Newspapers Blast NOW for Saying Tim Tebow Ad Promotes Domestic Violence

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Newspapers Blast NOW for Saying Tim Tebow Ad Promotes Domestic Violence

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Just as they defended the pro-life Tim Tebow commercial before it aired during the Super Bowl, newspaper columnists are defending the commercial from the latest attack by the pro-abortion National Organization for Women (NOW) claiming it promoted domestic violence.

The ads feature Pam Tebow sharing her story of how Tim Tebow "almost didn’t make it into this world" because of her tough pregnancy. Tebow was advised by her doctors to consider an abortion, but she refused.

In an attempt to mirror the humorous nature of most Super Bowl commercials, the Focus on the Family in-game ad shows Tebow tackling his mom and his mother playfully scolding him for interrupting her.

That was too much for NOW president Terry O’Neill, who told the Los Angeles Times the ad glorified violence against women: "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."

Several newspaper columnists are taking issue with her response and Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune said it "trivializes real problems" women face with authentic domestic violence.

‘No, Terry O’Neill is the one who should be ashamed," he writes. "A statement like this actually hurts women’s causes because it comes across as irrational wide-eyed rhetoric, especially when you consider the timing."

He points to the arrest of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp in Miami on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery against a woman just hours before the Tebow commercial ran.

"Where was Terry O’Neill on that one?" he asked. "Instead, we get a ridiculous statement of outrage about an ad featuring a loving family. And to say that Tim and Pam Tebow have glorified violence against women is worse than offensive. It’s downright stupid."

"We know why, of course," Henderson continues. "The Tebow ad features a message to contact the group Focus on the Family, which strongly opposes abortion."

George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel also took issue with NOW’s president.

"Crazy me, I thought we could agree that the Tim Tebow pro-life ad was a nice, family-friendly commercial that in no way could be deemed offensive. I was wrong," he writes. "There’s always a lunatic fringe, ready to scream and yell. Say hello to NOW president Terry O’Neill."

"No, you should be ashamed of yourself for not having a clue. This is why our country is so polarized — because nitwits like you are so obsessed with your point of view that you have no tolerance for anyone who may disagree with you," Diaz continues.

He says any rational viewer saw how the tackle was related to the fact that Tebow is a football player, not because he is inciting domestic violence.

"Tebow is a football player. It’s easy to connect the dots. The two exchange smiles. You call that violence against women?" Diaz asks.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group, took on NOW as well.

“Wow, this is so benign,” she said of the ad. “It’s a story of a mother’s strength. That is the message that I saw. ”

Even the Colorado Springs Gazette, the hometown newspaper of Focus on the Family, said the ad had nothing wrong with it.

"The tasteful, pro-family, pro-love-of-life ad will only serve to revive this national ministry’s image," the paper wrote. "Adding to the organization’s victory is the desperate and pathetic reaction of those who staged a futile effort to have CBS ban the ad."

The editorial said O’Neill "should be ashamed" of her comments.

"Domestic abuse of women is painful and tragic. Activists should not exploit the topic for the convenience of indulging nonsensical polemics. To equate a playful, lighthearted scene with genuine violence only mocks the suffering of women harmed by angry aggression," the newspaper said.

"The problem with this strategy, of course, is the fact most Americans are intelligent and sane. They aren’t about to confuse a charming, playful ad — one that featured love between a mother and a son — with evil. The critics sound so irrational, so on the prowl for a fight, they may drive average Americans to embrace an organization they seldom thought about," the editors wrote. "If rabid opponents of Focus on the Family want to help the ministry’s cause, they will keep talking. For Focus, this 33-second ad just keeps giving."

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