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COLUMN: TV can be seriously harmful to families

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By John Lapp

Because I choose to subscribe and support the organization known as Parents Television Council, I receive information relative to what PTC has discovered is going on in the television industry that could be harmful to you and your children.
In Volume 11, Number 5, of the PTC Insider, there is a quote from Peter Chernin, president of News Corp., the parent company of the FOX TV network: “[We will] fight to the end for our ability to put controversial, offensive, and even tasteless content on the air” (Broadcasing and Cable, Oct. 21, 2008).
The PTC insider states “the entertainment industry is actively working to dismantle the broadcast decency laws. For years, they’ve argued around the periphery (‘just tell us what the rules are, and we’ll abide by them’), but now their real intentions are laid bare, in writing. In recent arguments before a federal court, Hollywood told the court that there should be no laws restricting broadcast indecency whatsoever.
Bottom line: they’re spending a fortune to create for themselves a ‘right’ to have f-bombs dropped in every living room in America at any time of the day — even in front of children.
“In their arguments before the Second Circuit lawyers for the FOX broadcasting network said that ... because they didn’t script the celebrities’ f-bombs, they shouldn’t be held accountable. Naturally, a chorus of Hollywood’s so-called ‘creative elite’ of writers and producers joined in, telling the court that the laws against profanity on the public airwaves are unconstitutional because they ‘interfere with the process of artistic and creative expression.’”
The PTC’s effort to alert advertisers to the raunchy content of CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” program did bear fruit: as of the time of the printing of PTC’s volume 11, number 5 of the PTC Insider, 31 companies decided that the values of this program were not in line with their corporate values and decided to spend their advertising dollars elsewhere. The list of these companies and contact information can be found at the following website: http://www.parentstv.org/ptcadvertisers/main.asp.
Updates on the PTC’s cable choice initiative and contact information for your representatives can be found at: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/cable/main.asp.
It is vitally important for all of us to be constantly aware of the changes in what is being programmed. Unfortunately, true family-oriented sit-coms like “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Green Acres,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and the old, yet safe, cartoons that produced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all their friends, often have been replaced by some that need a close scrutiny by watchful, careful parents who want the best for their children.
Maybe these programs are considered old-fashioned, silly or juvenile.
Well, for me and my house, I will stand guilty of all the above, but at least as a parent and grandparent, I can be in another room or outside the house and feel safe that what is being watched is morally healthy.
The real choice is up to you.
For more information, or to make suggestions for future columns, call 477-2818 or email johnlapp36@yahoo.com.