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Press Release

February 14, 2008

NBC Assaults Families with Offensive Language on Today Show


LOS ANGELES (February 14, 2008) – The Parents Television Council™, a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment, called on NBC to change its broadcasting practices in response to NBC’s unedited airing of a four-letter word for female genitalia spoken by Jane Fonda during an interview on the Today show.


“There is no excuse for airing one of the most patently offensive words in the English language on broadcast television, especially at the breakfast hour.  If an NBC employee used the ‘c-word’ to another employee, that employee would be suspended or even fired.  While NBC’s apology is helpful, it is not enough – millions of families were indeed offended.  NBC must change its broadcasting practices and implement a time-delay on all of its live broadcasts, thereby ensuring that this type of language does not air on the publicly-owned airwaves.  NBC must do as they require every employee to do on an annual basis: affirmatively state their intention to abide by both the spirit and the letter of the law,” said PTC President Tim Winter, who is also a former NBC employee.


“The networks can no longer claim to be surprised by this now-routine conduct.  It is now something they must anticipate happening.  Just a few weeks ago, ABC’s Good Morning America allowed the ‘f-word’ to slip by un-bleeped.  How many times does this have to happen before expletives are no longer ‘fleeting’?  The public is entitled to the expectation that television is not going to assault their families during certain times of day and NBC clearly violated that expectation today. 


“Advertisers who paid for this morning’s Today show should demand and be issued a complete refund.  This indecent incident should be an issue when each NBC affiliates’ licenses come up for renewal.  Concerned citizens must petition the FCC in order to communicate clearly to NBC that this type of language is a violation of their broadcast licenses.


“We also ask the two federal court judges in New York whether they are proud of the legacy they have ensured for themselves by paving the way for material like this to come into our homes.  Hopefully American families will not let them have the final word, and that the Congress will move quickly to vote on the bill pending before the Senate which would clarify the FCC’s authority to deal with this growing problem.”


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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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