Report Chronicles Indecency Watchdog's Financial Woes, Waning Influence
October 25, 2010 at 5:37 AM (PT)
The organization responsible for much of the anti-indecency complaints to the FCC is the focus of a piece in the NEW YORK TIMES' SUNDAY editions, and the article says that the PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL has hit some hard times with financial troubles and waning influence.
In the article by BROOKS BARNES, the PTC is described as "damaged, defanged by court challenges to the FCC's hard-line position, by its own dwindling finances and by internal troubles that resulted in its accusing a former senior employee of extortion. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry -- once so afraid of the council's wrath that FOX blurred the naked behind of an animated character -- is pushing the boundaries of taste with renewed intensity."
"Advertisers still fear the Parents Television Council, but not as much as they used to," UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA professor and former media buying executive JOHN RASH told the TIMES. "It's hard for the council to stir up indignation about cultural issues at a time of economic woe."
The TIMES notes the PTC's revenue drop as falling 26% in 2009 to $2.9 million, and says that the organization lost almost $1 million in 2008. In addition, the report claims that internal documents show that the group, which raises money by soliciting donations along with complaint petitions against indecent programming, allegedly was opening envelopes for a period of "some months," taking the donations, and skipping the forwarding of the petitions to the FCC.
Former PTC VP/Development PATRICK W. SALAZAR, now a critic of the group, wrote in a 2009 e-mail to PTC Pres. TIM WINTER that "(a)lmost 195,000 pieces of donor/member mail was never sent to the intended recipient," and after a later e-mail repeating the problem, WINTER responded, "Dude, I told you I was working on fulfillment. It is under control."
WINTER said that the backlog had gotten too large and old to be of any value, and says the group is now caught up; The PTC has alleged that SALAZAR has trued to extort the group by threatening to go to the media with reports of the group's dysfunction, but the LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, which investigated SALAZAR at the PTC's request, found no crime. SALAZAR said he did ask the council to pay him to go away, but denied that the request constituted extortion.
"The downturn had a huge impact, but I feel we've turned a corner," WINTER asserted. "We're not out of the woods, but we are told all the time that we are the beacon of light out there. Families rely greatly on our work."
Read the article by clicking here.