[September 14, 2014] It should not be too surprising that some ads get rejected due to their political nature. Some ads are, frankly, lacking in good taste and are intellectually insulting. Stations that advertise have policies that cover this type of advertising. This past week, CBS Sports Network rejected an ad that had a 4-year-old little girl saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The person submitting the ad, a real estate agent, says he received an email from CBS saying the ad was turned down “because of political reasons.”1 There is a lesson in leadership here.
Leadership means exercising commonsense; making sound and practical judgments. Commonsense does not require any specialized knowledge or training or intelligence. But it does require experience. Often commonsense goes by the wayside when their ability to make judgments is impaired due to ideology, emotion, or bias. This appears to be the case here. CBS Sports Network discovered quickly that their credibility was on the line when this went public.
Later, after being informed of the ad’s rejection for political reasons, a CBS Sports Network spokesperson said the reason the ad was rejected was because it “was too local and had nothing to do with politics.” The spokesman also stated that that was not the case and “whomever sent that e-mail must have had false information”. Yes, of course, there was “false” information from the advertiser … no?
CBS Sports Network did a quick recover of an embarrassing situation and they did it mostly right. First, they corrected their mistake quickly and politely. Second, they gave an acceptable reason although they didn’t fully address the issue. However, the integrity of the CBS Sports Network spokesperson is questionable because he appears to not be fully truthful.
The leadership lesson here is to train employees to exercise commonsense in their decisions and when in doubt “ask” someone in authority. Large organizations like CBS Sports Networks did not get to where they are because of lax rules, low standards, or poor leadership. They do very well in their broadcasts and support the majority of what they do is funded through advertising. It behooves them to act appropriately.
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