Dixie Chicks Claim Anti-Bush Ad Rejected
The company behind the new Dixie Chicks documentary claims NBC has rejected their ads because it is anti-Bush. Variety (which has a rather unique writing style) has the story:
The Weinstein Co. is claiming that NBC and the CW have refused to air national ads for the new Dixie Chicks docu “Shut Up & Sing.” But while the Peacock has specifically said it won’t accept the spots because they are disparaging of President Bush, a rep for the CW strongly denies the Weinsteins’ version of events.
Barbara Kopple’s docu, which opens today in Gotham and L.A., revisits the fierce fallout that occurred in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that the president is from Texas, her home state.
The national spot shows a clip of Bush authorizing troops to fight in Iraq, then cuts to a clip of Maines’ comment. Next is a clip of the president saying publicly that the Dixie Chicks shouldn’t have their feelings hurt if people don’t want to buy their records anymore. The final frame shows Maines saying that Bush is a “real dumb (bleep).”
TWC wanted the national ads to begin running next week in preparation for the movie’s expansion on Nov. 11. Company said it hasn’t heard back yet from the commercial clearance departments at ABC, CBS and Fox. “It’s a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is profoundly un-American.”
NBC/CW denies this saying, “The spot was not declined. In fact, we were told they were not going to make a national spot buy on CW.”
One wonders, too, if there aren’t McCain-Feingold issues here as well.
Having seen the video of the commercial in question as well as various trailers for the movie, I am sure of two things. First, this is not a movie I have any interest in seeing. Watching multi-millionaires whine about being ostracized by their fans after having gone out of their way to alienate them is, shall we say, less than gripping. Second, the commercial is certainly no more insulting to President Bush than your average episode of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” or “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” let alone any number of paid political ads run this season on NBC and its affiliate networks. I can’t imagine that they would have turned it down for “disparaging President Bush.”
It strikes me far more likely this is a publicity stunt by Weinstein and the Chicks rather than a fearful television network bowing down to the Man.