December 1, 2005

FEC Plans to Regulate Internet Ads

Posted by Eric Jaffa
May 31, 2005 @ 7:55 pm
Filed under: General

From the Chicago Tribune:

FEC treads into sticky web of political blogs

By Dawn Withers
Published May 31, 2005

WASHINGTON — Web loggers, who pride themselves on freewheeling political activism, might face new federal rules on candidate endorsements, online fundraising and political ads, though bloggers who don’t take money from political groups would not be affected.

Draft rules from the Federal Election Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws, would require that paid political advertisements on the Internet declare who funded the ad, as television spots do.

Similar disclaimers would be placed on political Web sites, as well as on e-mails sent to people on purchased lists containing more than 500 addresses. The FEC also is considering whether to require Web loggers, called bloggers, to disclose whether they get money from a campaign committee or a candidate and to reveal whether they are being paid to write about certain candidates or solicit contributions on their behalf.

These rules would not affect citizens who don’t take money from political action committees or parties.


Condoleeza Rice Praises Free Speech. However…

Posted by Eric Jaffa
May 31, 2005 @ 7:21 pm
Filed under: Free Speech

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a speech about Iraq on Friday, May 27, 2005 in San Franscisco, CA, at Davies Symphony Hall.

Protestors at the speech were arrested.

Her first public speech in the Bay Area since being confirmed as secretary of state in January, Rice delivered her remarks to a Commonwealth Club audience gathered at the concert hall to accommodate the unusually large demand for tickets. Some paid $125 for their front-row seats.

…Rice, who two weeks ago made a surprise trip to Baghdad, told the audience that U.S. troops will remain in the country until Iraqis are able to secure themselves…

More than 650 Iraqis and foreign troops have died since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari’s government was announced April 28. The nation’s security forces are planning to deploy 40,000 police and army personnel, backed by U.S. and Iraqi troops, in Bagdad next week…

A few minutes into her address, four protesters put on long black robes and hooded masks - mimicking a now-famous photograph of a U.S.-held Iraqi prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison - and rose from their seats. As San Francisco police officers escorted them out, two chanted, “Stop the torture. Stop the killing. U.S. out of Iraq.”

The four, and a fifth unmasked demonstrator, were cited for disturbing an assembly and released. One was identified as Medea Benjamin, founder of the San Francisco human rights group Global Exchange.

Unruffled, a slightly bemused Rice stopped only briefly to comment how “it is a wonderful thing that people can speak their minds. And it is a good thing that they can now do so in Baghdad,” prompting applause.

Yes, if they were blocking people’s view of the stage, someone had to get them to leave, but the police could have escorted the protestors out without arresting them.

Nothing like an arrest to embody freedom.

1 Comment

Smutburger, Smutburger, Smutburger. Joke? No joke. Paris!

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 27, 2005 @ 7:24 am
Filed under: PTC

Happy long weekend from SpeakSpeak. We’re on the road.

Until we return, how about checking out the links to our friends. (Screen right.)

Or, enjoy these press releases from Morality in the Media and the Parents Television Council regarding the Paris Hilton burger ad.

(Note to those unfamiliar with our site: Please read about our mission first.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From Morality in the Media

What Carl’s Jr. offers for sale is beef burgers, but what it serves on TV is smut burger and possibly a broadcast pig

NEW YORK (May 26, 2005) - On May 23, a California mother with elementary school children called Morality in Media to complain about a new Carl’s Jr. ad airing on broadcast TV starring Paris Hilton. Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following comment:

“First it was Hugh Hefner, who founded a sex empire that in the 1950s brought soft core pornography into the mainstream and that now pumps hardcore pornography into millions of homes via pay TV channels, using sexual innuendo to promote Carl’s Jr. fast food.

“Now it is Paris Hilton, whose rise to fame hinged in part on a pornographic home video featuring none other than Paris herself, performing in a lascivious manner to promote Carl’s Jr. fast food.

“The Paris Hilton ad is also being used on the and websites (Caution: these sites contain material that some may find offensive) to promote the popular Hardee’s, another chain owned by CKE Restaurants, Inc.

“I would still object to the Hilton ad, but at least I would understand if the ad were promoting a company like Abercrombie & Fitch that decided it didn’t need the business of mature adults.

“But I don’t see how Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s can prosper without the patronage of millions of adults who are concerned about the erosion of decency in the mainstream media and the effects that pornography and ‘popular culture’ (like the prurient Carl’s Jr. ad) are having on youth.

“Barring an emergency, I won’t be stopping at Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s in the future, and I would encourage other adults who are concerned about the decline of moral values to also pass them by.

“I would also encourage adults who see the Paris Hilton ad on broadcast TV and who are offended by it to make an indecency complaint to the Federal Communications Commission at The FCC defines indecent to include patently offensive depictions of sexual activities; and if the oozing with sex performance by Paris Hilton didn’t depict sexual activities, what did it depict? As the ad’s director put it in an interview, ‘One of the things you can expect to see is pure hotness.’

“Had the Carl’s Jr. ad aired on HBO, I suspect that few viewers would have objected, but as the Supreme Court observed in a 1978 case upholding the broadcast indecency law, ‘a nuisance may be merely a right thing in a wrong place - like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.’”

Morality in Media, Inc.
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 239
New York, NY 10115
1-212-870-3222 Phone
1-212-870-2765 Fax
[email protected]

MORALITY IN MEDIA, INC is a national, [501(c)(3)], interfaith organization established in 1962 to combat obscenity and uphold decency standards in the media. It maintains the National Obscenity Law Center, a clearinghouse of legal materials on obscenity law. MIM operates the Web site, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws to Federal prosecutors. Donations are tax-deductible.


From the Parents Television Council

Protest outrageous Paris Hilton commercial

Graphic sexual content in way too many TV shows is already a huge problem for parents and grandparents trying to protect the innocence of their children.

But as a parent I can tell you that when the raunch starts turning up in commercials targeting young people — even on programs that are not themselves offensive — we parents and grandparents have a right to feel that we’re the victims of a sneak attack.

And that’s what CKE Restaurants, Inc. — the parent company of burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s — have launched: a sneak attack on parents.

Please join me and the Parents Television Council (PTC) in protesting this shameful assault on our families’ moral values by going to our website at and signing the “WARNING TO CARL’S JR. AND HARDEE’S.”

And to really help us turn this protest into an avalanche, please forward this e-mail to every single person in your e-mail address book who agrees with you about the horrible damage that pandering, explicit sexual messages on TV are inflicting on kids.

The vehicle for the sneak attack is a sexually charged, adult erotica TV commercial for the chains’ “Six Dollar Burgers” in which actress Paris Hilton, wearing an extremely revealing few square inches of leather, is shown sponging and hosing a car and — mostly — herself, complete with erotic play with the hose and the sudsy sponge. It concludes with her taking a big bite of a burger and mouthing the tag line, “That’s hot!”

CKE has invested a huge ad budget in running the commercial repeatedly — in versions for both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s — including on sports programs that parents and grandparents might understandably assume would be free of sexually offensive content.

And despite an almost immediate nationwide uproar of protest — led by the Parents Television Council’s denunciation of the commercial as “the ultimate example of corporate irresponsibility” — the company’s CEO, Andy Puzder, has defended the commercial on the explicit ground that he says it will help the company make more money.

And he told critics — like you and me — to “Get a life.” Quote unquote.

Well, we need to tell Mr. Puzder to get a conscience.

He said: “This is an attempt to sell hamburgers.” Asked if he would hire Hilton again, Puzder said: “If this ad increases sales, I would choose her again…. It’s all about the sales.”

In other words, anything that sells hamburgers is OK with Mr. Puzder.

And he was echoed by the company’s marketing chief, Brad Haley, who said Ms. Hilton “fascinates Carl’s Jr.’s most loyal customers, ‘young, hungry guys.’”

The same ethical bankruptcy appears in CKE’s annual report, which declares that “advertising is our primary means of reaching our target demographic of young, hungry guys.”

The one-million-members-strong Parents Television Council (PTC) is sending this message to CKE Restaurants:


And if we have any say in it, the price you will pay for this outrageous display of corporate irresponsibility is that you will sell fewer burgers!

If you agree with this message, please add your name to the national tidal wave of disgust over this commercial by going to the PTC’s web site — It will take you just a few seconds to add your name to the “WARNING TO CARL’S JR. AND HARDEE’S”, and your message will be electronically forwarded directly to CKE Restaurants, Inc. by the PTC.

TOGETHER, with a BIG GRASSROOTS RESPONSE to this e-mail, we CAN teach huge multi-million dollar companies like CKE Restaurants that they will lose money if they dare to try to sell their products by corrupting the morals of our children and grandchildren.


Thank you for your support.

Tim Winter
PTC Executive Director
Parents Television Council
Because our children are watching.

P.S. I need your help. We need to flood the CKE corporation with “WARNING TO CARL’S JR. AND HARDEE’S” protests. This company has deliberately targeted the “young, hungry guys” in our families with a blatant, over-the-top sexual siren song in a conscience-less drive to make more money.

When you go to to sign and submit your “WARNING,” the PTC will electronically forward it automatically in your name to CKE Restaurants, Inc.

It’s also VERY IMPORTANT that you forward this e-mail to friends, relatives and colleagues in your email address book who share your outrage over the pandering sexual content that has taken over so much of the TV that young people watch these days. Hopefully, many of them will forward this email also, and your protest will be multiplied many, many times over!

So forward this e-mail now, and then go to to sign and submit your “WARNING TO CARL’S JR. AND HARDEE’S”!


Judge Forbids Parents to Share Their Religious Beliefs with Kid

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 10:49 am
Filed under: Free Speech

An Indiana judge has forbidden a divorced couple from exposing their son to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.” The parents practice Wicca, a pagan religion.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple’s divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy’s outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall.

The parents’ Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford’s attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones’ son attends a local Catholic school.

“There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones’ lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages,” the bureau said in its report.

From the Indy Star.


PBS Roundup

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 10:30 am
Filed under: PBS

When government media masters ask broadcasters to replace news with music, watch out. That was the Kremlin’s way on bad days in Soviet-era Moscow. Days when someone important had died. Days when things had gone badly wrong.

Now, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, is ushering in an era when National Public Radio member stations may, reportedly, soon be encouraged by the corporation to shift their programming from news to music.

From “The Assault on NPR,” Tom Ashbrook; Boston Globe.

* * * * *

CPB head Kenneth Tomlinson, who is leading a jihad against “liberal bias” in public broadcasting, and one of his two new ombudsmen both worked for the late Fulton Lewis, a reactionary radio personality associated with Sen. Joe McCarthy.

An erstwhile Rush Limbaugh, Lewis was the master of the partisan smear who rarely strayed from GOP talking points. In 1948, New York Herald Tribune radio columnist John Crosby suggested that Lewis “ought to be recognized as a campaigner, not as a commentator, and his national air time be paid for and so listed by the Republican National Committee.”

From “Fair and Balanced — the McCarthy Way,” Eric Boehlert; Salon.

* * * * *

PBS President Pat Mitchell maintained Tuesday that the taxpayer-supported network is independent and free of political bias, rejecting Republican arguments that there is a need for more conservative programming to balance the content of public television.

In her first public response to criticism that PBS suffers from a liberal reputation, Mitchell cited public polls that have repeatedly found that a majority of Americans view the network as objective and fair. She vowed to shrug off any attempts at political influence from either side of the spectrum.

“Our responsibility is to tell the truth, no matter what the consequences,” she said in a lunchtime address to the National Press Club. “And from time to time, it does lead people to question our motives, even suggest an agenda.”

From “No Liberal Bias at PBS, Responds Network President,” Matea Gold; LA Times.

* * * * *

Pat Mitchell took a swipe at the notion that PBS isn’t needed because television has cable networks that target many of the same viewers PBS does.

Ms. Mitchell pointed out that A&E this week is airing something called “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” while the Learning Channel is showing “SUV from Hell” and the History Channel is running “History Hogs” — a look at history enthusiasts who are following General Custer’s trail on their motorcycles.

She also got in a dig at Fox News Channel’s oft-quoted mantra, saying the nation needs “one media institution where … fair and balanced is not a slogan, but a way of life.”

The barbs were unusual coming from an executive whose job requires diplomacy.

But with about a year left to go in her term, perhaps Ms. Mitchell sees the light at the end of the tunnel — and maybe it doesn’t look like the train coming from the other side.

From “PBS President Stressing Relevancy,” Chris Baker; Washington Times.


FCC Commish Takes Aim at Payola

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 10:09 am
Filed under: General

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein is calling for an investigation into sneaky on-air product promotions and fake news.

“Undisclosed promotions are not just wrong — they are payola, and they are illegal,” Adelstein said.

He said small-print disclosures that appear in the blink of an eye during program credits “could not possibly qualify” as appropriate disclosure.

An FCC spokesman, David Fiske, said, the agency is “committed to enforcing our existing rules and we’ll respond to any complaints we’ll receive.”

Adelstein, a Democrat, said the issue merits an investigation regardless of whether the public complains. “The simple fact of nondisclosure means that listeners and viewers are not always aware that companies are impermissibly blurring the line between advertising and content,” he said.

From the AP.


Oklahoma Reps Vow to Revisit Gay Book Issue

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 10:03 am
Filed under: Book Bans

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a library finance bill yesterday that does not address the issue of gay-themed kids’ books. Representative Sally Kern penned a resolution earlier this month — which passed — that threatens libraries with defunding if they don’t keep children’s books with gay themes out of children’s reach.

The Legislature vowed to seriously study library book ‘placement’ during its next session.

From the Advocate.


PTC Wants to Ban Paris in Florida

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 9:52 am
Filed under: PTC

Matt Butler, head of the Florida wing of the Parents Television Council, is encouraging fellow Bozellians to push for a Paris-free state.

“Does it meet the standard of obscene? No,” Butler said of the now-infamous Carl’s Jr ad. “Is it pornographic? Yeah. Do I want my kids to see it? Certainly not. Am I going to buy a hamburger because Paris is slathering her body over a Bentley? Sorry, no sale.”

Butler is sending e-mails to the organization’s Florida members about the Hilton commercial and asking them to call their local television affiliates requesting the ad not be aired in their market.

“I think broadcasters need to take a serious look at the ad before they decide to air it,” Butler said. “If they want to air these spots candidly after 11 p.m., that’s fine. We typically don’t object to things done after that time because the chances of kids seeing material like that is pretty small.”

Carl’s Jr parent CKE also owns fast food chain Hardee’s, which has over 90 Florida locations. Hardee’s will be borrowing the Paris burger ad later this summer.

From the News-Press.


Editorial Explores Supremes’ Ruling on Forced Government Speech

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 26, 2005 @ 9:34 am
Filed under: Free Speech

Eds at the Missoulian tremble — rightly — at the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that says we cannot be protected from coerced speech if the words originate from the government.

“Citizens may challenge compelled support of private speech, but have no First Amendment right not to fund government speech,” Scalia wrote.

Scalia apparently discovered your obligation to fund government speech by reading between the lines of the Constitution. The First Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, guarantees individuals the freedom of speech. Nowhere in the Constitution is there any guarantee of the government’s right to speech, much less anything suggesting “government speech” trumps individual free-speech rights. And apparently you have to know where to look in the “penumbra” of the Constitution to find the government’s authority to delegate its government-speech powers to a commercial interest, such as the meatpacking industry. We certainly can’t see it.

The worrisome aspect of this ruling, of course, is the potential application beyond hawking hamburger. If beef commercials qualify as government speech, is there any form of special-interest propaganda that wouldn’t?

1 Comment

Focus on the Family Starts Anti-Paris Campaign

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 3:55 pm
Filed under: Right Watch

PTC said they probably wouldn’t, so FoF went ahead and did it. [PTC link is to Etopia conversation with Melissa Caldwell.]

Focus on the Family is urging its hangers-on to protest the Paris Hilton Carl’s Jr. ad.

The ad is filled with enough innuendo to make Freud blush.


“Parents need to express their outrage, in this case, with their wallets,” said Daniel Weiss, analyst for media and sexuality issues at Focus on the Family. “Carl’s Jr. is hoping to profit from all this publicity, but it needs to know it’s hurting families by exposing children to images like this.”

Weiss noted recent studies that found children who view sexual content on television are twice as likely to act out sexually as those who do not.

Read the screed.


HS Teacher Canned for Encouraging Students to Visit Poetry Site

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 12:14 pm
Filed under: Schools

A Texas English teacher was fired for encouraging his students to visit, a peer-review poetry site.

The mother of one student complained that some of the user-posted poetry had “sexual content.”

From KBTV, Beaumont. (via Blog of a Bookslut)


Judge Refuses to Overturn Bakersfield School Paper Censorship

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 11:47 am
Filed under: Schools

A California judge will not order a Bakersfield high school to allow the publication of an edition of the school paper focusing on gay students. Student journalists sued after the paper’s publication was halted by school officials, and their case was handled by the ACLU.

“This is an important issue that would require an opportunity to have a full and complete hearing,” Kern County Superior Court Judge Arthur E. Wallace said Wednesday after denying the plaintiffs’ request for an emergency order that would have allowed the articles to be published in The Kernal’s May 27 year-end issue.

School officials are worried about their potential liability should gay students mentioned in the paper be harassed. However, all of the gay students mentioned by name in the paper had given permission to be featured in the story.

From the Associated Press.


Conservative Teen Sues School for Discrimination

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 11:35 am
Filed under: Schools

A student in Hudson, MA, is suing his school, claiming they violated his First Amendment rights and have discriminated against him because of his conservative views.

Christopher Bowler hung posters in the school that advertised meetings of a conservative club for students. School officials removed the posters because they contained a link to the High School Conservative Clubs of America — which in turn linked to videos of Americans being beheaded in Iraq. School officials believed the site to be anti-gay and pro-violence.

Bowler believes his rights were violated when the posters were removed. He also cites discriminatory treatment.

Teachers have treated Bowler with “contempt and disdain” for his political beliefs, and the school is run “dogmatically and rigidly” despite its place of honor as a First Amendment School, his lawyer said.

Bowler’s complaint alleges that classroom discussions included “anti-American and anti-conservative” points, one teacher labeled President Bush a deserter, another teacher showed an effigy of the president and “teachers and administrators mocked and derided anyone who held conservative political beliefs.”

Story at MetroWest Daily.


VA School Board Frets Over Student’s Play

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 11:13 am
Filed under: Schools

A student playwright in Loudoun, VA, has become an anti-gay crusader’s political football.

Stone Bridge High School senior Sabrina Jess’ play, “Offsides,” was performed at the school earlier this year. The play told the story of a football player trying to come to terms with his (homo)sexuality.

Enter Eugene Delgaudio, a Loudon County supervisor. Delgaudio is also the executive director of Public Advocate for the US. According to a report printed in the Washington Post in 2002, Public Advocate spent “more than $5 million between 1997 and 2000 on a nationwide campaign that has often vilified gays as pedophiles and violent criminals.”

Delgaudio’s a bit of a playwright himself. The WaPo reported that Public Advocate performed

media-ready skits that [Delgaudio] calls “conservative political street theater.” Past productions include a “Man-Donkey Mock Wedding Ceremony” outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and a “Perverts for Cellucci” rally to protest President Bush’s nomination of then-Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci to be ambassador to Canada.

Delgaudio led the charge against Jess’ play, calling it “the strange play in which homosexuality is promoted.”

Furor over the play has reached such levels that the school board will meet tonight to vote on a policy that would prohibit the production of plays that have any sexual themes. The new policy, Delgaudio says, would prevent “the continued promotion of bizarre and obscene immoral practices that offend all traditional pro-family religions in America and the world.”

The Loudoun Times-Monitor reports that Mainstream Loudoun, a local civil rights group, will present its own suggestion for a policy that will monitor material for obscenity, slander and libel, but not censor content.

Sabrina Jess, the playwright, has certainly gotten more education that she bargained for.


Brits Tighten TV Content Rules

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 10:37 am
Filed under: General

Britain’s FCC-equivalent, Ofcom, has tightened rules on what may and may not be shown on television.

Among the changed rules, “the most offensive language” cannot be broadcast before 9 p.m. — or later if children are likely to be watching. (Unless the offensive language is “in context.”) Nudity and sex are likewise limited to after 9 p.m., and must again be justified by “context.” Smoking and drinking “must generally be avoided and in any case must not be condoned” before 9 p.m. Unless in context.

Reports the Times, “Scenes that may give harm and offence, by depicting or glamorising sex, violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity or discrimination on any grounds, including religion, should only be shown if they are justified by the context.”

In the most bizarre rule, “paranormal stunts” such as mind reading and magic shows are to be put off until after the magic hour of 9 p.m.

So what exactly is “context”? Ofcom defines it as “an amalgamation of when the show goes out and on what channel; its subject matter; the programmes shown before and after it; the size and expectations of the likely audience; how far the audience can be warned in advance of what to expect; the amount of offence the show is likely to cause; and how upset someone is likely to be if they tune in accidentally.”

It’s all at the Times Online.


Hoosier Rep Calls for .porn Domain

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 10:09 am
Filed under: Obscene!

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence wants porn sites to go official by creating a dot-porn designation on the web.

“We’ve got to be creative within constitutional protections” to prevent minors from accessing pornography, Pence told a recent summit sponsored by the American Decency Association, Kids First Coalition and other family values groups. “The Supreme Court seems more enamored with protecting obscene speech than with protecting everyday citizens.”

Also speaking at the anti-porn meetup was Florida Rep Katherine Harris (best known as the Florida recount’s chief recounter). She used big words, warning “against the social power of pornography” and calling it “the malignant desensitizer that changes a person’s perception.”

If the porn industry needs a slogan, there it is.

From the Washington Times.


Paris Is Burning

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 9:54 am
Filed under: Obscene!

Strictly as a formality — not because it’s interesting or
anything — here’s the Paris/burger ink roundup.

* * * * *

“Paris Hilton scores again, meritocracy takes another well-aimed knee to the crotch.”

From “Group Doesn’t Relish Hamburger Ad Buns,” Arizona Republic.

* * * * *

“I wanted to do one of the commercials because I always think they’re really clever and sexy as well,” Hilton says on

Hilton also spoke highly of the burger she promotes.

“This burger is really hot. There’s like these fried jalapenos on it,” she said. “It’s really like juicy and tasty.”

It’s not the first time Hilton has been associated with a burger campaign.

From “Paris Ad Too Hot for Critics,” E! Online.

* * * * *

Carl’s Jr.’s message to the PTC: The group needs to “get a life,” said Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr., a subsidiary of CKE Restaurants. “This isn’t Janet Jackson — there is no nipple in this. There is no nudity, there is no sex acts — it’s a beautiful model in a swimsuit washing a car.”

Puzder says he has shown the ad to his three children, ages 12, 9 and 7, and they have shown no signs of being corrupted. “Maybe people are excited because it’s Paris Hilton, but there are far worse things on television that these groups should be worried about,” Puzder said.

From “No Apologies for Sexy Paris Hilton Ad,” CNN Money.

* * * * *

“It was a mixed blessing,” Carl’s Jr.’s executive vice president of marketing, Brad Haley, said in a statement. “It turned out that Paris was too hot for our servers.”

Hilton’s Carl’s Jr. ad will also be used for sister-company, Hardee’s hamburger chain and will hit airwaves in those markets in mid-June. Watch out Milwaukee.

From “Racy Paris Hilton Ad Crashes Burger Chain’s Site,” AZ Central.

* * * * *

“I’m not a prude, but they’re blatantly using sex to sell. I don’t dig it,” said Cathedral City resident Jim Tracy, who chose to eat at the restaurant anyway.

From “Paris Hilton Ad Fires Up … Tempers,” The Desert Sun (Palm Springs)

* * * * *

And finally, the headline of the day:

“Paris’ Promosexuality Proves Too Spicy for TV,” The Age (Australia).


Motley Crue Sues Peacock Crew

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 25, 2005 @ 9:28 am
Filed under: Obscene!

Rock band Motley Crue is suing NBC for banning the band. NBC apparently put the kibosh on any upcoming appearances by the longhairs after band member Vince Neil let an F-bomb slip during a New Year’s Eve appearance of the tonight show.

The expletive aired well after the FCC’s ’safe harbor’ and has not been acted upon by the FCC. NBC issued a statement yesterday stating that “to ensure compliance with its broadcast standards, NBC has the right to decide not to invite back guests who violate those standards and use an expletive during a live entertainment program.”

The band says the ban violates their free speech rights, but First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin told the New York Times that he doubts the case will go very far.

Whether performers can take legal action to influence programming is in serious doubt, however. Charles Tobin, a Washington lawyer who specializes in First Amendment law and has represented CNN and Fox, said: “The government has no right to censor people on the content of their speech. But time and again the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of broadcasters, newspapers and the other media to decide who it wants to give priority to. That includes the right to ban anyone they want to.”

A bigger question is whether the network will apply the ban across the board. Earlier this month, System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian let the f-word slip during a performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Have they been banned? has a list of other performers who have made the same slip over SNL’s history, including Prince, Steven Tyler, Michael Stipe and Paul Shaffer. And what about Bono, who was really, really happy to receive a Golden Globe award and said as much during NBC’s 2004 telecast of the program. (The FCC dismissed complaints against Bono and NBC.)

Ban ‘em all?

1 Comment

The Cosby Conundrum

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 10:47 am
Filed under: Schools

Dara Purvis, a columnist for alterna-news site The Raw Story, fumes about the double standard of banning pregnant teen Alysha Cosby from her own high school graduation while allowing her inseminator to walk.

Purvis ties the story to the conservative push for abstinence-only health education.

Alysha’s treatment comes at the same time as new developments are made in regards to that darling of the White House, abstinence-only sex education….

From a survey of the 13 most frequently-used abstinence-only programs receiving federal government funding, Representative Henry Waxman publicized several examples of students being taught that a man needs “admiration” and “sexual fulfillment” from his partner, while a woman needs “financial support.” Another program teaches that “women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships. Men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments.” And my personal favorite, a story in a series called “Choosing Best” told of a knight who decided to marry a common village maiden rather than a princess, because the princess kept giving him advice about how to slay a local dragon. The fable finished with “moral of the story: occasional suggestions and assistance may be all right, but too much of it will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess….”

In these heady days of being flush with currency to spend on social programs—it’s not like there are millions of Americans living without health insurance or anything—I suppose I should be thrilled that Bush wants to spend over a quarter of a billion dollars a year teaching little girls that if they have the temerity to imply that they might be equal to little boys, they’ll never get married.

Read Abstinence (and Sexism) Only, by Dara Purvis.


High Schooler Appalled at Fellow Students’ First Amendment Ignorance

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 10:37 am
Filed under: Schools

Ashley Ladwig, a junior at Lake Central High School in Indiana, says she’s disturbed by a report that says people her age are woefully ignorant of their First Amendment rights.

This report was very devastating to our nation’s future. You see, if our future leaders do not understand the very principles that our whole democracy is based on, how can they uphold these principles and lead our country?

They simply cannot, which is why students must be taught their rights.

The First Amendment rights are the very basis of our freedom and they must be taught and instilled in our future leaders.

From the Northwest Indiana Times Online.


Meanwhile, Across the Pond…

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 10:27 am
Filed under: Schools

Campaigners in the UK are pushing for more sex ed in schools. Now that’s a refreshing change.

“We have been campaigning a long time for compulsory sex education. It’s really, really important that young people are informed so they can protect themselves and make informed choices,” said a spokeswoman for the Family Planning Association.

She said that while some schools taught pupils well-rounded lessons that covered all areas of relationships as part of their personal, social and health education (PSHE) programmes, the provision across the country was patchy.

“That’s not the norm. Most schools don’t give it the time or resources it should have,” she added.

Jan Barlow, the chief executive of Brook, the sexual health charity for young people, said tackling the inadequacy of SRE in many schools by making it a compulsory part of the national curriculum must be a priority if Britain was to reduce its teenage pregnancy rate.

Britain has the highest number of teen pregnancies in western Europe and the cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among this age group have almost doubled in the last 10 years.

From the Guardian.


PTC on Paris Hilton Burger Ad: We Deserve a Break Today

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 10:22 am
Filed under: PTC

Filed under Are-You-Sitting-Down?

Since premiering late last week, the Hilton burger commercial is getting the kind of attention Carl’s Jr. wanted. But the ad’s blatant sexual overtones are getting under the skin of critics, who say it sets a new low in TV advertising.

“This commercial is basically soft-core porn,” said Melissa Caldwell, research director for the Parents Television Council. “It’s inappropriate for television.”

The Los Angeles-based advocacy group plans to mobilize its more than 1 million members to protest and is considering petitioning the Federal Communications Commission for a ruling on whether the advertisements are indecent.

Ho hum.

From the LA Times.

1 Comment

PBS Prez Stands Up for PBS

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 10:08 am
Filed under: PBS

PBS president Pat Mitchell, who shrank in the face of political threats created by Buster the bunny, now says that PBS “does not shrink in the face of political threats.” (She did not look at her watch and say, “Starting… now! No, really. I’m serious this time.”)

Past errs aside, Mitchell is going to bat for PBS (the organization she’ll be leaving next year) as Corporation for Public Broadcasting chair Kenneth Tomlinson tries to bat it into submission.

In a speech she plans to deliver today at a meeting of the National Press Club, Mitchell writes:

PBS is not the property of any single political party or activist group or foundation or funder with an agenda of any kind. Our editorial standards ensure it, and public opinion polls verify it.

PBS does not belong to a red or blue or purple constituency, and it does not shrink in the face of political threats. PBS has built and maintained a steadfast resolve to never give in to pressures to reflect a political agenda. That resolve is as rock solid today as it has ever been.

(She did not say, “That resolve is as rock solid today as it has ever been, except for when we get squeamish about our animated characters interacting with, you know, lesbians. Ugh.”)

In Broadcasting & Cable.


Montgomery County, MD, Officially Scraps Sex Ed Plan

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 9:57 am
Filed under: Schools, Montgomery County

The Montgomery County, MD, school board voted yesterday to abandon the health ed curriculum that had landed it in hot water with the right. (Previous stories.)

Gone from the curriculum will be materials that imply homosexuality is a biological trait, excluding viewpoints of those who believe same-sex attraction can be overcome.

Also dropped was a seven-minute video that was to be shown to 10th graders, in which a woman puts a condom on a cucumber to demonstrate its use.

The school system is still involved in settlement talks with Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Parents and Friends of ex-Gays, plaintiffs in the lawsuit to halt the spread of gay birds and bees.

From the Guardian.


Medved Complains about Complainers; Implicitly Absolves PTC

Posted by Amanda Toering
May 24, 2005 @ 9:47 am
Filed under: Right Watch, PTC

In a USA Today column, conservative film critic Michael Medved takes an ostensibly sensible stand on those who complain about television content.

Ultimately, the only television schedule the public and activists reliably can control is the schedule of what we watch. We might not be able to determine what the industry makes, but we always make the final decision on what we take. In short, complaining about the weather may do nothing to change it, but you always have the option to come in out of the rain.

The sky — is it falling?

Sounds great. Finally, lip service from the Right. “Change the channel, dummards!”


Not exactly.

Medved’s complaints about the complainers are targeted at blacks, Asian-Americans, and conservative PBS-bashers — not folks like Brent Bozell who excoriate broadcasters for airing content they’d rather not watch. He takes issue with racial and ethnic groups’ contentions that they’re underrepresented in TV — if not quantitatively, then qualitatively.

The complaints by interest groups illustrate the same unfortunate tendency to emphasize supply-side solutions, rather than demand-side solutions, to the problems of TV’s impact. We spend too much time fretting over the way the industry produces programming, and too little worrying about the way the public consumes it. Statistical analysis shows that black characters are over-represented on TV, while Asians are under-represented. But that hardly means that the medium is good for blacks and bad for Asians. The influence of broadcast images depends on how selectively consumers choose to watch, not the ethnically based casting decisions executives agree to make.

So, don’t like subtle racism? Change the channel!

What’s missing in Medved’s complaint about the complainers is any mention of the Parents Television Council, the undisputed godfather of the whine-about-television movement. It would seem an astounding, almost ignorant oversight, save one fact: Medved is on the PTC’s board of advisors.

In fact, Medved is quoted on the PTC’s website complaining about the very things he just finished complaining about complaints about. Now that’s a lot of ‘complaints’!

“You can put your TV in the garage, avoid movies altogether, and use earplugs to spare your hearing from the sounds of hip-hop or heavy metal, but these forms of entertainment will still change your life through their influence on everyone else in society. Though you may struggle to protect your own kids from music that encourages violence or drugs or irresponsible sex, you can’t possibly protect them from all the other kids in your community who have received full exposure.” - Michael Medved taken from The Rock & Roll Rebellion by Mark Joseph.

Moral of the story? When the PTC complains, they’re speaking for all of us and our best interests? But when a racial or ethnic coalition complains, they’re asking for special treatment?

There’s a message in here somewhere. You find it. I’m confused.

Medved’s piece in USA Today.


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