Times Square Billboard From NORML Denied By CBS
With great regret and chagrin to report, CBS has rejected a contract deal with NORML to place a pro-cannabis law reform advertisement on the biggest electronic billboard in Times Square (The CBS ‘Super Screen’ at 42nd St) claiming that the advertisement is too political. NORML had a contract for the 15 second spot below on the giant billboard (and a second one featuring President Obama and New York City’s high cannabis arrest rate with its shocking racial disparity in enforcement).
High Times breaks the story tonight here.
This of course makes no sense to have CBS reject a non-profit organization like NORML’s pro-cannabis law reform advertisement, when, during the Super Bowl on Sunday–the most watched TV event annually in the United States–CBS is scheduled to air a controversial anti-abortion television advertisement produced by the socially conservative non-profit group Focus on the Family (who, like apparently CBS, is anti-cannabis). Last year, CBS rejected an advertisement from the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org claiming it was too political as well.
The hypocrisy and double standard here is appalling. NORML and MoveOn.org ads are deemed ‘political’ and can’t be purchased and broadcast by CBS, but Focus on the Family can roll a political hand grenade in the form of an anti-abortion TV ad into American households on no less than Super Bowl Sunday for the full and desired effect of creating public discussion.
Worse, beyond the fact that CBS censors political speech, the company has no apparent problems making money off the general public’s strong interest in ‘marijuana’ as the network has established Marijuana Nation, an eye-ball sucking, archive-rich, comprehensive and well done webpage relating to cannabis found on the Internet (Ironically, CBS’ site competes with NORML and High Times’ general content for readers…).
There are numerous reasons why cannabis prohibition has lasted over 72-years, and when huge, mainstream media outlets (who control bill boards, radio and TV, etc…) pick and choose what organization’s free speech they support and those they don’t–recognizing that absent a vibrant and informed public discussion about needed public policy changes, like ending cannabis prohibition, those needed public policy changes take so much longer than they would organically absent the filter of mainstream, corporate-leaning mega media outlets.
Personally, I can only wonder what public discourse, with now even more corporate influence, is going to look like in America post the SCOTUS decision two weeks ago in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.
February 5, 2010