That was quick! On Friday, we noted that NBC had rejected an ad from the conservative group Freedom’s Watch that asked viewers to think of U.S. soldiers in Iraq over the holidays. The network had said its decision was based on the fact that the ad contained a link to the group’s Web site, which has explicitly political content, and therefore violaterd the network’s prohibition on controversial issue ads.
But over the weekend — after Newt Gingrich had taken to Fox News to urge conservatives to boycott NBC — came word that the network had changed its mind. In a statement released Saturday evening and reported by the Associated Press, NBC declared: “”We have reviewed and changed our ad standards guidelines and made the decision that our policy will apply to content only and not to a referenced Web site.”
The original ban on controversial issue ads doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us, but this modification makes even less. If an ad sends viewers directly to a Web site, why shouldn’t the content of that site have to meet whatever standards are required of the ad? Would NBC allow an anodyne ad that gave out a link to the homepage of the American Nazi party?
Still, at least NBC got Newt Gingrich off its back.