Parents Television Council Falls on Hard Times

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Parents Television Council Falls on Hard Times

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Times are tough for the decency watchdog group Parents Television Council, which is struggling with declining revenues, declining interest, allegations of misconduct and even a little pushback from the media.

I've always been simultaneously amused and appalled by the phrase "decency watchdog." It sounds innocuous enough, but "decency" is such a moving target that these groups are inevitably just a cloak for people who want to impose their values on others. So I'll admit to a certain amount of schadenfreude when I read about the hard times at the Parents Television Council, which despite its name has also taken its share of shots at the game industry.

According to a NYTimes.com report, the PTC is feeling pressure from all sides. It's still blustering over everything from the new sitcom $#*! My Dad Says to Miley Cyrus' sexed-up music video and the cover of the November issue of GQ, but people are starting to lose interest. The recession is blamed for blunting interest; costs are rising while revenues are down dramatically, forcing the group to cut its staff by 38 percent over the past two years. Its output of "major reports" has also been reduced, from four in 2008 to one in 2009 and none so far this year.

Of perhaps more relevance to PTC supporters are allegations leveled by former vice president for development Patrick W. Salazar, who left the group under hazy circumstances in November. The PTC's direct mail campaigns include petitions and solicitations for donations; supporters can sign and return the petition form to be forwarded to the FCC and, optionally, put a few bucks in the envelope as well to help keep the lights on. But according to Salazar, for "at least a period of some months," the PTC was opening envelopes looking for money but not following through with the rest of the process.

"Almost 195,000 pieces of donor/member mail was never sent to the intended recipient," Salazar wrote in an email to PTC President Timothy F. Winter in March 2009. "Most of these were time-sensitive docs whose value is now shot."

"Dude, I told you I was working on fulfillment," Winter responded. "It is under control." He told the Times that the PTC is now caught up with the backlog, but admitted that a "stack of petitions" was too old to be of any value.

Salazar, who, depending on who you ask, either quit or was fired in November 2009, also said the group grossly overstates its membership. The Council claims to have more than 1.3 million members, but Salazar said that includes everyone who has ever signed a petition or donated to the group since its founding in 1995 and that the actual number of regular, annual donors is closer to 12,000. Winter responded by saying that the relatively small number of regular respondents is due at least in part to limits on the number of mailings sent by the group. "We can't afford to communicate with everybody on our total membership list every time," he said.

The entertainment industry, meanwhile, is beginning to show a willingness to push back. In July, a Federal Appeals Courts sided with Fox, CBS and other broadcasters to strike down an FCC policy which prohibited the use of "fleeting expletives" on television. The ban was one of the PTC's "most promoted accomplishments," but the court ruled unanimously that the policy "created a chilling effect because it left broadcasters without a guide to what the commission would find offensive." The FCC is currently appealing the decision.

Gamers will know the Parents Television Council best as one of the groups supporting the Supreme Court appeal of California's overturned videogame law, and for calling those who don't agree with its position "violent thugs" and "bullies." That's some decency, eh?

via: Ars Technica

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All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

I can haz join you?

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

And other forms of entertainment.

So high five!

*attempts to high five you*

In 20 years or less, this useless watchdog group will cease to exist

The recession is to blame for blunting interest? I'd get if they blamed the recession for declining funds, but are they claiming that because of the recession not enough young people are getting into complaining any more? The talent is there, but the interest in grass-roots complaining isn't sufficient to properly develop it?

servers them right for trying to ruin a young medium...

imnotparanoid:

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

I can haz join you?

Yes, you can. Join me here: http://www.muwhahaha.com/

I had to laugh that the main response here is "Dude, I've got it under control"

You know what? Good. I'm sure the people involved in the group are fine and decent, but if there's one thing we need less of, it's these ridiculous watchdog groups imposing their moral values on the rest of society. The allegations of misconduct, which always seem to appear in these organizations eventually, are just icing on the cake. Good riddance to you, PTC. I enjoy your decline into irrelevance.

"...which is struggling with declining revenues, declining interest, allegations of misconduct and even a little pushback from the media."

SUCCESS!

Serves them right is all I can say. I certainly wouldn't mind it if those "hard times" they've fallen on turn into huge impaling rocks.

Well maybe now they will focus on TV and not their smear campaign on video games.

I find it ironic that they promote 'decency' whilst allegedly stealing money, but I guess its ok as long as they don't use naughty language...

Still, good riddance

HAAAAAAA! HAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAA!
That is the best news I've heard all day, I freakin' hate those guys!

imnotparanoid:

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

I can haz join you?

I'm joining both of you. Since this actually made me smile a little.

I always considered this group one of the smaller players overall. This is good news mind you, but hardly a tide-turning victory.

On some levels I actually agree with a lot of "decency crusades". Truthfully the fact that our society can't deal with big issues because of our own morality is why things like video games are used as "boogie men" to feign action. To stop any group from doing anything nowadays, especially something major and noticable that would cause change in society, is going to cause a civil liberties outcry. That's why few things change, and just get progressively worse. There is too much steam on both ends of the spectrum and there is always going to be a moral question in doing almost anything that affects or limits a large group of people, and our system is set up where changes can be prevented simply by raising those questions.

The problem with this paticular group though is that rather than going after paticular behaviors, they are trying to bypass the constitution by crusading for censorship. The idea being that if the media can be censored our kids won't grow up to practice the things that cause those major issues to begin with... allowing those issues to be dealt with indirectly.

I believe the right to free speech, and keeping the goverment out of regulating it, is one of the major cornerstones of society, and unlike many other "rights" is the result of direct intent when the country was founded, rather than something deriving from precedent.

I feel it's fine for the goverment to say ban kids from smoking cigarettes, which is a behavior, but it's wrong to say ban kids from talking about cigarettes, or ban the depiction of smoking (which people have tried) so kids won't see it.

I won't go any further with other examples because a lot of what I think would probably be contreversial and derail the thread.

I'm glad the interest is falling for this group. Here's to hoping for their permanent silence.

Schadenfreude, indeed! I am pleased.

The Gamers wrath is something not to be triffled with. Don't really care, they can wither and die. Get a proper job for God's sake.

People always have to impose their opinions and judgements on others by saying they are right and the world should believe they are right as well, basically making rules for millions of people who don't care. Like me.

Burn in hell!

Fucking good, it's about time they fall apart, they never deserved to be a council anyway, they are all just a bunch of self-declared moral knights trying to give many forms of media a hard time based on their standards on what is appropriate or not.

No more PTC?

Karma finally got one that deserved it.

zHellas:

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

And other forms of entertainment.

So high five!

*attempts to high five you*

Sir, that hand is too small.

Serves them right for calling us "thugs" and "bullies."

one word

karma

Andy Chalk:
"Dude, I told you I was working on fulfillment," Winter responded. "It is under control."

... did I just fall into an Onion article? Did he actually say "Dude, I told you I was working on fulfillment"? It sounds like he should be on the docks somewhere loading strange packages into the backs of cars.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I would say that the PTC should die in a fire, but that would just give them insurance money.

Mechsoap:
servers them right for trying to ruin a young medium...

*Facepalm*

/win thread

OT: Good news, but sadly it's only a small victory as far as gaming is concerned.

Arkhangelsk:
All I can do is laugh smugly as they get what they deserve for trying to oppress gaming.

And TV and other forms of free speech. I hope they rot.

sir.rutthed:

Mechsoap:
servers them right for trying to ruin a young medium...

*Facepalm*

/win thread

OT: Good news, but sadly it's only a small victory as far as gaming is concerned.

i did something wrong?

Scde2:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I would say that the PTC should die in a fire, but that would just give them insurance money.

I don't think space debris is under the insurance *thinks*

Do these people actually think themselves justified? Do they honestly believe that they're in the right and we're in the wrong? That they are better than the rest of humanity?

Violence is a part of nature, as is sex, and pissing and crapping. (Drugs and alcohol are debatable) As the Family Guy FCC song says, any 2 year old can tell you that "Everybody Poops" and any 2 year old only exists because a male and a female concieved the child through SEXUAL INTERCOURSE.

If parents care enough to shield their precious children from the obscenities of cable tv and donate to a watchdog group, (which probably consists of nothing more than a bunch of rambling 45 year old women who accomplish nothing and are looking to pronounce their superiority and decency to all their friends (if they have friends)) then they sure as hell should care enough to go to the parental controls on their tv and block certain shows/channels, and if they can't do that, they can use that donation money to pay for a cable package that provides parental controls, or pay for lessons on how to use current-day technology. But we all know that anybody who donates to this group only does so out of ignorance, or for their self esteem and bragging rights.

But seriously, what are these people fighting for? The banning of all shows that involve cursing, sex, potty humor, or violence? Even todays Nickelodian would fail that test.

Somehow I'm not surprised at all about these news. These groups seems to always have plenty of dirt behind them that one can find if one is lucky or persistant.

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