CBS Gets Apolitical Over Super Bowl Anti-Bush Ad

16 January 2004

Viacom-owned CBS, one of America's big four national TV networks, has declined to carry a 30-second commercial from liberal advocacy group MoveOn during its upcoming Super Bowl football broadcast. Super Bowl, a national sporting institution, commands an audience in excess of 100 million.

The banned ad is critical of President George W Bush and his administration's fiscal policies. Viacom is reportedly an enthusiastic supporter of these policies, not least the lifting of the cap on media ownership [WAMN: 26-Nov-03].

However, CBS insists its motives are apolitical, citing a long-term policy not to air ads promoting political or social issues anywhere on its network -- which reaches 38.8% of US audiences.

MoveOn, which intends to appeal the decision, has been granted permission to run a 60-second version of the ad on Time Warner's CNN cable network. This will run January 17 through January 21.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff