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Commentary ::
Why I won't watch the Super Bowl this year
30 Jan 2004
First published on and

The Super Bowl is one of the few common cultural experiences that a vast segment (estimates ran around 40%) of the population in this country enjoys together. While I am not a big pro-football fan (I enjoy college and high school FB much more) I normally do at least catch the Super Bowl... but not this year.

The reason why I am boycotting the Super Bowl is because of the way that CBS is misusing its airing of the game to advance certain causes but not others.

CBS officialy has a policy that says that it will not run runs about "controversial issues of public importance."

Yet, it's own practices are not consistent with its own stated policy. It is refusing to air ads by (ad that attacked Bush's 1 Trillion Dollar deficit) and Peta (a vegetarian advocacy ad) at the same time allowing White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to run anti-marijuana propaganda ads, Philllip Morris to run anti-youth smoking ads, and of course lots and lots of ads by makers of products who hope to convince us that we need to buy their products to fill our needs (needs that we weren't aware of until we watched their commercials --- you tell me that creating false needs in the populace so that folks fall deeper into poverty, debt, and dependence on corporate america, isn't a matter of controvery and public importance), so that they can make lots and lots of money, part of which will be spent on campaign contributions to buy off politicians who will then act in the CORPORATE INTEREST instead of the PUBLIC INTEREST.

Now lots of of folks out there I'm sure will say that CBS has the right to do this. They are a company (not the government) and have the free speech rights to chose to run some ads and not others.

I say this is garbage (along with a few others words that aren't polite to say). CBS is not a human being, and is not "endowed by (the) Creator with certain unalienable Rights...." At best CBS (an artificial entity given life by Uncle Sam and not God) has civil rights (those rights that governments can bestow) but does not have human rights. Whatever rights CBS was given were supposedly given in the public interest, so it is only right that the government can rightfully take away those same rights if they become destructive to the common good.

Furthermore, even if one concedes that CBS does have free speech rights, the platform that CBS is using to propagate its ideas is not private property. The airwaves are rather public property which is held in trust by licensed broadcasters. Each of those broadcasters is given the right to use that public property as it sees fit (including for the purpose of making money) under the condition that such usage is done in a way that is in the public interest.

CBS's selective censorship of ideas is not in the public interest at least not in my eyes. Americans should have a right to hear dissenting viewpoints.

So if CBS is going to misuse its trust, and if the FCC is not going to act to stop it, then the least I can do is to not support it. Screw the Super Bowl. I ain't watching it.

I hope you do the same. More commentary on why we should boycott the Super Bowl in part or in whole can be found at: and at

See also:

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