Culture

Vets' Super Bowl Ad Rejected While WaPo Grandstands

A rebuttal to Nike's Kaepernick ad was blocked, but "Democracy Dies in Darkness" got play.

Nate Jackson · Feb. 4, 2019

For many of the millions of Americans who watch the Super Bowl, the real reason is not so much interest in the game — especially as boring as this year’s was — but to see the commercials. Regardless of what you think of the ads that ran, one ad was remarkable because it didn’t run.

Veteran-owned Nine Line Apparel created an ad geared as a rebuttal to Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick ad. In that infamous ad, the kneeling and unemployed former quarterback says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Of course, the controversy is that as he kneels for the national anthem, he is disrespecting Patriots in uniform who have sacrificed everything for their country, not to practice throwing a ball around.

Kaepernick ended that ad by saying, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough.”

Nine Line Apparel picked up that theme, opening with, “Don’t ask if your loyalty is crazy. Ask if it’s crazy enough.” Benghazi survivor U.S. Marine Mark Geist narrates the ad, saying, “Some people think you’re crazy for being loyal, defending the Constitution, standing for the flag. Then I guess I’m crazy.” As he speaks, we see images of soldiers, first responders, and grave stones decorated by American flags. Geist adds, “For those who kneel, they fail to understand that they can kneel, that they can protest, that they can despise what I stand for, even hate the truth that I speak, but they can only do that because I am crazy enough.”

CBS rejected the ad, however, and Nine Line says it was told the network wasn’t satisfied that the apparel maker could pay for the 45-second spot. We’re thinking annual revenues of $25 million would be enough. The real reason is almost self-evident: The gatekeepers didn’t like the message.

By contrast, another ad did run, and The Washington Post paid $5.2 million for it. Highlighting the paper’s ridiculous Trump-era slogan — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — the paper enlisted the voice of Tom Hanks to applaud the journalists who make sure we know the news. It’s certainly true that journalists sometimes bravely do dangerous work, and reporting the news is an honorable enterprise. If only more journalists would do it honorably. Instead, we’re inundated 24/7 with leftist propaganda that we’re repeatedly told is “straight news.”

Moreover, not all journalists were happy with the price tag for the Post’s self-indulgence. Fredrick Kunkle, co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild’s bargaining unit, said, “While I too am extremely proud of the Post and its legacy, this seems like an especially infuriating expense for a company that has: a) tried to take health care insurance from part-time employees b) moved everyone toward riskier forms of health insurance, c) made it easier to lay people off d) cut their severance e) frozen their pensions and resisted the smallest enhancements to remaining retirement benefits until Sen. Bernie Sanders shamed it into doing so, f) refused to add a single day of paid parental leave to its measly four weeks and g) must know that other media companies, sensing trouble ahead, have been trimming staff.”

With a billionaire socialist owner like Jeff Bezos, the Post is going to be just fine. But the aforementioned ads speak volumes about the state of politics today.

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