Comcast is Hypocritical for Banning Gun and Ammo Advertising While Running Violent Programming
Shareholder Activist Group to Bring Gun Rights Battle to Comcast's Front Door
Comcast One of Many Major American Corporations Taking Sides in the Gun Debate
Philadelphia, PA / Washington, D.C. - This morning, at the annual meeting of Comcast shareholders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research plans to question Comcast CEO Brian Roberts about his company's hypocritical decision to ban gun and ammunition advertising on its airwaves.
"Comcast executives have a lot of explaining to do," said the National Center's Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. "Comcast is America's largest cable provider, having nearly monopoly control in many areas of the country. By attacking the Second Amendment, it is directing aim at one of America's founding principles."
"Shows on Comcast's cable and broadcast programming consistently glorify gratuitous displays of gun violence. Comcast profits from violent programming, yet is actively working to thwart gun shops – many of which are small businesses – from legally selling firearms and ammunitions to people who overwhelmingly use firearms in a lawful and safe manner, including in self-defense," noted Danhof. "This is hypocrisy in the highest."
Comcast operates in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
In March, USA Today and many other media outlets reported that Comcast would no longer run commercials for guns or ammunition. Chris Ellis, a spokesman for Comcast Spotlight (Comcast's advertising division) explained: "Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward."
"The National Rifle Association has five million members, and nearly two-thirds of Americans believe in the Second Amendment as a necessary protection against tyranny," said Danhof. "Comcast is engaged in an odd and possibly costly business practice that is alienating many potential customers. What is more, the company is actively rejecting advertising revenue that could increase the cable giant's bottom line. This is a dereliction of their fiduciary duty to the company. Shareholders and potential investors may want to steer clear of Comcast's stock until the company's leadership team reasserts their commitment to shareholder value instead of this rigid anti-gun, anti-Constitution perspective."
"In a 2008 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual American's right to possess a firearm, yet some on the liberal left continue to refuse to accept that reality," added Danhof. "It is a shame that some in corporate America are joining their fringe effort to limit the Constitutional rights of Americans."
Comcast's actions are hypocritical, the National Center believes. Comcast is telling would-be gun advertisers that they cannot profit through their television medium, yet that is what Comcast does all day, every day.
Earlier this year, the non-partisan Parents Television Council reviewed the 392 primetime broadcast television programs that aired between January 11th and February 11th and found that 193 shows had at least one act of violence and 121 shows included at least one act of gun violence.
Comcast's anti-gun decision comes at a time when gun violence in America is actually declining. Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that gun crime has plunged in the United States since its high-water mark in the mid-1990s, but a majority of Americans think gun crime is on the rise.
"What could be the reason for this disconnect? Look no further than Comcast's cable news division MSNBC," said Danhof. "From Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski in the morning, to Rachel Maddow in the evening, MSNBC's partisan rants against gun rights and the NRA seemingly never end. By exploiting tragedies such as the Sandy Hook shooting, MSNBC's advocacy has helped distort reality and distract many Americans from the truth that gun violence is on the decline."
Comcast isn't the only major American corporation that is attacking the Second Amendment.
- In January, Time Warner Cable announced that it would no longer permit ads that depict semi-automatic weapons or have guns pointed at people.
- Also in January, Groupon cancelled all gun-related deals in North America.
- Last month, GE Capital, General Electric's lending division, cut lending to retailers who primarily sell guns.
- In 2012, Google informed merchants that it would no longer allow listings for gun- and weapon-related items on its Google Shopping platform.
Since January 1, 2013, the National Center has participated in 23 shareholder meetings. Today's Comcast meeting moves that total to 24. In 2012, the National Center participated in 19 meetings.
A copy of Danhof's question at today's shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Comcast shareholder.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.
Contributions to The National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.