The FCC is the PTC’s bitch

I saw an article in my school’s paper that was too good to not talk about here. Keep in mind that my school is a Catholic school.

Very rarely can we, as a society, point our finger at one organization and justly say “it’s all your fault.” This is one of those times. In an October analysis, the Federal Communication Commission revealed that 99.8% of all the indecency complaints it received in 2003 originated from the Parents’ Television Council. The PTC is a television watch-dog group committed to eliminating offensive content and making television safe for family viewing. Of the 240,000 complaints it received last year, approximately 239,500 were filed by members of the PTC.

It never ceases to amaze me how much time some people have. Fly a kite, build a model boat, try to actually do something constructive instead of bitching about TV and deciding what we do and do not watch. If ya don’t like, don’t watch it. Simple.

This means that a tiny minority of the population is doing the vast majority of the complaining. Because the FCC policy is to review each complaint, the tiny minority is almost single-handedly deciding what we see and hear.


’Nuff said. The article went on to say how the PTC picked the WB’s Everwood as one of the worst shows. When asked why, the PTC noted one episode in which a doctor gave birth control pills to a teenage girl without informing her parents. The PTC called this a “reckless message about sex.” To which the author replied:

In light of recent studies into the effectiveness of abstinence-only sexual education, this message can be called anything but reckless.

I am really proud of a Catholic School to publish a view contrary to the Christian stereotype. It proves that Catholics too have had it up to here with these other “Christians,” and that also that Catholicism isn’t all about banning contraception. Some catholics I know actually support it.

Solution? FCC should change its policy (We will review every complaint as long as it’s not from some right-wing fundamentalist nutjob).

10 thoughts on “The FCC is the PTC’s bitch

  1. I was actually surprised to learn how tolerant many Catholic schools can be with regards to what they allow their students to publish in the school newspaper or be taught in the classrooms. It seems as though many such schools go out of their way not to make the education they provide secondary to the religious message they promote. Where the instruction and the theology conflict they seem perfectly happy to just ignore the conflict and keep on teaching. Not all of them are like this, but more than you would think.

    The contraception issue is a little less surprising if only because most American Catholics have long disagreed with the Vatican’s stance. Still, knowing these things does soften my attitude towards most Catholic schools at least a little.

  2. And next time around, we can have the FCC ignore complaints from left-wing multi-culti nutjobs.  And then we can have them ignore …

    As father of a four year old, I do worry about the content of the TV she watches.  I also realize that it’s *my* responsibility, not the government’s—let alone the government’s responsibility to make sure that *I’m* not offended.  If I need them for that, *I’ve* got the problem.

    That all said, I would rather limit the regulatory power that the FCC has, than have them arbitrarily exclude one or more groups from offering complaints.  The PTC may be a bunch of nutjobs, but they have the same right to redress of grievences as any other US citizens, and excluding them from the process means that other groups dubbed “nutjobs” can also be excluded—doubtless in as arbitrary a fashion.

  3. Les, ignoring doctrinal issues regarding human sexuality, what the Catholic Church teaches is a few classes above your fundie fare. From hanging out on Catholic forums, it is readily apparent that the problem is mainly with individual Catholics that are looking for more restrictions than the Catholic Church insists on. Ignoring arch-conservatives like the beloved Cardinal Ratzinger, of course.

  4. The PTC may be…well, let’s be charitable – a bunch of nellies. But all they’ve done is figured out how to work the system. They’re getting abusive, to be sure; but how does the FCC go about filtering complaints? I’m sure that the PTC is simply having its various members write in or visit the FCC’s web site and use a contact / complaint form or send email. Is there a reason why we can’t do the same thing?

  5. ***Dave hits on a point that I had intended to make, but my ADD got in the way. In short: What he said.

    While I think the PTC is a bunch of nutjobs, I will defend their right to complain if they wish to. Every point of view deserves to be heard if for no other reason than simple basic fairness. If I’m worried that their message is the only one being heard then it’s my job to speak up with a counterargument, not call for their’s to be ignored. That’s part of why I started SEB in the first place. Not that I won’t be annoyed with their idiocy, but I believe part of being free is having the choice to be an idiot.

    Elwed, anything that’s an improvement on fundie fare is still an improvement I can be at least a little happy about.

    Muse, exactly, there isn’t any reason. The problem, of course, is that more folks are spurred to action when they have criticism than when they have praise for something. There’s nothing stopping us from launching a campaign to promote the opposing viewpoint, though.

  6. And next time around, we can have the FCC ignore complaints from left-wing multi-culti nutjobs.

    The left wing nutjobs will not be a problem for the FCC, Dave.

    Is there a reason why we can’t do the same thing?

    Yes, Laughing Muse, there is a reason.
    The right wing has traditionally been better able than the left to agree upon simple issues to organize around.  Not just in the US, but here in Europe too.  Witness Bush’s election (not reelection) last year- the Republicans won largely because they came across as being unified around a few simple issues- being tough on terror, against gay marriage, and pro-Christian.  The left waffled on everything and ended up looking like weaklings.

    Why is this?  I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s because the right, partly because of the influence of religion, largely believes that the world really is black and white, good and bad, and therefore is not plagued with uncertainty the way the left is.  Of course, this is way oversimplified, and the left is capable of being just as simpleminded- look at Stalinists.  The very division left-right is also somewhat artificial.

    That said, this case of the PTC is typical for the American right wing, and I’d be very surprised to see any left-oriented group doing something similar, for two reasons:
    a) the left can’t get it together to agree on an issue long enough or strongly enough to act concertedly like this, and
    b) the left is not that interested in censorship- telling us what we may see and do is a specialty of the right.

  7. I am really proud of a Catholic School to publish a view contrary to the Christian stereotype. It proves that Catholics too have had it up to here with these other “Christians,

  8. Well people have to ruin everything. I really believe the reason that there is such a strong distate in believing in a “higher power,” if you will, is because people come along and have to dictate how to believe, what to believe, what other people should & shouldn’t do, or watch on TV etc. Believing in a religion or a certain spirituality wouldn’t be so off-putting if it wasn’t for the people in it that screw it up. I’m a believer but to tell you the truth my feelings coincide with some of the ones on this blog much more than the people who supposedly have some of the same religious beliefs as mine.

  9. The biggest problem with the whole FCC censorship issue is that the only thing they listen to is complaints. They have no way of judging the proportion of people offended, only the number. If you don’t like a program, all you need to do is get a bunch of your friends to write to the FCC, and poof, problem gone. For example, only a tiny percentage of the people who saw Janet Jackson’s partially uncovered breast actually felt the need to do something about it, yet the number of people ultimately made a difference. It doesn’t matter that a show may consistently pull in millions of viewers who obviously don’t have a problem with it, because the only way those millions of viewers can affect FCC policy is by writing a letter of support every time they see something on the TV that they don’t mind, but think other people might protest. So the issue here really isn’t that the scolds are better organized, although that certainly seems to be the case; the problem is that the system inherently favors the culture nannies.

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