fundraising update. The February 11 CyberAlert noted that none of the
broadcast network evening shows Monday night picked up a Boston Globe
story which reported that a top Democratic official admitted the White
House coffees were meant to raise money from attendees.
It turns out that
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry was asked about it during his
daily news briefing on Monday. McCurry's answer contradicted an earlier
comment from President Clinton, but that still didn't generate a mention
on ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News
either Monday or Tuesday night.
CNN did find it
newsworthy, however. On Tuesday night's (February 11) The World Today Wolf
Blitzer contrasted Clinton's campaign finance rhetoric to his record.
Blitzer began by noting that on Tuesday Clinton took the high road by
making a public commitment to campaign finance reform. Blitzer then
claim he's also taking the low road. Sources close to Republican Senator
Fred Thompson say he's worried the White House is trying to limit his
hearings into fundraising by getting Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
and other Democrats to attack his motives..."
After a soundbite
from Daschle denying the charge, Blitzer continued: "Still, having
the President push reform diverts attention from his money raising
headaches. The latest in The Boston Globe. Former Democratic Chairman Don
Fowler acknowledging that shortly after those controversial White House
coffees with Mr. Clinton, the DNC hit up some participants for donations.
The White House confirmed the blunted mission."
Mike McCurry on
Monday: "I think the President would have wondered why he was doing
all those coffees if they hadn't had some follow up."
"That's not how Mr. Clinton described meetings last month."
Clinton at press
conference: "I think the President should keep in touch with people,
I think he should listen to people. I never learn very much when I'm
talking and I normally learn something when I'm listening. So I think they
"How good were those coffees? The Boston Globe says the 358
individuals or companies represented contributed $27 million to the
Democrats in '95 and '96..."
2) At a press
conference Tuesday in Washington, DC, the Parents Television Council (PTC),
the Media Research Center's Hollywood project, released a Ratings Reality
Check study titled: "A TV Ratings Report Card: F for Failure."
ABC World News Tonight and CNN's The World Today carried very positive
stories relaying our findings. CNN anchor Natalie Allen warned:
"Parents take note. This next story contains graphic scenes. It's the
kind of material your child can watch during prime time, but without the
stern warning. That is fueling some angry complaints among the earliest
reviews of TV's new ratings system." Jeanne Meserve's story opened
with violence and sex scenes in shows rated TV-PG before summarizing the
Jennings explained the newly installed ratings system, then announced:
"In Washington today a conservative media monitoring group has taken
exception, and very quickly."
Serafin ran a soundbite of PTC Chairman L. Brent Bozell: "The
age-based ratings system on television today is hopelessly confusing,
inconsistent, contradictory and meaningless."
up: "Bozell says his Media Research Center monitored 150 hours of
television over two weeks in January. The report's main quarrel is with
prime time programs rated PG, a widely used rating meaning some material
may be unsuitable for younger children. The report says 52 percent of PG
programs viewed contained obscenities like this."
Clip from NBC's
ER: "Two days is all that I asked for -- son of a bitch."
Serafin: "Some, the report says, are barely disguised."
Clip from ABC's
Life's Work: "That drilling's driving me out of my f*****g
mind." [noise from a drill drowns out the obvious word after the f
Serafin: "The group says 55 percent contain sexual references or
Clip from CBS's Pearl: "I wanted to flunk her brains out, but when it
came time I just, I went soft."
division Senior Writer Tom Johnson collated the data and wrote the PTC
study which determined:
"The new, age-based ratings system for television is a failure. There
is no inter-network consistency in the ratings. Worse, there is not even
intra-network consistency. In short, the age-based system, which the
television industry promised would help inform and assist parents in
choosing appropriate shows for their children, is making such a
determination more confusing than ever before. These are the conclusions
of a Parents Television Council content analysis of two weeks -- 150 hours
-- of prime time television on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN, and WB."
report's findings based up an analysis of all entertainment shows aired
from January 3 through 16:
-- The six
networks aired 150 hours of entertainment programming over the two weeks.
Ninety-two hours (61.3 percent) were rated TV-PG; thirty-one hours (20.7
percent) were rated TV-14; twenty-seven hours (18 percent) were rated
-- The G rating
does not necessarily indicate a safe haven for children of all ages. Shows
with vulgarities and sexual references have garnered a G rating.
-- The PG rating
-- given to more than three-fifths of programming -- is hopelessly vague,
applied with abandon to shows containing sexual material and vulgar
language and shows containing neither.
appeared almost as often in PG shows as in those rated TV-14. Fifty-two
percent of PG shows contained such words as "ass,"
"bastard," "son of a bitch," and "suck." One
PG episode, of ABC's Life's Work, included two obvious uses of "f---ing"
that were drowned out by the sound of a power drill. Sixty-eight percent
of TV-14 shows included similar vulgarities. Overall, there were 189
incidences of vulgar language, an average of 1.26 per hour. In TV-PG shows
viewers heard 1.48 obscenities per hour.
usually were rated TV-14 for violence, rough language, or other
sophisticated themes, yet some PG shows contained more violence than TV-14
offerings. In fact, while slightly more TV-14 than TV-PG shows contained
sexual references, PG shows included more sexual references per hour: 0.88
in TV-PG shows compared to 0.74 in TV-14 programs.
indicating a show meant for adults, was not applied at all, thus declaring
that everything during prime time was suitable for youngsters. Later this
month, NBC will apply TV-M to Schindler's List, meaning that the network
thinks sexually oriented PG sitcoms like Friends and Men Behaving Badly
are appropriate for children, but this Oscar-winning film isn't.
analysts Christine Brookhart and Alice Lynn O'Steen as well as interns
Kristina Sewell and Jessica Bearor performed the research for the study,
watching dozens of hours of shows to document their content so that could
be compared to their rating.
Thanks to the
quick work of the MRC's Joe Alfonsi, our newly installed online manager,
you can read the entire 12
page report and accompanying graphs on our Web site.