After all, which parents would want to sit and watch Sunday football on TV with their kids and suddenly see two, near-naked Barbie-like airheads, hocking Coors beer on their television screen? Would you elect a guy as senator who makes you uncomfortable inviting your own son to watch the game with you?
I am glad that values-minded Americans chose not to give Pete Coors a pass. It is high time that we held individuals and corporations accountable for the sleaze they bring to our society and the corruption of our children, even when those corporations have an otherwise laudable record of promoting values and education.
A strong case in point is Rupert Murdoch's global media company, NewsCorp. Conservative Americans like me are very grateful to Murdoch and Fox News for offering a welcome alternative to what we perceive to be the strong liberal bias in the media. We are tired of hearing Palestinian terrorists described as "militants" by CNN and the New York Times, and we are sickened by the media's apologia for brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein. Fox News has become a runaway hit because it does not believe that journalism ought to include hushing up Saddam's atrocities, as CNN head Eason Jordan admitted doing in an op-ed in the New York Times the day after the fall of Baghdad. Murdoch has financed outstanding conservative journals like The Weekly Standard so that there is some balance to the left-leaning media, like Slate and The Nation.
But there is another side of NewsCorp that conservatives and values-minded folks are guilty of overlooking. While the Fox News Channel is unafraid to offer a courageously values-based viewpoint, the Fox Television network led the way in airing the most offensive tabloid and sexually exploitative programming on TV.
Five years ago Fox launched the first reality show, Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire? and it's been downhill ever since. Its strategy for cracking through the major networks seemed to be to outsleaze them in showing degrading programs like Temptation Island, which sought to pull couples apart by getting them to cheat with virtual strangers; Joe Millionaire, which portrayed women as shallow gold-diggers; and The Swan--a truly disgusting show in which women have their bodies carved up to gain self-esteem. All these programs have severely debased the culture and devalued women. In fact, Fox was fined $1.2 million by the FCC for a shocking episode of Married by America, which featured whipped-cream-covered strippers and digitally obscured nudity.
Of course the major networks followed suit, with their asinine and brain-dead reality TV shows, like the ghastly and repugnant Are You Hot? (ABC). And CBS, one of the worst offenders, received a huge fine when Janet Jackson's breast came popping out literally in middle of the Super Bowl. The difference is that I expect a lot more from Rupert Murdoch than I do from Michael Eisner of Disney, which owns ABC, and CBS's Les Moonves. Murdoch really believes in conservative principles and has shown courage in upholding them. The others seem to care only about the bottom line.
But the Fox TV network in the U.S. is tame stuff compared to some of NewsCorp's overseas newspapers, like The Sun, the largest selling paper in Britain, which, unbelievably, has a naked woman on page three every single day. Conservatives who, like me greatly admire the Fox News Channel, need to make their views known about the appearance of topless women in mainstream newspapers,. Indeed, now that he has built his empire into a significant, conservative voice, Rupert Murdoch can easily afford - and morally should feel obliged to-clean up his operation and make it function in accordance with his values.
The same is true of one of the giant funders of Jewish education , Leslie Wexner, founder of the Limited Group that owns Victoria's Secret. Wexner is a colossus in the Jewish community, a truly generous man who spends millions on Jewish education and scholarships. But a lot of that money is coming from some of the most disgusting and lewd portrayals of women on TV. As a parent, I cannot even take my kids walking by a Victoria's Secret store in a mall, because of the giant soft porn photos that adorn the outside of the shops.
But the accountability that conservatives should demand from those who preach a values-based society should extend to commentators as well. Ann Coulter and Monica Crowley are two of the brightest and most persuasive conservative commentators on TV. They are courageous, knowledgeable, and entertaining. But since they talk so much about family values shouldn't they get married already? Is it really persuasive to rightly take Teresa Heinz Kerry to task for her criticism of motherhood as not being "a real job," but then to delay motherhood as long as possible in order to do TV and radio commentary, because these are more glamorous jobs?
As America becomes more of a religious, and values-based society, it is incumbent especially upon on those who are advocating this important development to ensure that we don't undermine it by acting inconsistently with our message.