Super-hyped ad

There have been Super Bowl games that didn’t live up to the hype, and there have been Super Bowl ads that were duds.

But there’s never been such a hyped-up Super Bowl ad that left people scratching their heads with a “What was all that fuss about?” expression like the now-famous Tim Tebow ad.

First the entire nation was subjected to what turned out to be one of the largest mountain/molehill transmutations in memory. Before the ad’s airing, one would have thought that CBS was selling airtime to al-Qa’ida, given all the shrill condemnation shouted from the pro-abortion rooftops.

Yet if you saw the 30-second ad on the Super Bowl broadcast, the first thing that came to mind was that it didn’t mention abortion at all. It’s probably the subtlest political ad I’ve ever seen.

Here’s how the ad went:

Tim Tebow’s mom, Pam, appears on screen holding a baby picture of Tim.

“I call him my miracle baby,” she says. “He almost didn’t make it into this world. I can remember so many times when I almost lost him. You know, with all our family’s been through, we have to be tough.”

Suddenly, she is apparently tackled by the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and flies off screen. Popping back up, she scoldingly says, “Timmy! I’m trying to tell our story here!”

Then a playfully smiling Tim joins her and apologizes.

“You still worry about me, Mom?” he asks.

“Well, yeah,” says Pam. “You’re not nearly as tough as I am.”

Then the tag line, “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life,” comes up and directs viewers to visit the Focus on the Family Web site for the full Tebow story.

That’s it. Would that all political campaign ads took such a high, understated road.

In fact, had the abortion-rights organizations kept mum, most viewers wouldn’t have even known what the ad was about. But fanatical special interest groups can rarely resist the attack-mode gag reflex. Which helps explain the second part of this absolutely farcical Tebow ad episode, some of the pro-abortion crowd’s response to the ad’s airing.

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, led the charge the day after the Super Bowl by lambasting CBS for sanctioning the ad’s glorification of anti-women violence.

“I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it,” she said, evidently referring to Tim’s pretended tackle of his mother.

“That’s what comes across to me even more strongly than the antiabortion message,” she said. “I myself am a survivor of domestic violence, and I don’t find it charming. I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.”

Anti-abortion groups could hardly have prayed or paid for such a straw grasping, rant-sounding gaffe from NOW’s president.

Shelby Knox, of the Women’s Media Center, originally echoed the “violence against women” complaint, but a week later backpedaled in the wake of national ridicule to argue that she wrote those words “jokingly.”

What made such responses even more laughable was the fact that the “tackle” in the Tebow ad paled in comparison to Snickers’ bone-crunching takedown of Betty White in its ad a few minutes later.

Interestingly, Snickers tied the Tebow ad for last place in viewership, according to the Nielsen Co. Still, even dead last garners more than 92 million viewers, and the Focus on the Family ad nevertheless scored a super public relations coup-Nielsen said the Tebow ad generated more than 10 times as much pre-game buzz than any other Super Bowl advertiser.

If Focus on the Family set out to make NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and others wildly overreact and appear paranoid and defensive, it worked.

Journalism for all

Just a week after the state Education Board struck down an innovative proposal to consolidate the Weiner and Delight school districts, on Monday it also voted to shutter the Twin Rivers School District because of academic accreditation issues.

Twin Rivers was formed in 2004 by the consolidation of Williford and Randolph County districts.

One of the deficiencies cited by the state in closing the district was the lack of a journalism class. Not everyone realizes that Arkansas accreditation standards for public high schools requires that one unit of journalism be taught every single year.

In comparison to some other pretty important subjects, that seems like an extra helping of news-writing instruction. With a childhood obesity crisis looming, only a half unit of health and fitness is required. In an era of high debt and low savings, only a half unit of economics is dictated each year.

Arkansas students can go their entire high school career and never have to take a U.S. Constitution course at all. (The one American history unit requires an emphasis on 20th century America.) If that seems out of kilter, it should.


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