Group Says NBC Refuses to Air Ads Thanking Troops Over Holidays
Friday, December 07, 2007
WASHINGTON — NBC has nixed holiday advertisements meant to thank troops for serving overseas in opposition to the inclusion of a non-profit's Web address.
The ads, paid for by the non-profit Freedom's Watch, are a simple thank you, the group says, with people shown paying gratitude to members of the military and the final frame showing the group's Web address, www.freedomswatch.org
Click here and here to view the ads that NBC won't air.
NBC is refusing to air the ads as long as the address is included, according to an e-mail exchange between NBC and the group, which Freedom's Watch provided to FOX News.
"Per my previous email, the www.freedomswatch.org
website will have to be redacted from the commercials for approval. This comes from Alan Wurtzel and Rick Cotton," according to one of the notes.
Wurtzel is president of research at NBC. Rick Cotton is general counsel for NBC Universal.
Speaking with FOX on Friday, Wurtzel said NBC has no problem with the content of the ad, specificallythe well-wishes to troops.
However, he said, the link to the website violates their policy on controversial issue advertising because it encourages political action and other activities. He said the policy is applied consistently across the board and this group was not targeted in any way.
Wurtzel also expressed general concerns that NBC has about people with "deep pockets" being able to buy up a great deal of advertising and affect public perception on any issue, solely because they have the money to do it.
Freedom's Watch President and CEO Bradley Blakeman told FOX on Friday that this is not the first time NBC has turned down his group's ads and believes it has a specific objection to his group's support for the War on Terror.
"NBC asked us to re-vamp our Web site. They wanted to censor us, and we said, 'No we're not going to be censored,'" Blakeman said, noting that the organization's Web site points to more than 20 other non-profit Web sites where readers can thank and support troops.
NBC also objected to using images including military uniforms and vehicles and asked for proof of government approval for the group's use of the images in its ads.
Freedom's Watch says it has never been questioned on that before and paid for the rights to use the images from an independent licensing company.
E-mails provided to FOX show that NBC also might have objected to the ads on its in-house issue advertising policy.
FOX News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.