Topic: Media Research Center
Knowing a good right-wing anti-media narrative when he sees it -- and being a terrible media critic -- the Media Research Center's Tim Graham leaped on the claim by tiny Nine Line Apparel that CBS rejected its Super Bowl ad for being too patriotic. Graham huffed: "Networks are well-known for rejecting overt political messaging....unless it's from a sponsor like Nike that has multinational-conglomerate heft, and the message leans a bit left. Liberal messages are also allowed by CBS if you're an arrogant newspaper that imagines you're the saviors of democracy."
Just one problem with this story: it was apparently too good for Graham -- or the Washington Examiner's notoriously right-wing gossip columnist, Paul Bedard, the "friend" from whom Graham lifted the story -- to fact-check. Both rely solely on Nine Line's insistence that CBS' claim that it questioned the company's ability to pay for the ad, which would cost roughly one-third of its annual revenue of $25 million, was just an excuse to reject the ad's content.
Neither Graham nor Bedard bothered to contact CBS for comment. An actual news outlet did: According to USA Today's For the Win blog, a CBS spokesperson said the network never rejected the ad.
Claiming your Super Bowl ad got "rejected" is a cheap way to generate publicity. As we reported last year, the promoters of AML Bitcoin -- which made a deal with WND to give away pieces of it to donors -- claimed its Super Bowl ad was "banned," when in fact it had never bought airtime and the network doesn't review content unless airtime is purchased.
That appears to be what happened here. If CBS didn't think Nine Line couldn't pay for the ad, there's no need to review its content -- which is why CBS can credibly say it never rejected the ad.
Is Graham and the MRC going to apologize for promoting this bit of fake news? Doubtful -- it advances a right-wing narrative.