Parents Television Council (PTC) has scrapped its Web search function after discovering they've been hawking the very prime time shows they've been criticizing.
Turns out the search function at parentstv.org was turning up sponsored links along with PTC's archived criticisms of sex, violence and profanity in prime time.
So a search for, say, Without a Trace—a CBS show that has been hit with a proposed multimillion-dollar FCC fine, thanks to PTC member complaints—would yield a list of critical articles topped by a prominent link pitching downloads of Trace episodes so you “don't miss your favorite primetime TV shows on the CBS Network.”
Likewise, a search for FX's Rescue Me would get you the headline “PTC Outraged Over Graphic Rape Scenes on FX's Rescue Me”—and a helpful link advertising: “Low Prices on Rescue Me. Qualified Orders Over $25 Ship Free.”
Last week, however, the search feature disappeared. Because “the ads frequently listed things that were contradictory to our mission,” explains PTC spokeswoman Kelly Oliver, the “free search service” was removed from the site Nov. 6.
So, did the group make a buck pitching prime time “sleaze” (as it has characterized FX's Nip/Tuck)? Says Oliver, “It was a free search service, so the PTC was not profiting from the links.”