On December 7, 2007, Pearl Harbor Day, Bradley A. Blakeman, CEO and President of Freedom’s Watch, had this to say about NBC’s refusal to air the organization’s holiday messages supporting and thanking our troops, “The fact that FreedomsWatch.org appears in a TV spot thanking our troops stationed around the world this holiday season does not justify their refusal and reeks of censorship. NBC’s decision is sad and unfortunate.” CNN and Fox News and will continue running the messages of support through December 21. Below is a letter sent to John Kelly, NBC Vice-President of News Network Sales, demanding an explanation of why NBC refuses to air the ads.
December 7, 2007
Senior Vice-President of NBC News Network Sales
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Dear Mr. Kelly,
We understand that NBC, MSNBC and CNBC (the “Networks”) are refusing to sell advertising time to Freedom’s Watch (“FW”) to air a series of advertisements that thank our troops for their service and encourage the American public to show their appreciation for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country. It is our understanding that the purported basis for the denial is the Networks’ demand that FW remove reference on the advertisement to the FW website.
Given your past rejection of FW advertisements in August 2007 and your history of airing ads addressing controversial issues, as addressed in detail in my correspondence to you of August 28, 2007 (to which we have received no response), we are left to believe that your denial to FW is a subjective decision because the network officials disagree with FW. It is hard to comprehend how your demand to remove the FW website is anything but direct censorship of the positions taken by FW, particularly our support for the War on Terror. It is highly troubling that the Networks favor censorship over airing a magnanimous effort to thank the many men and women of our Armed Services who protect our freedoms every day.
FW has requested to purchase time on your networks to air advertisements thanking our American troops for their service and for spending time away from their family and friends this Holiday season. The FW website, www.freedomswatch.org, provides information to the American public about numerous ways to support our troops. For example, the FW website provides readers with links to Books for Soldiers, Adopt a Platoon and other worthy causes dedicated to assisting our troops during this Holiday season.
It is deeply troubling that the Networks appear to be rejecting an effort to air messages that thank our troops for their sacrifice and, in so doing, remind Americans of the sacrifices made by them this Holiday season. An effort to thank our troops should not be silenced by national broadcast and cable networks. Your denial begs the question of whether the Networks disagree with FW and, due to the level of your disagreement, you would prefer to censor FW’s effort to thank our troops and encourage an outpouring of support from the American people for them. A detailed explanation of your censorship appears to be very necessary.
If you refuse to air FW’s advertisement, we thus request an explanation of your basis in writing or station policy within two (2) days from the date above as time is of the essence.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. Please respond to me at the above address.
Very Truly Yours,
Bradley A. Blakeman
President and CEO
Hat tip to Breda