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.
– Martin Savidge