Parent Television Council
The Parents Television Council, known as the PTC, is a U.S. based organization that advocates censorship in the media. It is an independent group of citizens and is not affiliated with any government body. The organization was started way back in 1995 by L. Brent Bozell III. He was later succeeded by Timothy F. Winter, who is the current president of the organization. Through a series of media, PTC seeks to notify the public, whether the various TV programs broadcasted across the country are beneficial or harmful for children. PTC classifies various television programs as decent or offensive depending on what they consider as good or harmful content for the kids. Their objective is to promote television content that they consider to be family-friendly. You need to be careful about what your children watch on TV especially if the are streaming TV or watching Cable TV. You can control some of what your children watch with these Time Warner Cable Internet Plans. Just turn off the Internet when you are not around to supervise them.
What PTC Does?
The PTC attempts to update people regarding the objectionable programs and promote family-friendly shows by a number of means. It publishes staff reviews, its own research reports, and online newsletters to inform its followers. On the mainstream media, it conducts a number of advertising campaigns to grab the attention of the public and disseminate their information. One of the ways, the council tries to tame the objectionable content is by pushing the cable operators to not bundle the TV channels, so that people can individually choose the channels they wish to watch. They even conduct advertising campaigns against the sponsors of programs they consider objectionable. The council also organizes mass mailing directed at such advertising sponsors. PTC has been often the organization that arranges mass filing of complaints against entertainment industry players who violate broadcast decency laws. Whenever possible they threaten the local networks of long and potentially costly lawsuits in case they air indecent entertainment.
Since its inception, PTC has been on a constant drive to eradicate profanity, sex and violence completely from the prime time television. This pursuit became more focused and intense during the years following 2003. The most prominent actions by PTC can be seen below.
In 2003 PTC complained to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) condemning NBC’s telecast of Golden Globe Awards, during which U2’s Bono had used the word “fucking”.
After a long battle with the FCC, the commission finally yielded, but decided against fining NBC.
After Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime in 2004, PTC managed to organize a mass complaint drive and generate 65,000 complaints to the FCC.
This issue is what put the PTC on a platform, where it garnered huge attention. It was PTC’s biggest stepping stone.
The next in line to face the PTC’s wrath was That ’70s Show. An episode titled, “Happy Jack” was centered on one of the characters being caught masturbating.
The PTC alleged that the NBC show Father of the Pride had too much of sexual innuendo and its promotion as by “from the creators of Shrek”, was attracting children of inappropriate age, to the show.
CBS faced the heat from them in the same year, when their show Big Brother 5 broadcasted the word “fuck”. For this and previous violations, CBS and FCC settled for a fine of $3.5 million.
In 2005, an episode of Without a Trace, titled Our Sons and Daughters, was attacked by PTC for its portrayal of an orgy. After a legal suit with the FCC, the show broadcaster, CBS paid a fine of $300,000.
Today, PTC has grown in size and resources to employ a huge number of people to work for the removal of what it considers indecent content. Over the years, it has complained against some of the most popular shows such as Family Guy, Friends, Gossip Girl, Two and a Half Men, NYPD Blue, Survivor: Gabon, and even Today. The list goes on and on. However, one of the biggest incidents that stands out is when PTC called on the US Department of Justice and the Judiciary Committees of both houses of Congress to investigate MTV. They alleged that MTV violated child pornography laws in casting teen actors in their show Skins, which had some questionable sequences.
Even the advertisement industry has faced its share of heat from PTC. A Carl’s Jr. commercial in 2005 featuring Paris Hilton in swimsuit washing car provocatively, drew a lot of flak from PTC. A similar ad by Hardee’s hamburger chain also drew a lot of criticism from not only PTC, but also other media watchdog groups. Hardee’s was again at the center of controversy with its new ad, in which suggestive references such as “A-Holes” and “B-Holes” were used.
How it All Started?
The seeds for PTC were sown way back in 1989, when Media Research Center (MRC), under its founder and president L. Brent Bozell III, began to monitor the entertainment industry. However, the PTC itself was formed by L. Brent Bozell III in 1995. In 1996, the council published its first annual Family Guide to Prime-Time TV, after the conclusion of the 1995-1996 television season. By 1998, it had a huge following in excess of 120,000 including many U.S. Congress members. Soon the council was joined by The Tonight Show’s host Steve Allen, who was a notable addition to the team. By the end of this year, PTC’s budget had reached $1 million. The council did suffer a revenue crunch in 2009, possibly because of the recession. But even then it managed to generate a revenue of $2.9 million that year.
Publications by PTC
PTC publishes a number of reports, publications and columns by members advocating against the increasing violence, sex, and profanity in television shows. Their notable publications and reports include Culture Watch, Parenting and the Media, TV Trends, What a Difference a Decade Makes, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, and more. In 2000, they claimed that violence, sex and profanity in television saw a marked increase over the previous decade. Their reports cover a huge range of programs, including children’s programs. Teen Titans and SpongeBob SquarePants were two of the most notable shows that fell under the radar of the PTC for alleged inappropriate content. In their Faith in a Box report, they concluded that Fox was the most anti-religious channel, followed by NBC, UPN, ABC, and others. Their other notable publications include Happily Never After, and Habitat for Profanity: Broadcast TV’s Sharp Increase in Foul Language.
PTC has always questioned the accuracy and credibility of the TV Parental Guidelines rating system. They allege that their rating system is too lenient towards the programs being broadcast in the country. As such, PTC sought to address this issue by launching their own rating system for TV programs, movies, advertisers and home products. The rating system was named “Seal of Approval”, which is given to programs that the organization deems family-friendly.
PTC also established a rating system along with TV Parental Guidelines. This rating system, called V-Chip, was considered to be toughest classification in the entertainment industry. However, none of these attempts by the PTC have actually caught on.
The PTC advisory board has always comprised of the “Who’s who” of the entertainment industry and political arena. Some of the prominent members include Pat Boone, Mel Renfro, Coleman Luck, William “Billy” Ray Cyrus, Tim Conway, Sam Brownback, Susan Howard, Gary Johnson, and C. Delores Tucker.