The Huffington Post reports that Exxon Mobil corporation got a court order pulling what Huffington called "a satirical ad about climate change" from the Fox News Comcast feed just before it was supposed to be broadcast during President Obama's "State Of The Union" address. The spot, which is brazenly titled "Exxon Hates Your Children," urges Congress to eliminate fossil fuel industry subsidies. It was produced by progressive advocacy groups Oil Change International, The Other 98% and Environmental Action. You can see the ad, as posted on YouTube, below.
The Huffington Post article says that the same ad had already run on The Rachael Maddow Show and Up With Chris Hayes, so it wasn't entirely unknown to the public when Fox and Comcast were supposed to broadcast it in the Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado areas.
Now the question:
Should the court have allowed Exxon Mobil to demand the spot be pulled, even though it was not Exxon Mobil's own ad?
On the one hand, it was not their ad to pull. Further, the groups who paid for it have a right to speak their minds on climate change, even if it does disagree with one of the world's biggest petroleum retail companies.
On the other hand, Exxon Mobil did have a point if they claimed the ad was libelous/slanderous and might damage their public reputation. They are, after all, one of the world's biggest, richest corporations and the groups who chipped in to buy the ad are relatively small and not all that well known. One must wonder, however, if the furror over pulling the ad actually brought more attention to it than if they'd just let it run.
So here are the questions:
1. Should Exxon Mobil have "asserted their rights" to get a court
....order to pull someone else's ad?
2. Would it really have "hurt their reputation" as much as they say,
....or was that just hyperbole used to sway a judge's opinion?
3. What about Oil Change International, The Other 98% and
....Environmental Action? Do they have a right to express their
....opinion on government subsidies to oil companies, or did Exxon
....Mobil squash their First Amendment right to Freedom Of Speech
....for their own corporate interests?
What say you?
(I'd have put a poll with this if the system allowed it.)