Much Ado about Nothing?

Screenshot from the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad
Screenshot from the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad

Last night the controversial Tim Tebow ad aired during the Super Bowl and, after finally seeing the ad, it’s hard to see what the controversy was all about.

The 30 second ad, which you can see on YouTube, raised the ire of abortion rights groups who claimed its content was demeaning and offensive to women—before they had even seen the ad.

In the end, the ad was incredibly subtle—perhaps a bit too subtle. If you hadn’t heard about the controversy surrounding the ad, you might not have known it was supposed to be a pro-life ad.

No Mention of Abortion

Pam Tebow talking about how she loves her son and almost lost him as a baby took up most of the 30 seconds. No mention of the pressure to abort or the courageous choice she made. Every prediction the pro-abortion choice groups made about the commercial turned out to be totally wrong. Only by going to Focus on the Family’s website could a person get the fully fleshed out pro-life message.

Many in the pro-abortion choice movement saw the absurdity of the overblown reaction of their leaders even before the ad aired, as John Jansen and I pointed out here recently. But even with such prominent liberal voices as the New York Times editorial page telling them to calm down, the pro-abortion choice leadership just didn’t seem to get it.

Now that the ad has aired, one might think the pro-abortion choice leaders would have learned the clear lesson of this controversy: If they had kept their mouths shut, nobody would have had any clue what this ad was about. It was only pro-choice leaders losing their cool that made it an issue in the first place.

Celebration of WHAT?

One would be wrong. Having seen the ad and found nothing related to “reproductive choice” in it, they couldn’t just be quiet and let their mistake blow over. No, now they’re grasping at straws to find something to condemn. NOW president Terry O’Neill told the LA Times:

I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it. That’s what comes across to me even more strongly than the anti-abortion message. I myself am a survivor of domestic violence, and I don’t find it charming. I think CBS should be ashamed of itself.

O’Neill is referring to the portion of the ad where, in the middle of her story, Tim Tebow flies in from off camera and “tackles” his mom, who promptly bounces up and jokes with her son about how he’s not as tough as she is.

The addition of this small piece of physical comedy, though perhaps in questionable taste, was obviously meant to lighten the mood given the weighty subject the ad was supposed to be about. But to call it a “celebration” of domestic violence is simply a willful mischaracterization of what goes on in the ad.

Pro-Choicers Embarrassed by Their Leaders

Just as before the ad, the leaders of the abortion rights movement are embarrassing their supporters and showing themselves wildly out of touch with the way average Americans—pro-life or pro-choice—actually think.

Take this quote from “Andre from Atlanta,” a blogger for the liberal culture blog The Daily Kos:

Now I ask you, what is divisive, offensive and demeaning about that ad. The commercial is actually very moderate, and it is a good piece of marketing for an organization that has been criticized in the past for holding positions out of the mainstream.

Ironically, while the Tim Tebow spot has softened the image of Focus on the Family, the controversy surrounding the ad has left feminist groups looking like extremists who want to suppress the speech of those who don’t agree with them.

A round of applause must go out to abortion-rights groups because, in the time it takes me to heat up some Tostitos cheese dip in the microwave, they managed to be out-marketed, out-thought and marginalized by Focus on the Family.

Pro-abortion organizations have had the status quo on their side for decades now. They haven’t had to make their case publicly in a persuasive way. Now that sentiment is drifting pro-life and more and more Americans are seeing the value of human life, the burden of proof will soon be on abortion supporters to defend their views under public scrutiny. If their bungling of the Tebow ad is any indication of how well they’ll make their case, I’m not too worried.

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