Sunday, October 29, 2006

Peacock gives Chicks the bird

There's some sort of attempt in place to try and spin the NBC ban of an ad for the Dixie Chicks documentary about the "ashamed George Bush comes from Texas" controversey as being a "no such thing as bad publicity" story, with the implication that there's no harm been done as they've got a shedload of extra publicity out of the ban.

That's hardly the point, though.

National networks refusing to carry an advert for a movie based around a low-level fuss and a fair-enough exercising of that right to free speech is hardly anything to celebrate:

NBC said it "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

CW said it "does not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot."

We're not sure why the CW felt it didn't have an "appropriate slot" - since when did advertisers get restricted to apt timings in the US? Would they only have been able to take the ad had they had some sort of cross between The Grand Ole Opry and Larry King Live to provide a slot for ads about country music and politics? Or is it just that they don't like news-related stuff on the newly megred UPN/WB network?

Of course, the glee with which Harvey Weinstein has seized on the NBC ban is almost as unseemly - if NBC had a cheek banning the ad in the first place, then for Weinstein to start issuing PR puffs disguised as Martin Luther style church-door-nailings is tacky in itself. The ban could still have been highlighted in a subtler way, and one which didn't leave those who would naturally side with the banned feeling a little queasy at having to collude in an advertising campaign at the same time.