Big Hollywood is reporting that MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC have rejected Atlas Shrugged – Part I ads. According to BH’s discussion with Shrugged producer Harmon Kaslow:
The most interesting development, however, is that in their effort to expand television advertising, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC “have all rejected a 15-second ad for ‘editorial’ reasons [with] no further explanation provided.”
“This unforeseen censorship effectively puts the brakes on our follow-up marketing efforts where we were trying to reach millions of people unaware of the movie being in theaters now,” Kaslow wrote. “We are continuing with the theatrical release because we have great word of mouth and awareness for the movie increases daily.”
It is surprising to see networks turn down money. It is also unfortunate that they are allegedly doing this on political grounds. However, Kaslow should be a bit more careful with his language.
When a free press decides not to run an ad, it isn’t censorship – it is editorial or business discretion rather than censorship. Kaslow and Shrugged have no right to have their ad shown on the property of other people, including their television signals. Now if the government tried to prevent the ad from running or suppressed the showing of the film, then we are in the realm of censorship, and we would have a reason to be outraged. But classical liberals should be especially sensitive to claims that private entities are engaging in censorship when they decide to do whatever the heck they want with their own property.