SpeakSpeak News

Speak to Spellings (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 01/28/2005 @ 4:18 pm

James Dobson’s Focus on the Family has sent an appeal to its members , asking them to thank Margaret Spellings for her lesbian-bunny censorship. FoF has graciously provided a web form from which concerned citizens can mail Spellings. SpeakSpeak is grateful; it means less work for us.

The makings of a letter can be found inside.

PLEASE NOTE that in order to send your letter to Secretary Spellings, you must go to the Focus on the Family link. Posting a comment here is great, but posting a comment here won’t send your message to the Department of Ed.

Urgent Action: Write Your Senators (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/17/2005 @ 10:44 am

Ask your Senators to vote against the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act. The President has vowed to sign the bill when it lands on his desk.

We need to make sure it doesn’t.

Talk to them.

Fight Back Against the PTC (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/28/2005 @ 4:34 pm

The PTC has begun lobbying the FCC for maximum fines against CBS and its affiliates as punishment for the February 17th episode of CSI. (Read the very detailed, and very bogus, PTC complaint. Or, watch the clip.)

The CSI episode in question dealt with the death of a Vegas casino magnate who happened to have a diaper fetish. While it certainly wouldn’t have received the PTC seal of approval, neither was it indecent.

Be the equal and opposite reaction. Tell the FCC that OUR “contemporary community standards” were not violated.

Send your letter now from https://speakspeak.org/letter/

(This form letter contains more political opining than usual. This was done as a point-counterpoint address of the PTC’s boilerplate complaint. Please read the letter entirely to make sure you agree, and feel free to change the letter to suit your own opinions. Personalized letters work best.)

Urgent Action: FCC Names New Enforcement Head (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:41 am

More inside….


Action Alert: PTC Fires Up Complaint Machine

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 08/01/2005 @ 11:00 am

They took a break, but the PTC complainers are back in action.

Speak up now!



Action Alert: Talk Back to the Houston City Council (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/12/2005 @ 1:32 pm

The Houston City Council is at it again.

The Council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday, July 13th, on whether to renew Houston MediaSource’s contract. We need you to speak up now.

Tell the Houston City Council that they need to spend more time protecting free speech and less time protecting fragile sensibilities.

Tell them that, sometimes, living in a free speech society means learning to swallow your disgust.

Tell them they’re a bunch of buttheads, if you want.

Just speak up.

7/13/04 Update

Thanks in part to your letters, the Houston City Council has postponed the vote on Houston MediaSource’s contract. They will revisit the issue in August.

Meantime, the Harris County Republican Party has started a campaign to cancel the contract.

Your letters are more important now than they were before.

Speak up!


Action Alerts!

Filed under  by Eric Jaffa — 06/28/2005 @ 12:41 pm

The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes in “defending freedom in the digital world.”

Their website has six action alerts.

Some of these involve freedom of speech, the topic of this blog, more than others, but I decided to pass them all along.

Urge Congress to Reform not Expand PATRIOT

Best E-voting Bill Reintroduced — Lend Your Support!

Stop Congress from Raising the Broadcast Flag

Support DMCA Reform — Help Pass HR 1201!

Protect Public Weather Data

Stop the Trademark Act from Diluting Free Speech!


Support Honest, Accurate, Responsible TV Sex

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/13/2005 @ 10:16 am

Meet The Media Project, the entertainment industry’s resource on sexual health, who recently launched, Take PART, an organized effort to stop censorship in Hollywood. Take P.A.R.T.’s mission is to let broadcasters and the FCC know that we ” applaud their efforts to depict adolescent sexual health in an honest, accurate, and responsible manner.”

Let’s face it — abstinence does indeed work, but only if you practice it. For better or for worse, many teens don’t. And, for worse, the current political climate often keeps vital sexual health information from kids who go down that for-better-or-for-worse road.

That’s where Hollywood comes in. According to their website, “Take P.A.R.T. offers positive reinforcement to the creative industry and gives a voice to a community that understands the power of entertainment and its effect on the social attitudes and behaviors of young people.”

Take P.A.R.T. is currently sponsoring campaigns to support Law and Order: SVU (for showing the importance of protecting minors’ right to confidential health care), Summerland (for showing the importance of teens talking with trusted adults about sex), and Judging Amy (for offering safer sex messaging and a depiction of the importance of living a full life when HIV-positive).

Please take a minute to drop by Take P.A.R.T.’s site. Send a note to broadcasters and the FCC letting them know that you support the responsible depiction of adolescent sexual health. Or, don’t — and wait for the chastity belt to make its prime time debut.


Put the “Public” Back in PBS

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 10:32 am

Free Press has joined up with several consumer advocacy groups to return public interest to PBS, “proposing a series of local hearings across the country where the public will talk directly to broadcasters and policymakers about the future of public broadcasting.”

Read their announcement, and their report on the state of public broadcasting at Free Press.


PTC Press Tour: Next Stop, Fresno!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/18/2005 @ 9:26 am

The PTC PR parade has marched through Fresno, CA.

As they did in Florida last week, the PTC has announced the appointment of a chapter president in the conservative Central Valley city.

The resulting newspaper report is – we’re used to this by now – glowing. (Search through the piece for a non-PTC opinion. Go on. I dare you.)

Pastor Harry Davies of the Family Home Church is one member who would like to “clean up the airwaves and get rid of a lot of the trash we have to put up with. In general, our society, religiously, is going bankrupt,” he said. “Our morals are going lower and lower, and these generations coming up think nothing of sex.”

Anywho, Mike Burton, Fresno chapter president, reports that his goals include taking on Marriott hotels to “stop them from offering pay-per-view pornography,” and taking on “local TV networks in an effort to halt mature-rated advertisements during prime time.” The PTC will also staff a booth at the local farmers’ market.

You know what to do. Speak up! Let the Clovis Independent know that the PTC doesn’t speak for you.

Once you’ve sent your letter, please consider posting it on our site for others to read.


FL Paper Prints PTC LoveFest

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/12/2005 @ 9:55 am

Florida’s News-Press has published a dough-faced, mealy-mouthed, blarnified testimonial to the Parents Television Council’s efforts to censor TV.

With fawning words that could have come straight from a PTC press release, writer Chris Wadsworth hails PTC activists as TV’s white knights. In fact, Wadsworth seems to believe – as does Brent Bozell – that the PTC speaks for all of us, with a unified voice.

“I don’t think it’s right that you can turn on the TV and find almost anything,” said Kathy Graff, a Cape Coral mother of four who bemoans the loss of the old-fashioned “family hour.”

But the Parents Television Council says it’s not promoting censorship or pushing its values on others.

“I don’t really see it that way. I see it more as Hollywood having come in and imposed their values on me and my family … to the point that they’re putting things on the air that meet their profit objectives,” said Florida chapter director Matt Butler said.

Parents such as Michelle Tello back Butler’s view.

“I love the fact that someone is trying to fight for my kids besides me,” said Tello, a Cape Coral stay-at-home mom of five.

Mitzi Ibarra of south Fort Myers agrees. “I know the whole free speech thing, but we’re getting off track with what we’re letting into our homes,” said Ibarra. “I can’t say there is anything wrong with a little bit of censorship or at least having a time during the day when we know there’s nothing trashy on TV.”

“The whole free speech thing"???

Does the PTC speak for you? Speak up now!

Talk back to reporter Chris Wadsworth and the News-Press editors. Remind them that we’re out here.


Martin Plans to Continue Catering to Vocal Minority (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/06/2005 @ 7:56 am

At the conference of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin vowed to continue the indecency crusade. He also demonstrated what was either willful political kowtowing or shameful political ignorance:

“We’re reacting to what the consumer wants and expects of us,” he said, citing the giant uptick in complaints about indecent material on the Internet. “We used to get a few thousand complaints a year. Then the next year it was 100,000, and last year it was a million,” according to Martin, who was first appointed to the Commission in 2001.

A whopping 99% of those complaints came from our friends at the Parents Television Council.

The PTC strongly supports Kevin Martin.

Do the math.

AND SPEAK UP. We are the majority, but we are not nearly loud enough.

Write Kevin Martin and ask him to stand up for free speech.


SpeakSpeak in Variety

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/03/2005 @ 7:08 am

Nutshell: Silent majority not so silent anymore.

That’s you. Speak up.

[One minor quibble with the article, and a correction. We silent majority folks are not, as the headline would have it, “speaking out for smut.” We are, however, fighting the Parents Television Council’s efforts to define “smut.” Likewise, we’re fighting the government’s efforts to put a price tag on free (even smutty!) speech.]

Now you can read the article.

Variety: Silent majority speaks out for smut.


Columbia Journalism Review: TV Content Wars Inevitable

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/29/2005 @ 9:12 am

Reminding us that we’ve got keep our noses to our collective grindstone, the Columbia Journalism Review analyzes the indecency battles on the horizon. (via Media Savvy)

As for the more headline-friendly issue of fines for indecent content, [new chair Kevin] Martin has traditionally taken a much harder line. As a commissioner, he frequently criticized Powell’s fines as being too lenient. The New York Times noted recently that Martin “has taken the most aggressive approach in indecency cases, dissenting from a series of opinions in which the agency either found no violation or did not issue what he believed was a significant enough punishment.” This, of course, has made him popular with a vocal minority of conservative activist groups, particularly the Parents Television Council (PTC).

Don’t let the “vocal minority” win.

Being in the majority means nothing if you don’t speak up.

Remind Kevin Martin that we’re out here, and that his job is to weigh the standards of the community. We are the community.

Speak up!


Urgent Action Alert: Talk to the FCC (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/15/2005 @ 7:18 am

The Right is reacting to the FCC’s rejection of indecency complaints against the Terrell Owens/Nicollette Sheridan NFL teaser.

The Parents Television Council is absolving themselves of all responsibility. They claim to have filed no complaints, and PTC executive director Tim Winter was quoted by Bloomberg as saying “Though we felt the show was offensive and irresponsible, we didn’t feel it was a violation of the law.”

Dobson’s brigade, on the other hand, is warming up their ballpoints. This afternoon’s Focus on the Family CitizenLink newsletter urges FoFers to “let the five commissioners of the FCC know what you think of their ruling that there was nothing indecent about the “Monday Night Football"/"Desperate Housewives” sketch.

Speak up!

Have you seen the video?

(read on…)


Help Stop ‘Fake News,’ a.k.a. Propaganda

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/14/2005 @ 1:40 pm

The good people at FreePress are sponsoring a petition to end the government’s use of paid propagandists, from Armstrong Williams to “Jeff Gannon.”

Fight this insidious practice. Sign your name.


Urgent Action: PTC fights CSI (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/25/2005 @ 6:48 pm

The PTC has begun lobbying the FCC for maximum fines against CBS and its affiliates as punishment for the February 17th episode of CSI. (Read the very detailed, and very bogus, PTC complaint. Or, watch the clip.)

The CSI episode in question dealt with the death of a Vegas casino magnate who happened to have a diaper fetish. While it certainly wouldn’t have received the PTC seal of approval, neither was it indecent.

Be the equal and opposite reaction. Tell the FCC that OUR “contemporary community standards” were not violated.

Send your letter now from https://speakspeak.org/letter/

(This form letter contains more political opining than usual. This was done as a point-counterpoint address of the PTC’s boilerplate complaint. Please read the letter entirely to make sure you agree, and feel free to change the letter to suit your own opinions. Personalized letters work best.)


To Our New Friends in Erie, PA

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/11/2005 @ 7:58 am


As promised, you can send a thank-you note to your PBS affiliate, WQLN, from our letters page.

And hey – we’d like to keep you in the loop. Please sign up for our spam-free e-alerts.


PBS Needs Our Help (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/08/2005 @ 10:39 am

SpeakSpeak received a press release from PBS today regarding an upcoming episode of “American Experience.” On February 14, “American Experience” will detail the life and work of Alfred Kinsey.

When the film “Kinsey” was released last year, religious groups protested.

If recent history tells us anything, it’s that they’ll use this documentary to futher back PBS into a corner.

We need to get to work. Head off the attack: Tell PBS you support their decision to air this program before the Right unleashes its moral outrage.

Send a letter now.


Alert: Equal and Opposite Reaction (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/07/2005 @ 5:54 pm

The Family Research Council, one of the torch-bearers for the Battle Against Obscenity, is lobbying for President Bush to pick an FCC Chairman who will rain fire and brimstone on naughty broadcasters.

Just as Focus on the Family did last week, the FRC has provided a handy “Give-the-President-a-Shout-Out” form. (It’s one we hope to someday invest in, but at this point – why bother?)

Take advantage of the FRC’s generosity and send the Prez a letter asking him to help put an end to this obscenity business.

You can write your own letter, or cut and paste the one here.

As always, please forward a copy to info [at] speakspeak [dot] org.


Activists (Like You) Condemn PBS for Caving to Criticism

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/04/2005 @ 7:26 am

Activists condemn PBS for caving to administration criticism

Editorial: FEDS VS. BUSTER: Secretary of Education needs a lesson on tolerance


Buster: To Air or Not To Air?

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/02/2005 @ 2:11 pm

Buster-Friendly Affliates:

KQED (San Francisco)
WGBH (Boston)
WMHT (Schenectady, NY)
KOPB (Portland, Oregon): Will air at 10:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.
KCET (Los Angeles)
KSPS (Spokane)
KBDI (Denver)
TPT (St. Paul, MN)
KVIE (Sacramento)
KCTS (Seattle)
KYVE (Yakima, WA)

If you know of others, please let us know. If you haven’t emailed your affiliate yet – why not?

Buster-Hostile Affiliates:

KUED (University of Utah)
KBYU (Brigham Young University)
WVIZ (Cleveland)
WEAO (Akron, OH)
WNEO (Youngstown, OH)
LPB (Louisiana Public Broadcasting and affiliates)
WCET (Cincinnati)
WCVN (Lexington, KY)

WMPT (Maryland)
WGTE (Toledo)
WBGU (Bowling Green, OH)
WEDU (Tampa)
Maine PBS (Portland, ME)

OPB Makes Buster Late Night Fare

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/02/2005 @ 9:19 am

Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland) has announced that it will air Buster’s “Sugartime!” However, it is airing the program at 10:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.

“We have had overwhelming response from viewers who want access to this episode. OPB has decided to air this episode in a late-night time slot to allow parents the opportunity to record the program, preview it and determine whether or not they wish their children to view it,” said OPB’s president.

Question: Is it a victory that they’re airing the show? Or, is it a defeat that they’re airing it in a timeslot that is basically inaccessible to children? Are they treating the show with the respect it deserves, or are they likening it to bunny porn?

We want to know what you think.


Write PBS – Now!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 01/28/2005 @ 9:08 am

Today’s LA Times reports that local PBS affiliates’ are having to decide whether to run the “controversial” Sugartown! episode of “Postcards from Buster.” (Remember? The one where Buster Bunny runs into some Vermont lesbians and the world doesn’t end?)

Please contact your local PBS affiliate and ask them not to censor this episode. The brand new Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, has said that “many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode.”

Prove her wrong. Write PBS.

Use the PBS station finder to obtain the email address for your local affiliate.

Send them an email, and cc info[at]speakspeak[dot]org. A sample letter can be found in the comments section of this entry.

This is important.


PBS Update: “We’re Not Cutting Scenes. Really!”

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 01/20/2005 @ 2:45 pm

PBS press release, via TV Barn.

SpeakSpeak members have sent over 100 letters to PBS execs. Haven’t sent yours yet? Do it now.

Puritanical censorship becoming a way of life

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 01/20/2005 @ 1:44 pm

“The way the ‘moral leaders’ of the country talk, you’d thing a single offensive image would be enough to lead our youth into a life of hard crime or and sexual deviancy…. This is the kind oppression that has been protested throughout the course of our history, but for some reason I see few standing up to protest now. “

Read it in the OSU college pub.

we’re doing something about it.

PBS: Fear of FCC Fines Leads to Self-Censorship

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 01/20/2005 @ 1:08 pm

The LA Times has published a wire story about PBS’s decision to cut a Silkwoodesque decontamination scene from HBO’s Dirty Bomb.

PBS exec Jacoba Atlas sums it up thusly: “You want to pick your battles.”

Read about it in the Chicago Tribune.

Then, send a letter to PBS telling them that this is a battle worth fighting.

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