Despite Media Claims, McCain Stands Firm on Cable Choice

Written by PTC | Published September 16, 2013

Amid the controversy surrounding the recent “school shooting” episode on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, some in the press have claimed that Senator John McCain thinks content concerns are invalid. But such claims are wrong. At the end of last week, Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, took to YouTube to express his displeasure with our criticism of last week's episode. I have no real interest in rebutting his somewhat disjointed and profane rant, but some of the media coverage of what followed was inaccurate, and I believe deliberately so. To wit: the online Hollywood publication The Wrap published a story on Friday highlighting Mr. Sutter’s bombastic statement while including a snippet of an interview with Senator John McCain (R- Ariz.) designed to make it look like the Senator disagreed with those, like the PTC, who are concerned about the impact of graphic media content on children and want to make a market-based decision about which types of cable programming they want to buy. In fact, the article was headlined: “Kurt Sutter Defends ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Episode, Sen. John McCain Takes His Side.” Of course, Senator McCain has long been an important ally of the PTC and recently introduced new legislation designed to make cable choice a reality for consumers. So you may be wondering: “why would Senator McCain ‘take Sutter’s side’ if he and the PTC both want cable choice?” Late Friday, Senator McCain issued the following statement in order to once again make clear his position:

“For over a decade I have advocated for more choice and greater freedom for pay-TV consumers. This year, my ‘a la carte’ cable TV bill has attracted a broader coalition than ever before – reasons for this increased support range from the growing costs of cable to the rights of families to control what programming enters their homes. All of these concerns are important and I am grateful for their effort to advance the Television Consumer Freedom Act. I am proud to have the Parents Television Council’s support for this bill and I look forward to working with them on important media issues in the future.”

Simply put, McCain DID NOT not “take Sutter’s side.” The Wrap purposely took a small quote out of content to make it seem as if cable choice were somehow bad for consumers and families. I guess that is not a surprise from a publication that complained that a la carte cable would destroy TV’s “golden age” just the day before. Since when is a depiction of a school shooting, simulated rape scenes, torture of women, and a man who was drowned in a bathtub of urine a “golden age?” Families deserve better – and they certainly shouldn’t be forced to pay for material like this episode of Sons of Anarchy.

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