PTC: ABC Lawyers Should Win “Best Comedy Writing” Award

June 30, 2008

ABC and its Affiliates Offer Absurd Arguments for the “Right” to Show Indecent Content on Broadcast TV in Front of Children

LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2008) – The Parents Television Council™ criticized Disney-owned ABC and its affiliates for challenging the broadcast indecency fine for airing an indecent episode of “NYPD Blue,” which showed a graphic display of female nudity.

The broadcast at issue aired on February 25, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones. The PTC, its members, and concerned citizens across the country spoke out against the nudity in this episode of “NYPD Blue.”

“After reading their arguments challenging the FCC’s indecency fine against ‘NYPD Blue,’ we believe ABC’s attorneys should win an Emmy for ‘Best Comedy Writing.’ Their primetime comedy writers haven’t written anything nearly as funny in years,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“They argue that they are not opposed to indecency rules, yet they don’t want the rules to be enforced. That’s akin to saying that they’re in favor of the speed limit but against any enforcement when people drive too fast.

“They show a fully-naked woman from behind; the camera ogling her up and down with saucy music playing in the background. And in denying that a naked woman’s buttocks has either a sexual or excretory function, they say it is ‘just a muscle.’ Why not just show her bicep, then?

“ABC has also made the preposterous assertion that no viewers complained to the FCC about the nudity in ‘NYPD Blue’ when the reality is that thousands of Americans from all over the country exercised their First Amendment rights to contact their government about the misuse of the airwaves that they own. Many of those concerned citizens used the PTC website to file those complaints with the FCC. The law is clear: people have the right through the FCC to complain about the indecent material airing in their communities regardless of how they are informed about the material. For ABC to declare otherwise is like saying that only those who fight in Iraq or Afghanistan can log a formal opinion about the war.

“ABC must believe that corporate namesake, Walt Disney himself, would agree that airing the ‘F-word’ and showing naked women on television are not indecent. Would the same man who brought the world Mickey Mouse really think that? Surely he would agree with the unanimous, bipartisan FCC ruling that the ‘NYPD Blue’ episode was indecent.

“The simple remedy for ABC is this: wait until after 10:00 pm in all time zones to air such graphic material. Unlike network television promos, the broadcast decency law does not say ‘10 pm, 9 pm Central/Mountain time.’

“Poll after poll indicates that the American people are fed up with the river of inappropriate material flowing into their homes, which is why Congress weighed in to raise the fines to those broadcasters who violate the broadcast decency law. The Congress should again step up to the plate and vote on Senator Jay Rockefeller’s bill about expletives and nudity on the public airwaves. If the networks would act more responsibly, there would be no need for government involvement. They should cease their irresponsible legal challenges to the reasonable, time-honored standards established by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court,” Winter said.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

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