Home > media, sports > Breaking Silence about the Tim Tebow Ad

Breaking Silence about the Tim Tebow Ad

Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 22:54 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

My most loyal reader asked me recently why I hadn’t blogged about the upcoming Tim Tebow Super Bowl commercial. The ad reportedly features the former Heisman Trophy winner and his mother telling the story of how doctors urged her to abort Tim because of a serious illness she contracted while pregnant. She didn’t have an abortion, obviously, and now both she and her son want to tell the Super-Bowl-watching audience that they’re glad she didn’t because her baby boy turned out to be not only healthy but exceptionally talented at football.

Frankly, I didn’t feel the urge to write about it at the time; it seemed like the usual brouhaha whenever anyone in a public position says anything directly or indirectly questioning abortion. The hyperbole is amusing but ultimately meaningless. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I had more interesting things to write about.

What changed my mind and got me off my butt to weigh in was seeing this posted on the Facebook page of one of my friends:

EMILY’s List: Tell CBS not to politicize the Super Bowl with an anti-choice Focus on the Family ad!

The ad, of course, isn’t “anti-choice” except in an Orwellian sense, which may explain the need for the hyperventilating exclamation point at the end of the absurdly reactionary sentence. Nonetheless, Emily’s List was only one of many “women’s groups” to gripe. (For my money, the most interesting quote in the just-linked article is from columnist Gregg Doyel, who complains that Super Bowl Sunday is “not a day to discuss abortion.” Presumably, he believes it is a day to “discuss” men drinking beer while surrounded by scantily-clad, objectified women, but that’s a topic for another time.)

The anti-ad reaction is so ridiculous that even abortion activists Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman seem embarrassed by it and think it’s a huge tactical mistake.

Erin Matson, the National Organization for Women’s new vice president, called the Tebow spot “hate masquerading as love.” That kind of comment may play well in the choice choir, but to others, it makes no sense, at best; at worst, it’s seen as the kind of stridency that reinforces the view that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion.

As a matter of fact, as we can see from the unreasonable reactions to the ad, most organizations (if not most people) who claim to be “pro-choice” are simply pro-abortion and viscerally disapprove of the less lethal choices. They call the Tebow ad “anti-choice” for the sole reason that it dares to showcase a choice other than abortion.

The response also highlights a tactic that has become not just common but necessary in defending abortion: when you can’t argue with the message, attack the messenger. In this case, Focus on the Family is indeed the anti-feminist, anti-gay, ultra-traditionalist organization its critics claim. For that reason, some people would have the urge to argue with the group if they ran an ad asserting that the sky is blue, especially if the point was that God made it that way.

But worse than the hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty is the disdain for women this manufactured controversy reveals, an attitude that holds that women who challenge the abortion orthodoxy by making a different decision aren’t being team players. Pam Tebow rejected the advice of her doctors, and she and her son proved the doctors wrong. If you’re an absolutist abortion defender, a woman who exposes the fallibility of abortion-promoting doctors is dangerous because she empowers other women to make their own decisions based on what they think is best. And if women feel empowered, if their decisions are respected and they and their children supported, it makes the screamers whose only answer is abortion seem callous and cold, not to mention virulently anti-choice.

Pot, meet kettle.

Categories: media, sports
  1. Thursday, February 4, 2010, 21:04 EDT at 21:04

    "Disdain for women"? That's a fantastic phrase. I believe I'll be borrowing it. It perfectly describes the attitudes of rightist thugs like Focus on the Family who want to hold up the example of the choice one woman made as a reason why no other woman should have the right to make such a choice for themselves.Den Mother, meet reality.

  2. Thursday, February 4, 2010, 21:39 EDT at 21:39

    Your comment reiterates my point about attacking the organization because you have no reasonable grounds on which to attack the ad. The other point you managed to make, inadvertently I'm sure, is that abortion advocates like to see things that aren't there, and then attack them, another sign that the content of the ad itself is entirely non-controversial.Here's a homework assignment. On Sunday, watch for the ad, then come back here and post one thing in it that is "anti-choice."

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