Where was NOW before Tebow ad, CWA wonders UPDATED: AUL puts it on Facebook 

Heisman Trophy winner and University of Florida football star Tim Tebow is featured in a television spot that will appear on CBS during the upcoming Super Bowl telecast. Unless those zealous advocates of freedom of conscience at the National Organization for Women can intimidate CBS into spiking it.

Tebow and his mother talk during the spot, entitled "Celebrate Life" produced and paid for by Focus on the Family, about the fact he might have been aborted had she listened to a doctor who encouraged her to have an abortion due to complications in her pregnancy.

CBS has said it will not refuse to air the spot, but NOW is mounting a campaign to force Tebow off the air, claiming the spot is "offensive and extraordinarily demeaning," and it is hypocritical for CBS to air it when it has previously refused to air other politically controversial spots.

NOW is being joined by the Women's Media Center, which has posted an online petition seeking signatures of people who support their demand that CBS refuse to air the Tebow spot.

Their joint efforts to silence Tebow have drawn an impassioned response from Concerned Women for America (CWA) head Penny Nance who wonders what it takes to offend NOW.

"In the 3 ½ years I advised FCC [Federal Communications Commission] Chairman Kevin Martin on indecency issues I can’t recall one time that NOW ever spoke out about sexually graphic or misogynistic content on CBS," Nance said. "I find it laughable that NOW has a problem with Tim Tebow sharing his own story. If NOW really cared about women they would stop flacking for the abortion industry and start working on behalf of women and resolving our concerns about real problems such as sexually exploitative and violent content on television."

Interestingly, among the most reasoned discussions of this brewing controversy that I've read is found on the CBS web site where CBS News legal reporter Jan Crawford writes the "Crossroads" blog. She makes a couple of interesting points, beginning with her puzzlement over Tebow's critics trying to stifle debate on an important issue:

"According to the women’s rights groups, Pam Tebow shouldn’t be able to talk about her choice. They won’t even allow the discussion. And that shows just how much the issue of abortion has been taken out of public discourse. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, you can’t even talk about it. That point of view is not allowed to exist," Crawford wrote.

"There are any number of reasons why that’s stunning—to silence discussion of society’s most contentious issue, one that produces the most deeply held beliefs and passions. Just to put it in context, though, consider this: It’s not okay to 'Celebrate Life,' but apparently no one seems to have a problem with ads that glorify death."

Crawford's second point is to wonder about the silence from Tebow's critics about the increasing violence portrayed on television, often against women. And it frequently is produced by networks like CBS in their promotional spots for popular  prime-time entertainment:

"Week after week, in the middle of the so-called 'family hours,' I am covering up my kids faces and singing 'don’t watch, don’t watch' as some promotional advertisement for an upcoming crime show airs picturing a dead woman, her face smashed on the ground, with a knife in her back. Or an ashen corpse with bulging eyeballs and blood trickling out of its skull. And remember, these ads are airing not at 10 p.m., when the shows air, but at 5 p.m. or at 8:15 p.m," Crawford wrote.

"The networks are rife with these grotesquely violent ads for their crime series (and also for gory video games), and you may not even notice them—until you start watching television with kids under 13... But there’s no outrage over these ads that glorify death and violence, that depict women brutalized by crazed psychopaths on the run. No uproar. That’s reserved, instead, for ads that 'Celebrate Life,' while images of guts and gore continue to seep into our living rooms without protest."

UPDATE: Americans United for Life puts up Tebow ad Facebook page

Check it out here. This is the same group that did the innovative Virtual March for Life this week. As of this afternoon, more than 83,000 people have signed up there, created an avatar for themself, and joined the march. Could this be the first instance of new technological protest wave?

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Mark Tapscott

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