Whenever I am watching my television lately I see many, many commercials for Christianmingle.com which is an internet dating site. Since I watch CNN a lot, I notice that Christian Mingle seems to be buying a lot of advertising time on CNN. Their ad announces that this dating service costs nothing; it is free of charge. Now maybe this ad involves one of those statements advertisers make which is less than accurate, such as making a true statement that it costs nothing to sign up, while leaving out costs that will be incurred down the line. I have not signed up for the services so I don’t know if this is a “bait and switch” kind of situation. Yet I find myself wondering how a dating website with no up-front charges can afford so much on-air time to advertise their services.
I used my trusty Google search engine to find out who supports, or sponsors, or is affiliated with Christian Mingle. Two associations popped up. One association Christian Mingle has is with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) which was founded by a group of high-profile religious right leaders such as D. James Kennedy and James Dobson. The ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the truth through strategy, training, funding, and direct legislation. From their website, in greater detail, this is the group’s statement:
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was founded in 1994 by a group of ministry leaders including the late Dr. Bill Bright, the late Larry Burkett, Dr. James Dobson, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and the late Marlin Maddoux. Their prime concern was the dramatic loss of religious freedom in America’s courts and the resulting challenges to people of faith to live and proclaim the Gospel. The ADF works to assist allies in their efforts through strategy, training, funding, and where necessary, direct litigation through the ADF legal team. ADF supports the inclusion of invocations in public meetings and the use of religious displays on public lands and in public buildings. The ADF opposes abortion, and believes that healthcare workers have a right to decline participation in the performance of abortions and other practices an individual health worker finds morally objectionable.
Christian Mingle is also associated with Sparks Networks which designs websites like believe.com, bbwpersonalsplus.com, blacksingles.com, catholicmingle.com, interracialsingles.com, hurrydate.com, jdate.com, ldssingles.com, silversingles.com, spark.com. Sparks Networks in listed on the NYSE under the appropriate abbreviation LOV. Its shares sell for $3.70 right now.
I suppose this attests to the freedom of speech we do get to practice as Americans that such a right wing group is able to advertise on what I characterize as a moderate news outlet. Such freedom carries with it the assurance that this group, although paying this news outlet large advertising fees, will not be able to exert any influence on the way this news channel covers the news. They do seem like strange bedfellows though. If I find CNN turning to the right I will know they have been bought. For now I will just assume these ads involve a straight business transaction by a dating website with great backing.