I was fortunate enough to get a quick mention on Dennis Prager’s radio show earlier today by name, not because of this blog or anything, but because I found myself doing something I wouldn’t normally do – namely, correcting something the host said.
Admittedly, I felt funny doing it, seeing as I admire Dennis very much. My intent was not to show him up or get the better of him by any means
He was simply wrong on a point he was making and I felt it needed correcting in order for the point to be more effective.
Besides, he welcomes corrections.
They don’t occur very often, but when they do, he embraces them, you might say.
I couldn’t get through on the phone, so I e-mailed the show toward the end of the first hour. Much to my delight, Dennis came out of a commercial break during the second hour and announced my correction to an assertion he made regarding last night’s Focus On The Family Super Bowl commercial featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, and his mother, Pam.
Before it ever hit TV screens across America, the spot caused a much-publicized uuproar among many pro-abortionists for what was anticipated to be an “in your face” pro-life message. Based on how controversial the ad was supposed to be, Dennis was among those on the right who felt the ad shouldn’t air. His position raised more than a few eyebrows among his conservative brethren.
After all, why would any conservative not want to see an ad on television that advocated for a genuine conservative value – namely, the right to life? In a world where the mainstream media is so obviously slanted left, one would think that such a thing would garner unanimity among conservatives.
Leading up to the Super Bowl, Prager made it very clear that he personally supported the pro-life position. He had no problem with the Focus On The Family message in and of itself, but his reservations were rooted in his displeasure of having advocacy ads airing during the Super Bowl – or any other sporting event, for that matter. He felt that allowing one controversial, issues-based ad to air would open the door to a slew of politically-charged commercials, which would eventually devolve into an all-out political ad war. The Super Bowl, he argued, was no place for that kind of sparring. In a nation already rife with political discontent, there should be some venues, he argued, free from such things.
It’s a fair argument.
Of course, as it turned out, the ad was neither controversial nor political in any way. In fact, after seeing it twice, as Dennis explained today, unless a viewer specifically knew what Focus On The Family was all about, he or she would be hard pressed to attach any political position whatsoever to the spot. On its face, it was about a Mom loving his Son, sponsored by some family oriented organization. While Dennis continued to maintain that advocacy spots should not be aired during broadcasts like the Super Bowl, Dennis conceded that the Tim Tebow spot did not fall into that category.
Pam and Tim Tebow
Where Dennis made his mistake was in his description of the commercial’s ending for his audience. According to him, the commercial’s final scene, although very brief, gave away the fact that it was, indeed, a pro-life ad – not because the Focus On The Family web address came on screen, but because the phrase “pro life” appeared in the closing graphic. Dennis argued that if not for that, it would have been impossible to know what the ad was advocating, other than Mom and Son love eachother.
He went on to say that even with the short appearance of the words “pro life” at the end, the commercial was not the kind of issues-oriented ad he spoke out against prior to the Super Bowl.
He ultimately had no problem with the commercial.
Dennis got into a debate with one caller who claimed the commercial was clearly an advocacy ad precisely because the Focus On The Family web address was shown. According to the caller, that alone made it an issues-based spot because all one would need to do is go to the website and see that the organization is, in fact, a pro life organization (among other things). Dennis challenged the caller, saying that no one could possibly know that it was an anti-abortion commercial by its contents – except for the final graphic featuring the words “pro life.”
The problem with Prager’s otherwise effective argument is that the words “pro life” do not appear anywhere in the ad – not even at the end, as he stated.
There isn’t a hint of anti-abortion to be found in that spot – and that’s where I felt Dennis needed to be corrected.
His argument was worth hearing – and it was a good one – but for the sake of clarity (Dennis’ best friend), the facts needed to be sound.
On its content, the ad was as much an anti-abortion spot as it was an anti-tofu burger spot.
What actually does appear at the end of the ad are the thoroughly innocuous and inoffensive phrases “celebrate family” and “celebrate life” – and who, in their right mind, could argue with those sentiments?
Not even leftists. (I think).
The Tim Tebow spot was as antispeptic and non-controversial as a commercial could be.
Unless one is ready to make the claim that Life cereal is an anti-abortion breakfast food or that Milton Bradley’s “Game Of Life” is a disguised effort to undermine Planned Parenthood, the most talked-about Super Bowl commercial turned out to be the most wholesome one of them all.