July 27, 2006 3:18 PM PDT

Parents group derides V-Chip ads

Family-programming advocacy group Parents Television Council on Thursday blasted a newly launched broadcast-industry campaign touting use of the V-Chip, the device designed to allow parents to block sexually explicit and violent television programming.

Calling the cable- and satellite-industry rating system on which V-Chip blocking is based "inaccurate," the PTC offered its support instead for legislation that would require cable and satellite providers to apply broadcast indecency standards or offer a la carte or new "family tier" programming.

Announced on Tuesday, the $300 million industry-supported V-Chip campaign is intended to raise awareness of the TV ratings system and calls on parents to be "the boss of what your kids watch." The series of ads, presented by the Ad Council public-service advertising group, asks parents to use V-Chip technology to control their children's exposure to violence and sex on television. The campaign is supported by major cable, satellite and broadcast trade groups, including the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

At the press conference announcing the new bill, PTC President L. Brent Bozell described the campaign as a "shameful publicity stunt" that is "designed to absolve (the entertainment industry) of all responsibility for the raw sewage it pumps into America's living rooms night after night."

"The truth of the V-chip, aside from all the rhetoric, is that for the V-Chip to work, first and foremost it must rely on the ratings system. If the ratings system doesn't work, then the V-Chip doesn't work," Bozell told CNET News.com. The inaccuracy of the ratings system is all the more reason for parents to decide which specific channels they want to order, he said.

The Family Choice Act of 2006, co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and Tom Osborne, R-Neb., could provide that choice if passed. The bill requires cable and satellite providers to choose one of three options: Adhere to the same Federal Communications Commission indecency standards as broadcasters; allow cable and satellite subscribers to opt out of certain channels and receive a refund; or offer a tier of programming that includes expanded basic service minus channels carrying TV-14 or TV-MA programming between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. News programs and live sporting events would be exempt.

Rob Stoddard, senior vice president for communications and public affairs for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which supports the V-Chip campaign, said in a statement that the group opposes the bill's "unnecessary government regulation of the pricing and packaging of video services" because it would drive up costs and decrease content diversity.

"We believe that parents are best suited to make TV viewing decisions for their families," he added.

Bozell said the Lipinski-Osborne bill gives parents control over the content before it enters their homes.

He added that "it is not parents who are responsible for the raunch that's on television. It is the television industry. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling parents what to do, the industry should rethink this shameful publicity stunt and instead apply itself to cleaning up the mess it has created."

Last month, the Senate Commerce Committee voted down a bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that included a clause that would force cable operators to offer a la carte programming.

Though Bozell said he is not sure if the Family Choice Act will pass, he says is convinced the concept behind it eventually will. "The more the public realizes they have options, as polls are showing, the more the public wants this."

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6 comments

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get jobs
I wish the members of the PTC would all go out and get jobs so they didn't have so much free time to harrass and annoy the FCC. Here's an idea, spend some time raising your kids and leave those who want to watch quality adult shows alone.

Here's another idea PTC: TURN OFF THE TV. I know that might be too difficult for you, but with some training, I'm sure you can manage it.
Posted by mfischer2 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I never got the rating rating system anyway...
Yea TV Y means it's suitable for everyone and TV MA only for mature audiences blah blah blah, but are people, especiall kids, going to let a little black (and on some stations a huge white) box in the corner of the screen stop them from watching a show?? I think not. My 2 nieces and nephew, ages 3, 9, & 11 are totally addicted to South Park right now but is my nephew copying Cartman and trying to exterminate the Jews?? Nooo....And is my niece dreaming of getting a boob job just like that of Wendy Testaburger? Nope, can't say that she is! So in other words, STOP WASTING OUR TAX MONEY THE FCC & PTC AND GET A LIFE!
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well...
At least it isn't just the gaming rating system that is getting attacked these days.

I guess some people won't stop until there is nothing but Care Bear shows on TV...
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Headline should read...
Religious group derides v-chip ads. Are we still pretending the PTC is actually concerned about what kids watch on TV.
Posted by 1999g20 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
laziness
Does something about this sound at all wrong to you, it sure
does to me.

I don't know about the age of most peope reading this article
seeing as the title would attract the kids who hate their parents.
But I grew up with TV including pay channels, granted this is 20
years ago, but for those of you old enough I'm sure you can
remember Emanuelle movies(as an example), a much more
explicit movie and a couple with much more violence than ant
regular TV channel. These were shown on Cinemax regularly
and guess what there was no V-chip ALL i had to do was pick up
the remote and type in the channel, but do you know what I
did... nothing, and do you know why... because I was told not to
and followed the rules.

I understand people are more busy now and their kids are
playing more indoors making the TV viweing increase. There is
an easy solution MAKE THEM TURN IT OFF or turn it off yourself.
TV is not a babysitter, it is not something you just give your kids
(IE: do not let them have a TV in their private areas like
bedrooms and playrooms) and it is not something that you need
government putting their hands into unless you do want them to
take control over what we can and cannot watch. If we keep this
up we will likely end up with some legislation that leads to no
sex or violence on tv... and guess what when we let that happen
you would find out what is considered sexual and or violent
when almost everything is taken off the air. Including your kids
favorite cartoons.

And I am sorry but for the little bit that I watched did not make
me into a murderer or rapist. Violence is part of being human
our country is just better than most at suppressing it. If it
wasn't for sex I would not be alive so guess what another normal
human behavior... reproduction. You are not going to show
these things to a 5 year old but when the kids are old enough to
start figuring out what it is on TV and how to see it when you are
not there... 1) they are old enough to know what they are doing
is wrong unless you did not teach them 2) it will not scar them
for life though you may have to answer questions later...shame
that you would have to talk to your kids, after all that is what
your parents had to do.

1. Don't be lazy
2. Teach your kids what they can and cannot watch (most
parents do not)
3. Try to talk to your kids, when they see something "bad"
explain it to them. It could turn out to be the best thing you
ever did.
Posted by zencho (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Damn Strait
These religious right wackos, are trying to force their religious views into law. What we need is a 5 year moratorium on Congress attempting to regulate anything to do with cable or the internet.
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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