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In the Newsroom

July 17, 2009
Worldfocus goes “commercial”

A television advertisement for Israel’s largest cell phone provider Cellcom has sparked heated criticism. Watch the ad, see the show and join the debate.

If you saw the show Tuesday and stayed to the end, then you caught our first commercial on Worldfocus. No, we aren’t giving in to advertising. It was actually part of a story and a debate.

The commercial was by an Israeli telephone company that was advertising itself using a sort of feel-good theme of “things that can bring us together.” In this case, it was the sport that the rest of the world calls football — but we call soccer.

I read about the ad the day before, then saw it on one of our incoming video feeds. I mentioned it in the newsroom and this triggered a lot of talk and debate. To understand why, take a look at the commercial yourself. If you didn’t see the story we ran about it that evening, you can check out Tuesday’s show and fast-forward to the end. If you do both, you will see how a commercial for a phone company in Israel suddenly has people around the world talking.

Some have suggested that was the goal all along. Television commercials overseas are often provocative by American standards. As I said, we were doing a lot of talking amongst ourselves — which generally is our indicator that it would be a good story to share.

In this particular case, we went one further and posted the unedited commercial spot on our site, then encouraged your thoughts. We got quite a few. There is no subject on our show that has generated more rancor, outrage and claims of outright bias on our part from all sides than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We were not looking to trigger a debate on who is right or who is wrong. Instead, we were looking more for a limited discussion on the appropriateness of the subject used as the storytelling tool of the commercial.

So watch the ad, see the show and join the debate.

– Martin Savidge

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we (chris and bob) still have not seen or read why martin was removed from anchoring world focus. he was the most professional anchor ever.

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