30 March 2012

ESPN Self Censors The "Rise Up and Register" Campaign

NASCAR race car driver Blake Koch wanted to promote a campaign to educate fans on the importance of participating in U.S. elections.  Koch teamed up with the  “Rise Up and Register” campaign, but it seems that ESPN did rejected the ad supposedly due to the religious and partisan overtones.

See the cancelled ad for yourself:

Their mission statement notes “ Rise Up and Register firmly believes that increased electoral participation will yield tremendous benefit to our great nation at a time when our problems seem to mount daily.”

It is curious that ABC/Disney was so concerned about controversial overtones of the ad, as there were neither allusions to religion or Republicans.  The worst one could say about it is that it depicted an American flag.  Perhaps it would have been permitted if it showed the Obama Stars and Stripes.

Some believe that ESPN expunged the advertisement because of Blake Koch’s strongly expressed personal religious views.  Koch opined: “I didn’t think that my faith in Christ would have an impact on whether or not a sponsor could air a commercial or not.”  Maybe uber partisan progressives in programming thought that he might be related to the Koch Brothers.

The Lamestream Media has never had a problem pimping the “Rock the Vote” campaign, which was more than registering young people but RtV had the stated mission:

We use music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing to motivate and mobilize young people in our country to participate in every election, with the goal of seizing the power of the youth vote to create political and social change.

Viacom (the owner of MTV and CBS) has maintained a close relationship with Rock the Vote in its 22 year history, even though critics surmise that the RtV efforts are more than useless.  It is surprising that ABC/Disney would not want to burnish their civic image by encouraging American citizens to exercise their franchise, which many have died to defend.

One wonders what was the real rationale for not allowing Rise Up and Register’s advertisement of Koch’s car 41 campaign to be aired.  Are networks purporting to be prissy about allowing advertisements of controversial commercials?  Well, cigarette advertising is back on NASCAR on a limited basis.  And alcohol ads are allowed, albeit that Coors is an official NASCAR sponsor.  So does ESPN’s rejection of Rise Up and Register reflect the self-censorship for the values of Mad Men?  Could it be that the Mouse House spiked “Rise Up and Register” campaign ads as a back handed in kind contribution to the Oval Office incumbent, who would not benefit from motivated “bitter clingers to their God and their guns” which reflect NASCAR fans?

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