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Press Release

October 23, 2007

PTC Calls CBS’ “Jekyll and Hyde” Responses to Indecent TV Content Disgraceful

Urges FCC to Review Licenses of all CBS TV and Radio Affiliates


LOS ANGELES (October 23, 2007) – The Parents Television Council™ responded today to CBS’ written excuse for its failure to implement terms of the Consent Decree it negotiated with the FCC in November of 2004.  The Consent Decree summarily dismissed tens of thousands of broadcast indecency complaints that were filed by the public.  CBS agreed to take specific remedial measures if the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) against a CBS station, and the Commission issued an NAL in March of 2006 for a CBS rebroadcast of a teen orgy scene on the program Without a Trace.


“CBS’ response to the FCC’s inquiry is utterly disgraceful.  By saying they did nothing wrong by not taking any action after receiving the NAL, they have openly and defiantly breached both the spirit and the letter of the agreement that they freely negotiated with the FCC.  Remember that the CBS Consent Decree summarily dismissed thousands of broadcast indecency complaints related to the original broadcast of the Without a Trace episode at issue; so then how could its re-airing not trigger the remedial action specified in the Consent Decree?  We therefore call on the FCC to review each and every broadcast license held by CBS, beginning with its owned-and-operated television station in Salt Lake City, KUTV,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“Either a broadcast license means something or it means nothing.  We believe that a license means something, and as prescribed by Congress, we believe a licensee must serve the public interest.  By wantonly and repeatedly violating contemporary community standards for decency -- and now by its unquestionable breach of the Consent Decree that CBS negotiated for itself with the FCC to sweep away tens of thousands of indecency complaints filed by members of the public -- CBS must be called to account.


“CBS has a behavior pattern that should be described as ‘Jekyll and Hyde.’  Its own executives have testified before Congress that they have a zero-tolerance policy towards indecent broadcasts, and by signing the Consent Decree they have admitted to broadcasting indecent material.  Yet CBS has filed suit, along with other TV networks, to use the ‘F-word’ at any time of the day – even in front of children.  And they have filed suit to assert that the Janet Jackson striptease on the Super Bowl broadcast was not indecent.  This erratic behavior should be openly questioned by the FCC, and we call on the Commission to do so immediately.”


In an October 1st letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, PTC President Winter outlined two potential solutions.


“The FCC should hold a license renewal hearing in order to determine whether CBS has served the public interest in Salt Lake City as its KUTV broadcast license expires.  As part of its public interest analysis, the FCC would consider a number of factors, including the licensee’s apparent breach of the contract it voluntarily negotiated and executed in order to dismiss tens of thousands of indecency complaints filed by the public.  Such a license hearing would be a powerful and positive reminder to every broadcaster in the nation that they are granted temporary and conditional permission to use valuable property,” Winter said.


“A second remedy is for the FCC to respond in a manner consistent with what most other breach-of-contract situations might call for, to wit, that the benefits secured by the breaching party be returned to the harmed party.  In this case, the FCC would reopen each and every broadcast decency complaint which was summarily dismissed by the November 2004 Consent Decree, and each complaint would be adjudicated on its merits.  The dismissal of the complaints was the benefit secured by CBS in signing the Consent Decree and paying a fine.  Now that CBS is – apparently – in violation of that agreement, those benefits should be forfeited.  In addition, each and every radio and television broadcast license held by CBS should be reconsidered.”


To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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