The word was that Tim Tebow and mom Pam were intending to speak out against abortion in a Focus on the Family funded ad during one of the much-coveted Superbowl breaks. Well, for anyone who hasn't seen it, here's the nearly $3 million dollar spot.
Seems like much ado about nothing and a brilliant way for anti-abortionists to play victim to drum up sympathy, which is exactly what the pundits are saying this morning. Abortion was never mentioned in the ad, just a mom's statement that the football star almost never made it into the world -- and an invitation to go to the Focus website to learn more.
I smell a bait and switch. I suppose we all should have in the first place, since the decision to undermine womens' governance of their own bodies during a testosterone-pumped sporting event never made much sense to begin with -- but then again, a lot of what the far right does defies logic.
Never mind that in said website follow-up, Pam Tebow's claim that she was advised by her doctors to have an abortion due to health issues conflicts with fact that abortion was illegal in the Philippines at the time. Never mind that Focus on the Family's ultimate intent was to suggest that abortion is evil even if the mother's life is at stake. Never mind that the end objective is still obviously to reopen the debate over womens' bodies and rights, even if that wasn't what appeared on the screen. Never mind that the ad as presented looks probably about as innocuous as the ad that CBS previously refused to run when the United Church wanted to announce that it was LGTB-affirming... an obvious double-standard. Never mind all that, because what the public sees is "rabid feminist lefties" screaming and shouting over something that's perfectly innocent-looking -- thereby validating the stereotypes of misguided militancy and themselves as victims that the religious right has been pushing all along.
Of course, it's easy enough to rile up different sides of emotionally-charged debates of this caliber by declaring one's intentions and letting the other side fall all over itself protesting at it, sight unseen. And inevitably, the Fundies are celebrating a coup, with one site declaring that pro-choicers were "played like a Stradivarius." From Lifenews:
In the lead-up to the ad, abortion advocates appeared crazed and reactionary -- showing themselves to be more pro-abortion than "pro-choice."
That and the free press the ad earned are leading most observers to say Focus on the Family scored a touchdown by changing hearts and minds and making pro-abortion groups look like polemic extremists.
Ultimately, though, this only proves that the right still knows how to game, and the left still knows how to be played. Eight years of theocracy under Dubya plus a year of racial panic have emboldened those who believe in governance of state by church, turned liberals either impatient or timid, enabled sabotage by partisan stalemating, and caused centrists to hunker further in their closets for fear of being branded socialist.
In other words, nothing we didn't already know.
(Crossposted to DentedBlueMercedes)