Clear Channel to air "indecent" and "divisive" ad about women's reproductive health

The media behemoth that syndicates Rush Limbaugh backed down after trying to muzzle a women's health clinic

Published August 28, 2013 8:31PM (EDT)

Last month, media behemoth Clear Channel pulled two ads for a Kansas women’s health clinic off the air after claiming the "divisive" radio spots violated the company’s “decency standards” because they mentioned outrageous words like "quality reproductive health care" and "obstetrics and gynecology."

On Wednesday, after reproductive rights advocates attempted to deliver a petition with 70,000 signatures calling them out for trying to censor an abortion service provider, the company reconsidered its decision. (The ad, it should be noted, doesn't even mention abortion. Not that it should matter, but, of course and unfortunately, these things do tend to matter.)

Tony Matteo, the operations manager for Clear Channel in Wichita, announced the change in a statement:

Based on a thoughtful discussion that we had with the advertiser, we believed that it made sense to take a closer look at the criteria by which we determine whether an advertisement should air. While we recognize that certain advertising may stir passionate viewpoints, KZSN has determined that as a responsible broadcaster, we should use our best judgment to accept and run ads that do not violate the law or FCC standards and which are not intentionally hateful and incendiary.

Jaclyn Friedman, Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media applauded the move, saying she was "proud to stand and support the South Wind staff who risk their lives everyday, in the fight to ensure that their message isn't censored and that their services remain available to everyone who needs them."

And -- just as a reminder -- prior to this reversal, Clear Channel believed women's health was "divisive" and somehow vulgar, but Rush Limbaugh demanding that Sandra Fluke make a sex tape in exchange for comprehensive health insurance was totally copacetic.

Makes total sense.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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