From today's Arts, Briefly:
CNN has rejected advertising for “Death of a President,” and National Public Radio will not accept sponsorship announcements for the fake documentary, the film’s distributor said yesterday. The movie, directed and co-written by Gabriel Range, features a fictional assassination of President Bush. The distributor, Newmarket Films, said it had been told that CNN “has decided not to take the ads because of the extreme nature of the movie’s subject matter”; NPR, it said, cited a similar reason. Chris Ball, a founder of Newmarket, said, “To refuse to accept ads for a movie is tantamount to saying it shouldn’t be seen, and this runs counter to everything we are supposed to believe in as a free society.” Some large theater chains have refused to show the film, which opens nationwide on Friday."Extreme subject matter"? That's the new standard?
Look, I'm fine with broadcast companies having the right to pick and choose advertising. (I myself am beginning to experiment with Blogads, which will give me such veto power.) But own it, for god's sake. We all know there's been plenty of more ideologically "extreme" products advertised on both CNN and NPR. Why don't they just come out and say, "We don't believe anyone should make a film about the assisination of the current president. We don't think such a story should be told."
Or, to be more truthful, they should just say: "We don't want to be boycotted and picketed by the truckloads of Karl Rove and James Dobson's armies who will demand we drop all advertisements for said film."
And by the way--NPR??? I could sorta understand a tv network not wanting to broadcast the movie's controversial CGI-generated images of Bush being shot. But, first, I believe the 'R' in NPR stands for radio. And, second, they don't even have ads! So, what they're saying is, they won't even risk having one of their announcers intone in that smug monotone something as innocuous as, Car Talk today is brought to you by Death of a President, the controversial independent film for people who really, really hate Bush. Not like that would be you, or anything...
I'm not an NPR member. But if you are, let them know how you feel.
PS: In the Reuters story, NPR elaborates further:
"The movie is fairly likely to generate significant controversy and we'll cover it as a news story," said spokeswoman Andi Sporkin. "To take a sponsorship spot would raise questions and cause confusion" among listeners.
So, let's get this straight: NPR never accepts sponsorship from any product their news division may cover?
Funny, their own ethics guidelines, seem to already have a perfectly reasonable rule in place to do so...
4. If NPR reports on an organization or individual who funds us, we will disclose that relationship on air if the subject of the report is directly related to the thrust of the grant we received.