David Goetzl of MediaPost.com reports today that CBS has “approved a script” for the Super Bowl ad produced by the group Focus on the Family. Tim Tebow and his mother Pam will be the centerpieces of the 30-second spot, which reportedly will fetch $2.8M.
(Anti-gay press release on Focus on the Family official site)
Goetzl reports the Focus on the Family ad “will not carry a pro-life message — at least an overt one.” A spokesman for CBS said the network, “will review the video version of the spot before giving it the final green light, but does not anticipate any hurdles.”
There’s been a lot of debate about the ad, given that many view religion-based Focus on the Family as a political advocacy group. The group’s leader, Dr. James Dobson, is well-known for his on the record opposition to abortion, gay marriage and homosexuality.
Much of Dobson’s widely-recognized political influence is chronicled by Washington Post website Slate.com in a 2004 piece by Michael Crowley titled, “James Dobson, The Religious Right’s New Kingmaker.”
Part of the concern for the approval of an ad from a group fronted by Dobson is that in 2004, CBS rejected a Super Bowl ad produced by the United Churches of Christ. CBS Executive Vice President Martin Franks said at the time, “The network simply does not accept any advocacy advertising of any kind.”
That’s the context for the ad that you will see Tebow headlining on Super Bowl Sunday. For all I know, the spot will be a benign affirmation of family values - as interpreted by Tebow and his mom. No biggie.
(Focus on the Family Founder: “[gay marriage] will destroy the Earth.”)
A larger issue though is Tebow generating awareness for a group with a well-chronicled, aggressive anti-gay agenda. An agenda that is often interwined with political interests.