Television: Sponsorship and Censorship

Some broadcasters refuse to run commercials with a message

In Aesop's day a fable was a parable that expressed such useful truths as "Necessity is the mother of invention," "Look before you leap," and "Slow and steady wins the race." But today one man's parable may look like the most obvious kind of self-promotion to his neighbor. So, at least, did the Mobil Corp. discover when it tried to introduce six imaginative new TV commercials. The ads, which Mobil politely calls "fables for now," feature dancers and mimes masquerading as animals to make Mobil's points. Three stations have banned the ads altogether,...

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