This past Sunday, the New York Daily News published a hatchet piece on the Parents Television Council written by Don Kaplan. Kaplan wrote in response to my public statement regarding Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Instead of crafting a cogent column, Kaplan entirely missed the point of my comments and went on a remarkably obtuse rant.
Let’s be clear: My statement was offered as a warning for parents to be aware of a very concerning change in programming to what is ostensibly a kid-targeted cable network. And I used the opportunity to renew our call for consumer cable choice, which would allow cable subscribers to choose –and pay for – only the networks they want to purchase.
Think of it this way: Why should Daily News readers be forced to purchase the NY Times, the Post, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated,Cosmopolitan, People, and 80 other periodicals just so that they could have access to the Daily News? The answer is that they shouldn’t be forced to do so. But that’s how the cable cartel operates, and the PTC has proudly led a broad coalition of groups that span the political spectrum in calling
for consumer cable choice.
Kaplan’s efforts to castigate the PTC as some sort of conservative fringe group is pathetic and inaccurate. He wrote: “Even more galling is how the group, founded and staffed by prominent conservatives, is constantly asking the government to step in and control what people watch.” What is truly galling is that someone who holds himself out as a print journalist would publish something so authoritative, yet so lacking in truth.
Yes, the prominent conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III founded the PTC; but he did so by partnering with the liberal Hollywood icon Steve Allen. And today, some 19 years later, the PTC is proudly comprised of a staff, a board, an advisory board and a national membership that spans the political left, center and right. For Kaplan to write such a comment without even so much as having a conversation with anyone on the PTC staff is journalistically bankrupt.
Asking the government to step in and control what people watch? That’s a bald-faced lie. In fact, our pro-Cable Choice position is the very opposite of censorship. The PTC supports enforcement of the congressionally-mandated broadcast decency law that applies only to the public airwaves before 10:00 p.m. If that is pro-censorship, then why has the US Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the law as constitutional? I suppose such legalities aren’t of
much interest to a reporter who heralds scantily-clad women as being a “bonus” to television programming.
If Kaplan’s column was intended as an opinion piece, it should have been labeled as such. If it was intended as a serious article, then it was entirely devoid of journalistic principles. Either way, Kaplan’s attempt at a pithy, clever, witty jab at the PTC was in fact an unintelligent, inaccurate and lazy sucker-punch. The Daily News should be embarrassed and ashamed.