21 Mar Fortify Your Family against Television’s Siege
Fortify Your Family against Television’s Siege
March 21, 2007
“… I appeal again to the leaders of the media industry to advise producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family.”
Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech to the Vatican’s communications department, March 9, 2007
Parents are fighting a daily battle at home against television programming. Much of the programming on television is devoid of socially redeeming standards. Parents are undermined by television as they attempt to teach the basic values of integrity, truth, respect and dignity to their children. This battle parents face reminds me of the siege warfare I learned of on a visit I made to the Masada, in Israel, a number of years ago.
The Masada is typical of the ancient sites in the Middle East that were destroyed through siege warfare. For protection against attack, ancient people often built walled cities on tops of hills making it difficult for their enemies to destroy them. Opposing armies would use the tactic of siege warfare to destroy these well-protected cities by cutting off all communications and separating the inhabitants from their basic necessities.
If the inhabitants had prepared for a long siege by stockpiling food and water, then the attacking army would build ramps and use battering rams and catapults to break through the walls and force the city to surrender. This is exactly what is happening to our homes today. Through the “battering rams” and “catapults” of indiscreet TV, movies and the Internet, the fortifications of our homes are being pulverized and penetrated. Often, the walls are broken down by electronic means and families are destroyed.
The constant battering has taken a toll on many parents, many of whom surrender. Cable TV constantly airs nudity and disrespectful programming, and “basic” packages include immoral channels, against the wishes and good judgment of parents. “Family” time programming is not above reproach, and in the busy pace of life it is very difficult for parents to be present at all times to supervise the viewing selections of their children.
Annually, the Parents Television Council (PTC) issues a report on the entertainment industry. Television programming receives lower and lower scores, as sex and violence increase during prime time, de-sensitizing viewers in the process. Tim Winter, president of the watchdog organization, said, “The television industry has repeatedly violated the public trust by airing offensive and indecent content over the public airwaves and by forcing cable subscribers to foot the bill for cable networks they don’t want, don’t watch, and may actually find harmful or offensive. Then the industry dodges any responsibility for its own product by saying that it is the public’s job to shield itself if the content is harmful or offensive.”
Read below about a recent experience by a UFI staff member, on the break down of broadcasting decency standards that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. Julie Lind turned her outrage into action. You can, too. Hold the television industry accountable today by:
1. contacting your locally elected officials and asking them to allow subscribers to have more choice in their TV and cable viewing and,
2. filing complaints with the FCC over indecent and inappropriate programming
Don’t surrender to the entertainment industry. Fortify your home against siege warfare today.
It can Happen to You
By Julie Lind, Executive Assistant, United Families International
Many families know they must keep a diligent watch over their family’s television viewing and they are continually looking for additional tools to help them prevent inappropriate programming from being seen in their homes.
Last week in Phoenix, Arizona, thousands of people viewing regular programming on KPPX TV Channel 51 and Channel 17 were confronted without warning by full-fledged pornography. According to a news report, KPPX explained that an employee purposely slipped in a pornographic film over the regularly scheduled program. The explicit material was viewed by thousands of unsuspecting viewers. One news broadcast reported that the film might have shown for as long as 10 minutes before it was stopped.
Parents have expended much effort to hold television broadcasting to at least a minimal decency standard. The Federal Communications Commission is charged with enforcing these standards. The FCC is taking complaints submitted about this incident.
Fortunately, the FFC complaint process is now easily done over the Internet. It has been recommended by decency advocates to follow up electronic complaints with both an email version and by regular mail.