Consume Everything Day

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NEW YORK: Broadcast a TV commercial encouraging consumers to stay home today, rather than shop on the busiest day of the retail year? You'd be quixotic not to expect opposition from retailers. But who'd have thought that the so-called Buy Nothing Day ad would be also be censored by two national TV networks?

Both CBS and NBC refused airtime to the Media Foundation's 30-second spot, which features the North American continent transforming into a bloated pig and asks consumers to "give it a rest." Complained Robert L. Lowary of CBS: "This commercial asks the viewer to not make any purchases on November 28 ... in opposition to the current economic policy in the United States." Current economic policy, evidently, being "shop till you drop."

The networks' refusal will no doubt stir conspiracy theories about the connection between advertising and content on national television. But then, most of us knew that already. At least CNN was prepared to give the commercial airtime, albeit to its relatively miniscule cable audience. More suspicious, perhaps, is the mysterious non-appearance of a full page Buy Nothing Day ad the Media Foundation said they would run in the New York Times. TIME Daily could not reach either the Times advertising department or the Media Foundation for comment Friday: Chances are, they were all out shopping.