family Susan B. Anthony List, pointed out that women watching the Super Bowl are sophisticated enough to be trusted with the message of the Focus on the Family ad, and “certainly don’t need to be protected from the idea that if they have a crisis pregnancy that they can choose life.” She noted that the point of the Focus on the Family spot is to offer what the Planned Parenthood crowd claim they want to give women — a choice. But the choice the ad offers is the choice of life. “This is just the one choice they can’t abide,” she said.

Dannenfelser also announced that over 50,000 Americans had submitted comments through the Susan B. Anthony List website,, supporting the Tebow family’s decision to share their story through the Focus on the Family advertisement. “NOW and company are on the wrong side of American public opinion,” she said. “In only four days, over fifty thousand Americans have sent messages of support to the Tebow family…. The outcry of national support for Tim Tebow’s pro-life leadership illustrates the strength of the growing American pro-life majority.”

Tim Tebow himself, who is no doubt hoping to find himself starring in an upcoming Super Bowl game rather than in one of its advertisements, offered his own take on the uproar the ad is causing. “Some people won’t agree with it, you know, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe,” he said. He added that the ad is “a great opportunity to share a very happy and special story about my mom fighting for me” — obviously a thought the Planned Parenthood crowd does not want planted in the minds of potential abortion customers.

Photo of Tim Tebow: AP Images

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