Sunday, June 13, 2010

Clear Channel: Pride Is OK As Long As It's Not Too Proud

Clear Channel has been censoring Pride advertisements in St. Petersburg, Florida:

Clear Channel refused to comment on the matter to local media, but I think the difference between the accepted and rejected ads is pretty clear. Gays are OK, as long as no sex is implied. The two women on the beach seem to be getting along quite nicely, and the two men, while looking right at the camera, are shirtless and touching in a really not-straight-bro way. The drag queen is barely showing any skin and the two men in the family are sitting a comfortable distance apart (wonder what Clear Channel would have thought if they were together and the kid was on the left?).

But I'm really wondering why Clear Channel gets to make this decision at all. Their business depends directly on public subsidies - if the government didn't build roads in a particular area there would be no people to look at a particular ad. People can't avoid looking at their ads while driving because people are attentive to the road, so people have an interest in and a right to determine what messages are presented, or not presented, along the roads they built.

Obviously no one's going to go forcing them to explain themselves or reverse their decision. St. Petersburg Pride has removed all of their ads, saying they "would not allow Clear Channel to dictate what message we could convey." As well they shouldn't.

H/T Dean Mundy on Twitter, who does not necessarily endorse what he tweets.

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