American Progress created a television advertisement for BeAWitness.org, our netroots campaign that calls out the television news media for their deplorable coverage of the genocide in Darfur. Over the last few days, three Washington DC television affiliates, NBC-4, CBS-9, and ABC-7, informed us that they refuse to air the ad.
Since the major networks seem to have their hands full covering stories like Natalee Holloway and the Runaway Bride, the ad does what the media won’t — puts the spotlight on Darfur, and suggests that genocide warrants increased coverage.
ABC News broadcast just 18 minutes of Darfur coverage in its nightly newscasts in all of 2004 — “and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings,” as Nicholas Kristof pointed out. NBC News featured 5 minutes, and CBS only had three, “about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths.” Now they won’t allow us to pay for 30 seconds to urge better coverage of the genocide.
Send a message to NBC, CBS and ABC demanding that the stations air the ad.
Here are the official responses from the networks:
NBC: WRC-TV has chosen not to accept the submitted commercial advertisement, “Genocide is News,” sponsored by BeAWitness.org.
CBS: Management did not approve the airing of the “Beawitness.org” spot.
ABC: I just got word that WJLA-TV will not be able to accept the creative for Be a Witness.org. Please let me know if there may be any alternative creative that we may run.