The parents of three of the "Big Four" networks -- NBC, Fox and CBS -- have funded a coalition, TV Watch, to push parental content controls over the government crackdown on indecency.
ABC parent Disney is not currently a member of the coalition.
The TV Watch coalition (televisionwatch.org), which announced its formation Wednesday, is a "strange bedfellows" group that unites American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Creative Voices in Media, The Creative Coalition, Media Freedom Project, The Media Institute, NBC Universal, News Corp., Viacom Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and web site SpeakSpeak.org..
The coalition said it will push parental controls and personal responsibility over government regulation, either of broadcast or cable, adding that a poll it conducted showed that the vast majority of people would rather occasionally see something that offends them than have the government "crowding out their personal responsibility and personal choices."
The three major media companies on the above list provided the seed money for the effort, though executive director Jim Dyke would not talk dollars
One of the groups the coalition is up against is the Parent's Television Council, which has inundated the FCC with complaints over Janet Jackson and others.
PTC President Brent Bozell dismissed the coalition as a network-bought hired gun that he says includes groups--he singled out the American Conservative Union and Americans for Tax Reform--that have "never given a moment's thought to the suffocating sewage coming form the entertainment industry."
He also called on the coalition to disclose the level of network funding. The group has already conceded that the network parents have provided all the funding so far, however much that is.
The coalition suggested it would also push against cable regs like tiering or enforced a la carte, saying they were just another form of government control. Its survey did not ask respondents whether they would favor family-friendly cable tiers or a la carte programming chioces as a route to more parental control. NBC just last week agreed to start airing the content "descriptors" that work with the V-chip ratings, essentially putting all the networks on the same page when it comes to their level of rating TV shows, after NBC had fought against that level for almost eight years.
In addition, the cable industry last week announced an effort to increase the size and frequency of content ratings and to better promote the availability of parental controls.
The TV Watch poll, of 1002 respondents, was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Luntz Research Companies, which said it has a margin of error of 3%, plus or minus.
Among its findings: (taken straight from the new web site):
86 percent of Americans say more parental involvement is the best way to keep kids from seeing what they shouldn’t see. 11 percent say the government should increase control and enforcement of network television programming.
By nearly four to one, Americans say more government regulation is not the solution, personal responsibility is.
91 percent of Americans – and 80 percent of those who say they “often” see things they feel should not have been aired – say that “some people will always be able to find something on the television or radio that offends them. But the sensitivities of a few should not dictate the choices for everyone else.”
- Even among the most sensitive viewers, those who “often” find television content objectionable, 74 percent of respondents said they prefer “people exercising personal choice over what they watch on television,” and not “government regulation of what is appropriate.”