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Saving Us From Sex

You may have thought that the problem with CBS was its refusal to air an anti-Bush ad from during the Super Bowl. But according to the Parents Television Council, you’d be wrong. The saga of Timberlake and Jackson and a few seconds of exposed breast apparently is far more troubling. “Advertisers who bankrolled this insult to every parent, every woman and every child in America, deserve to have their money refunded in full by CBS,” the organization said in a Feb. 2 press release. It went on to organize a massive outpouring of complaints to the FCC.

The Parents Television Council, which claims 850,000 members, defines its mission as “protecting children against sex, violence and profanity in television and films.” The group does this by providing “family-friendly ratings” and by pressuring the FCC for stricter enforcement of obscenity and indecency laws. Its most recent “victory” was convincing a gun-shy NBC to cut scenes from ER that showed an elderly patient’s bare breast.

The organization seems to allow for more flexibility and context on its complaints about violence than its complaints about “sex.” For example, PTC president L. Brent Bozell III recently wrote a lauditory column about Mel Gibson’s ultraviolent movie The Passion of the Christ.

PTC relies on local chapters to mobilize people for its national campaigns and to pressure affiliate television stations and sponsors. Its newest chapter is right here in Northeastern New York, headed by Saugerties resident Vicky Dross. Dross could not be reached for comment, but PTC publicity described her as head of the women’s ministry at her church, and someone who feels “children are being robbed of their innocence” by programs with “sexuality, violence and coarse language.”

—Miriam Axel-Lute

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