Saturday, July 16, 2005

PTC: Manufacturing Discontent

The Parents Television Council, a right-wing, pro-censorship media "watchdog" group profiled in these pages back in December, have selected ABC as the target of their latest crusade. The PTC's panties are in a bunch over the unedited broadcast of the dreaded F-word during the Who's performance at Live 8 on July 2.

As much as I might despise the PTC and their reactionary mission (which is to make sure nothing ever airs on TV that's not suitable for an 8-year-old), I can see the value of their website as a sort of one-stop shop for huffy prudes. If, for example, you see an episode of Touched By an Angel that discusses man-on-man anal sex in a way that you deem inappropriate for your kids, you can hop right onto the PTC website where they make it easy as can be to file a complaint with the FCC.

The PTC takes it one step further, however, in their battle against ABC. On Friday, a weekly PTC e-alert that goes out to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of subscribers, contained an item with the following heading: "PTC Urges Members to File Complaints about Unedited 'F-Word' during ABC's Live 8 Broadcast." There is even a handy-dandy link to an already-completed FCC complaint form. All you have to do is fill out your name and click send. If you look closely, you will notice that the email doesn't urge members "who tuned in to Live 8 and were offended" to file a complaint. They obviously want everybody to pile on.

The inevitable result of this naked attempt to solicit outrage is that a number of complaints will be filed by people who didn't watch Live 8 on ABC and therefore could not have been offended by what they heard. The anti-ABC campaign is, simply put, an attempt by the PTC to ventriloquize the American public in order to further their own goals.

If the PTC does succeed in their goals, well, I hope you like Spongebob. Wait, not Spongebob, he's gay. Teletubbies! No, they're gay, too. Um, I hope you like reading. I hear the new Harry Potter is coming out. Oh, right, seductions of the Devil.

Shadow puppets, anyone?
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