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TV’s Morality Police are Losing Their Grip

posted by Donna Freitas

The Parents Television Council gets upset about just about everything and recently they’ve been up in arms again about, well, everything: Glee cast members, Miley Cyrus, Cee Lo Green, the new CBS sitcom starring William Shatner, “$#*! My Dad Says,” to name just a few things. But unlike years gone by, the networks don’t care as much as before about their disapproval. In Brooks Barnes recent New York Times article, “TV Watchdog Group Is on the Defensive,” he wrote of their waning clout:
“The Parents Television Council spent most of the last decade as a conservative superstar in the culture wars. By pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on racy programming, the council was responsible for record-setting fines against media giants like CBS and the News Corporation. But the organization now finds itself damaged, defanged by court challenges to the F.C.C.’s hard-line position, by its own dwindling finances and by internal troubles that resulted in its accusing a former senior employee of extortion. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry — once so afraid of the council’s wrath that Fox blurred the naked behind of an animated character — is pushing the boundaries of taste with renewed intensity.”
The article cites poor oversight (of the Council), waning membership, and funds mis-mangagement as some of the many reasons–other than, the networks are starting to care less–that the Council has lost its sway over television morality.
Is this a good turn of events or a bad one? In one sense I think it is good that their power is waning–censorship (in my opinion) is a terrible thing–it leads us to suppress and avoid powerful arguments, differences of a opinion, and lifestyles and ideas that are supported by the minority. Yet, while I don’t need The Morality Police deciding what I can and cannot see and hear, at the same time, I still find it incredibly disappointing that the cast members of “Glee” posed in risque ways for GQ. I wish they had better judgment. But wishing they had better judgment or that they made different choices if far from forbidding them to do such activities. That, I would never argue.



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