PTC Chides Time Warner for Supreme Court Brief
LOS ANGELES (August 14, 2008) – The Parents Television Council™ responded to Time Warner’s U.S. Supreme Court filing which argues that prohibiting indecent content on broadcast television could lead to regulating cable network programming for indecent content.
ABC, CBS and NBC recently filed briefs with the Supreme Court to defend Fox’s claim that airing the “F-word” and “S-word” during two Fox awards shows was not indecent, and they even claim that broadcasters should not be bound by any type of indecency law.
“Time Warner’s self-serving brief is a smoke screen that is hiding the real issue. As a partial owner of the CW network, this filing must be seen as a back-door justification for its irresponsible behavior, as recently evidenced by its inappropriate advertising practices for ‘Gossip Girl’ and indecent broadcasts,” said Tim Winter, president of the PTC.
“The Supreme Court has already established a legal standard for indecent content on broadcast television – a standard that is completely different from cable television. Time Warner’s brief is a solution desperately searching for a problem.
“If Time Warner was truly concerned about indecent cable content, the solution is for the cable industry to offer families the option of choosing and paying for only the cable networks they want. Families are forced to subsidize MTV, FX, Comedy Central and others just to get the Disney Channel, Discovery Channel and Nickelodeon. Yet the cable industry fights this cable choice solution at every turn.
“Time Warner even claims that families should rely on blocking technology such as the V-chip and ratings system, but those ‘solutions’ are designed to fail. The V-chip relies on an accurate ratings system, and yet TV shows are consistently mis-rated on every network – which renders the V-chip ineffective. The networks rate their own programs and are financially motivated to under-rate them. A little-reported fact is that none of the indecency cases pending in the courts would have been blocked with technology, and the industry has refused to admit that.
“The entertainment industry is trying to have it both ways – the broadcast networks say that there should be no decency law because it is ‘harmed’ by competition with unregulated cable programming. But now a major cable conglomerate goes on the record to agree with the broadcasters, but says that FCC enforcement should never apply to them. If the broadcast networks were really at a disadvantage to cable then Time Warner out of its own self interest would want to keep broadcast decency rules in place, but that is clearly not the case.
“Time Warner should lead the cable industry in providing a way for consumers to pick and pay for the cable networks they want. Americans are tired of subsidizing offensive and indecent content on certain cable networks just to get access to other quality networks.”