Nadine Smith

Anti-Gay Ad Costs Media General Advertisers

Filed By Nadine Smith | September 10, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Media General, Silencing the Christians

Advertisers are pulling their dollars from Media General - parent company of WFLA Ch 8 - in response to the media company's decision to air an hour-long infomercial of hateful anti-gay propaganda on St. Pete's Pride Day this year.

While other stations across the country rejected the hour-long hateful infomercial, Media General/WFLA management made the business decision to take a reported $35,000 while ignoring their responsibility to provide honest, balanced information.

Instead, they argued that disclaimers before and after the program should be sufficient to distance them from the repugnant message.

They also have refused to air a program that might balance out the lies and mitigate the insult of having aired the program on Pride Day 2009, the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall.

Here's what you've done to tell WFLA that they cannot profit from homophobic attacks on our community.

* Over 200 Equality Florida Members raised "red flags" in front of WFLA and Media General's headquarters as part of a swiftly organized rally.
* Every major news outlet covered the protest, including a St. Pete Times columnist who noted that Media General/ WFLA would not have broadcast such an assault on any other community.
* More than 3,000 messages from the community flooded the station ensuring management heard firsthand the injury they have inflicted on their community, their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers by selling the airwaves to dehumanizing propaganda.

But we're not done yet.

Equality Florida volunteers and staff have been reaching out to Media General's advertisers and asking them to pull their ad dollars in an amount equivalent to the $35,000 they made off the backs of Tampa Bay's LGBT community.

Major advertisers are contacting Media General (parent to WFLA, the Tampa Tribune, and TBO online) as their advertising contracts expire in October letting them know they don't want their company associated with such anti-gay propaganda.

In a letter to the station's management, Chris O'Brien explained why he is pulling his $900 a month advertising account from the media conglomerate. He wrote:

"I regret to inform you that Board of Directors of O'Brien & Rush Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Vintage Real Estate Services with Christopher T. O'Brien presiding as President and majority stockholder has voted to boycott Media General and any of it's affiliates for airing the bigoted propaganda piece "Silencing Christians" on WFLA.

Our company promotes equality and not hatred, it is our opinion that any relationship with Media General is against the values of our company..."

Now it's your turn!

Click here and join us in calling on Media General's advertisers to hold the media company accountable.(Here's the direct link:http://www.eqfl.org/wfla.html)


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Rallies and ad boycotts against the TV station and its corporate owner are fine, but I wonder if Equality Florida or GLAAD has explored possibilities of legal action. Once upon a time, the Fairness Doctrine did require "equal time" and equal access to advertising on radio and TV stations because airwave broadcasting time by its very nature is limited, hence subject to governmental controls. Perhaps lawyers who read this blog could comment on whether the Fairness Doctrine, as currently applied, offers gay advocacy groups any hope of getting "equal time" from the station. If there is an opportunity there, is any organization pursuing it? Has anyone filed a lawsuit or at least a complaint to the FCC?
"For the Bible Tells Me So" is one excellent hour-long documentary that would powerfully present the "other side" of "Silenced." No doubt there there are several other films that also would fill the bill.
By the way, before making up their minds about "Silenced," people should watch at least some of it to get an idea of its message and tone. It is mostly testimony from people in the Ex-Gay movement. It has slick production values, using sound bytes from people who present a calm and sincere image. Consequently, it's much more of a threat than the Fred Phelps sign-carriers, whom nearly everyone dismisses as kooks.
The video clip can be found at www.silencingchristians.com. I'm disappointed TBP didn't include it in this post as part of its own observance of fairness (although, legally, the Fairness Doctrine doesn't apply to print or Internet media).