Gore & the Unabomber,
More Denial, Family-Friendly TV
Three items today:
1) Was Al Gore's
book found in Ted Kaczynski's cabin? An American Spectator item prompts a
Dept. of Justice denial.
2) A network
Washington Bureau Chief is baffled by the idea of any liberal bias.
3) The MRC's
entertainment division releases its Top Ten list of the least and most
In the "On the Prowl" section, the June American Spectator
reported: "FBI agents on the scene are telling colleagues they were
amused when, while tearing apart the shack of suspected Unabomber Ted
Kaczynski, they came upon Al Gore's 1992 eco-tract, Earth in the Balance.
Many sections were underlined in pencil, and there were copious notes in
the margins. Why wasn't Gore among the handful of titles listed in press
references to the 80 or so books found in the cabin? The FBI and Justice
Department haven't commented publicly, but some agents assume the title
was clearly suppressed to avoid embarrassing Gore."
This week Rush Limbaugh discussed the charge on
his show, prompting former NBC News reporter Carl Stern, now Janet Reno's
chief flak, to issue a denial. From the June 6 Los Angeles Times:
"The Justice Department insists that Gore's book is not among about
200 found by investigators. 'We're at the mercy of any mischief making,'
grumbled Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern. 'There is no way to
prove what isn't there.'"
It's nice to see Stern squirm from a media
report. If only the major
media would show a little
interest in pursuing the story.
On Wednesday the MRC announced plans for Media Reality Check '96. The
Thursday Washington Post included a story on L. Brent Bozell's press
conference. Here's how Post reporter Howard Kurtz described the reaction
to the liberal bias charge from a network executive:
"Robin Sproul, ABC's Washington Bureau
Chief, called Bozell's charges 'simply not true,' saying her news division
includes people 'of all political persuasions' whose only goal is
'fairness.' She added: 'Brent Bozell would be surprised to see all the
letters we get from people who think we're too tough on President Clinton,
looking at the same product in which he thinks we're too cozy with
As you watch ABC, remember the assurance that
their "only goal is fairness."
On Thursday, the MRC entertainment division released its list of the least
and most family-friendly TV shows. For more information, you can call the
MRC's Sandy Crawford, who directed the analysis, at 703-683-9733. What
follows is the press release summarizing the findings:
Alexandria, Va. -- Today the
Media Research Center (MRC) released its annual findings of the Top 10
Least Family-friendly and the Most Family-friendly shows on prime time
television. These lists are based on the 1995-96 season of network prime
time entertainment television.
"Prime time entertainment
has become more polarized with regard to family-friendly content. While
the number of series containing obscenities and gratuitous sex has
increased, wholesome family shows, such as Second Noah, Touched By An
Angel and Dr. Quinn are on the rise. The most troubling finding is that
the majority of prime time television shows airing during the 1995-96
season do not have family-friendly content," stated L. Brent Bozell,
III, Chairman of the Media Research Center.
The Top Ten Least Family-friendly
shows, in ranking order, follow:
1. Married...With Children (Fox)
The crudest comedy on prime time television, Married routinely ridicules
the family. Every week members of the "Bundys" trade insults,
celebrate promiscuity, and revel in bathroom humor; this raunchfest's
dialogue is peppered with lewd punch lines about sex, masturbation, the
gay lifestyle, and the lead character's fondness for pornographic
magazines and strip clubs.
2. Friends (NBC)
Friends has not toned down its adult content despite the show's shift to
the earlier 8 o'clock hour. Virtually every episode revolves around sexual
themes and contains inappropriate language, and each of the six central
characters, all single twentysomethings, is sexually active. Additionally,
the sitcom promotes gay parenting and same-sex marriages as viable
3. Roseanne (ABC)
Like Friends, Roseanne's move to the 8:00 time slot has done little to
mitigate the show's content. The series' central characters are openly
derisive of their parents; religion and the religious are mocked; foul
language is frequent; premarital sex is condoned; and gay marriage is
4. Melrose Place (Fox)
Melrose's randy regulars are constantly in and out of one another's beds,
engaging in premarital and extramarital sex. Prime time's sexiest soap
also showcases the gay lifestyle, with one gay character gaining a live-in
lover this season.
5. A Season in Purgatory (CBS)
Based on a Dominick Dunne novel, Season showcased members of a supposedly
devout Catholic family promoting their faith in public while privately
engaging in a vast array of premarital and extramarital affairs, rape,
murder, and scandalous cover-up schemes.
6. Central Park West (CBS)
One of the most hyped entries on last fall's schedule, CPW condoned
premarital sex and adultery, and aired scenes containing foul language and
explicitly sexual content. Fortunately, the series was so poorly acted and
written that very few viewers tuned in to its sordidness.
7. The Dana Carvey Show (ABC)
The popular comedian shocked viewers and sponsors with obscenity-laden
skits and extremely crude content. After many advertisers withdrew their
support and ratings began to wane, ABC pulled the show off the air.
8. Cybill (CBS)
Cybill's storylines frequently test the limits. Dialogue is littered with
foul language, sexual innuendo, and suggestive scenarios. The sitcom's
regulars frequently belittle the institution of marriage and casual sex --
even with teenagers -- is condoned.
9. Beverly Hills, 90210 (Fox)
While one character has steadfastly refused to lose her virginity, other
members of 90210's tanned and trendy cast have been more than happy to
promote premarital sex as a natural -- and completely inconsequential --
fact of college life. The teen-targeted soap sends mixed messages on
drugs: positive characters deride substance abuse, but rarely address the
illegality of drug use.
10. Martin (Fox)
The sex lives of the two newlywed protagonists and their single friends
serve as fodder for the raunchy humor pervading this sitcom. Most of
Martin's episodes contain dialogue fraught with sexual references and
The MRC analysts listed the Most
Family-friendly shows on prime time which contain wholesome subject matter
for viewing by all ages. The Most Family-Friendly Shows for 1995-96:
Touched By an Angel (CBS)
One of CBS' few success stories of the season, Touched By An Angel is the
most outspoken proponent of traditional values on the prime time schedule.
The inspiring drama showcases God's message of unconditional love,
illuminates the power of prayer, and promotes compassion and strengthening
Second Noah (ABC)
This mid-season replacement about
a novelist, his veterinarian wife, and their eight adopted children is one
of prime time's most pro-family offerings. Storylines depict respect for
parental authority as the key to a strong family unit, and advocate
premarital chastity, individual responsibility, and faith.
The cornerstone of WB's family-friendly line-up, every episode of Kirk
reiterates the importance of family. The title character, a young man
suddenly charged with the upbringing of his three younger siblings,
willingly makes many personal sacrifices to ensure that the children are
receiving a sound moral upbringing. The show imparts the merits of hard
work, faith, patience, and taking responsibility for one's actions.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (CBS)
Dr. Quinn's promotion of traditional values has endeared it to audiences
of all ages. Marriage and family are staunchly promoted, as are honesty,
compassion, and respect for parental authority. The drama boasts one of
prime time's most positive clerics -- "the Reverend," a series
regular, is depicted as an intelligent, caring, and very dedicated member
of the community.
Home Improvement (ABC)
This popular sitcom remains a reliable family staple. Focusing primarily
on the relationships between a cable TV host, his wife, and their
children, Home Improvement has taught valuable lessons about teenage
drinking, honesty, respect and the importance of education. One of prime
time's foremost advocates of the institution of marriage, the show
frequently addresses the challenges faced by thehusband and wife and the
steps they take toward strengthening their relationship.
Lois & Clark: the New
Adventures of Superman (ABC)
Lois & Clark abandoned the suggestive dialogue and sexual references
of its 1993-94 inaugural season, and, in the words of series star Teri
Hatcher, is now "the family show to watch." The show's cleverly
scripted storylines prove that television needn't appeal to the lowest
common denominator to provide quality entertainment: dialogue and
fast-paced action sequences are free of offensive language and sexual
innuendo, and the newly-engaged protagonists promote premarital chastity.
The Parent 'Hood (WB)
Another winning offering from WB, The Parent 'Hood's central characters
provide positive role models for viewers of all ages. The happily-married
African-American couple, both successful professionals, teach their
children that education, self-discipline and integrity are keys to
success. The positive impact of a father in the household, family loyalty,
and postponing sex until marriage is also underscored.
END of press release.
That's all until next week.