NEW YORK (October
20, 2006) – The Parents Television Council today called on NewsCorp to stop
defending its entertainment programming, which has produced some of the most
sexually graphic and violent programs on television today. The following are
excerpts from a statement that PTC Chairman of the Board Lee Weil gave at
NewsCorp's annual shareholders meeting:
members of the board, fellow shareholders: my name is Lee Weil and I am here
today representing the Parents Television Council, a grassroots organization
with more than one million members nationwide dedicated to protecting children
from the harmful content and messages that pervade so much of today's televised
"Mr. Murdoch, I
believe that you are a good man with solid values, and yet NewsCorp has clearly
carved out a niche for itself by specializing in smutty, vulgar, and violent
entertainment, all in pursuit of profit. You should be ashamed -- but it's
clear that you aren't, and neither are the executives that work for you.
"And yet in spite
of the overwhelming evidence of the damaging effect this sort of content has on
young viewers, NewsCorp has given us Nip/Tuck which has featured themes
of misogyny, sexual violence, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, and necrophilia.
The producer of the series has publicly stated that his goal is to pave the way
for broadcast television to feature a "rear-entry" sex-scene in the next three
has also given us The Shield which has featured an officer of the law
acting out rape fantasies with prostitutes and being forced to fellate a gang
member at gunpoint.
has given us Rescue Me which recently included a scene of a man raping
his estranged wife.
"I am at a total
loss to understand the FX network's obsession with sexual deviants and rape –
but it is pervasive; and this is what NewsCorp believes to be appropriate
entertainment for families. This is what NewsCorp is forcing millions of
families to pay for as part of their basic cable subscription.
"NewsCorp has given
us The War at Home which one TV critic described as "unconscionably
"And this, sadly,
is just the tip of the iceberg.
has policies in place to protect its employees against sexual harassment in the
workplace – which is appropriate and good, but it also points to an alarming
double standard. Why does NewsCorp deem it appropriate to broadcast obscene
language and vulgar sexual content into millions of homes when those same words
and behaviors would be cause for termination if spoken by one NewsCorp employee
"What's at issue
here, Mr. Murdoch, is NewsCorp's flagrant disregard for families as demonstrated
by its abuse of the publicly owned airwaves through its refusal to abide by
federal decency laws and community standards and NewsCorp's complicity in
forcing families to subsidize the pornographic content on its cable properties
as part of their cable package.
"It is clear to me,
and to the PTC's more than one million members that NewsCorp doesn't care who it
offends with its programming or how damaging that content may be to an
"I believe in the
first amendment, and I cherish the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for,
but I also know that with freedom must come responsibility. Theodore Roosevelt
said, ‘Men can never escape being governed. Either they must govern themselves
or they must submit to being governed by others.'
does a better job of keeping sexually explicit and violent content off of
television during hours when children are in the viewing audience; until
NewsCorp stops forcing cable subscribers to help pay for the disgusting and
depraved content of Nip/Tuck you will be under the constant scrutiny of
the FCC, of Congress, and of millions of outraged American families.
"The solution is so
simple. If you are going to air mature content on your broadcast network, air
it after 10 p.m. when children are unlikely to see it. And if you are intent on
putting degrading programs like Nip/Tuck on the air – programs that
violate your own corporate speech policies, put them on premium, not basic cable
where tens of millions of families who don't want it -- and are in fact offended
by it -- aren't forced to pay for it.
To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Megan
Franko at (703) 683-5004, ext. 148.