The other day, I wrote a rather nakedly personal post here about that CatholicVote.com ad about the rather interesting and obvious fact that, faced with a crisis pregnancy long ago, the mother of President Barack Obama decided to let her unborn child live, and thrive and make history. It's the YouTube at the top of this post, again.
In that post, I noted that many people on the pro-life side of this issue have long discussed this angle of the Obama story and added:
... I have never seen this issue mentioned in mainstream coverage, let alone in a way that took it seriously -- either to quote those who would salute this argument or the opinions of those who would condemn it. Instead, there is silence and silence is rare in journalism on such an obvious and controversial image and idea. ...
Here is another question, if CatholicVote found the funds, would any major broadcast or cable television network take this ad? What about during the Super Bowl?
Soon after that, veteran religion writer Julia Duin at the Washington Times included the following interesting information about "Imagine Spot 1" in a roundup report about rising tensions between the Obama White House and traditional Catholics.
"We're using Barack Obama as a pro-life messenger," explained Brian Burch, president of Fidelis, the Chicago-based Catholic advocacy group that created the ad. "We were disappointed in his election in terms of our mission," he added. "But the thought was: Why fight the euphoria when you can use it?"
He is in negotiations with NBC about airing the ad during Sunday's Super Bowl, as donors, he said, are ready to come up with the $1.5 million an ad would cost. He also hopes the ad will highlight how one out of every three black pregnancies is aborted.
As it turned out, the supporters of the ad were able -- against all odds -- to find the money to purchase a Super Bowl slot.
Which brings us to yet another update, once again, in the Washington Times. You can probably anticipate how this story is going to turn out.
A popular pro-life video portraying President Obama as an unborn child has been rejected by NBC-TV as an ad during Sunday's Super Bowl.
"Imagine Spot 1," a YouTube video that has amassed more than 700,000 hits since its Jan. 20 premiere on Black Entertainment Television, was submitted earlier this week to NBC by Fidelis, a Chicago-based Catholic organization. Its subsidiary, CatholicVote.org, runs the 30-second spot on its Web site.
Brian Burch, president of Fidelis, said NBC originally responded with a proposal for a package including ads on NBC-owned or operated stations in the country's top 10 markets plus an additional four cities for a price tag of $1.5 million to $1.8 million. The immensely popular football game is known for the unusual and trendy kinds of ads it attracts.
"We put out the call to our members and large pro-life benefactors who told us they would put up significant dollars to make this happen," Mr. Burch said. "I was told the ad was approved and then there were a number of attorneys working on it. Then I was told they didn't want to run political or advocacy ads."
Now, the interesting subplot here concerns how the controversy about this ad does or does not compare with debates about other "issues" ads.
In this case, NBC is discussing the latest spot from PETA that argues that vegetarians have better sex lives. The visuals focus on women in alleged clothing doing rather creative things with vegetables. NBC's argument is that they rejected PETA, so they rejected the Catholics.
It's interesting, however, that the network suggested edits that would have allowed the PETA ad to run. As Duin reports, there have been other issues-related ads in Super Bowl broadcast history.
But here is what gets to me. What happens when you Google News search for, oh, "PETA, Super Bowl"? You get this batch of results.
What happens when you Google News search for "Obama, Catholic, Super Bowl"? You get this collection, which, you will note, once again shows that this is a "conservative news story" as opposed to a "real news story."
The PETA ad flap was a "real news story," you see. Vegetables and sex is real news. Abortion and the life of the nation's first African-American president is not real news. Now you know. I am sure that this is a big surprise.