ABC Becomes Pawn of Religious Right

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Oct 022005
 

I have learned from an article on Daily Kos that on tonight’s episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, will be an extended advertisement for James Dobson’s group, Focus On The Family. Dont’ believe me, read the article at the FotF website.

Combined with the fact that they have recently filmed an episode in Mississippi featuring First Lady Laura Bush, I can only come to the conclusion that ABC is going out of their way to get in the good graces of the wingnuts of the religious right. They are certainly entitled to go after whatever niche market they chose, but I hope you will join me in contacting them and letting them know you will not be part of the market segment they are clearly going after.

Remember, its not just these two episodes of this particular show. This network refused to accept for airing the paid advertisement from the United Church of Christ, and ran the revisionist history 20/20 episode that attempted to re-write the story of Matthew Shepherd’s death as being about drugs and sympathetic murders. And there was the segment on "The View" in which they gave extended interviews to participants in Exodus, and did not present any rebuttal, no pro-gay speaker, no counterpoint to the lies and false statistics their guests provided.

Given all of this, I’m asking that each of you join me in contacting one or more of the following:

  • The show’s host, Ty Pennington via his website;
  • The show’s producer, Endemol USA, 9255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, CA 90069, Telephone: +1 310 860 9914 Fax: +1 310 860 1417, E-mail: Tina.Hoover@endemolusa.tv Management: David Goldberg, President;
  • ABC, ABC Media Relations: Alison Rou (818) 460- 7798 Email: alison.rou@abc.com
  • The show’s primary advertiser, Sears (you should note that Sears reached a plea arrangement in the Tom Delay related case of providing illegal campaign contributions) Alwyn Lewis, CEO, Sears Corp., 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60179, (847) 286-2500.

I sent a message via Ty Pennington’s website, and sent the following email to ABC. I will send a similar letter to Sears.

I have enjoyed many episodes of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. As a resident of Tampa, I was especially impressed with the work done for a deserving family here in the Tampa Bay area. On top of that, who wouldn’t enjoy the sense of humor and resulting antics of the show’s host, Ty Pennington.
 
However, it has become obvious that ABC and the show’s producers have elected to use the show as the new launching pad for resurrecting damaged Republican Administrations and most especially for showcasing hate groups.
 
I refer specifically to the episode I understand is to be aired this evening, which works to give extensive exposure to the group, "Focus On The Family." In short, James Dobson and his organization are an extremist group that spews hate speech, and encourages division and bigotry. Part of his organization practices discredited "reparative therapy" that the mainstream psychological organizations agree is extremely harmful to those that receive it.
 
Dobson, let’s remember, is the man who has attacked "Sponge Bob Square pants" as part of campaign to discredit an educational program that taught tolerance. He has called judges "godless" and "liberal" when he disagreed with their opinions, and has gone on to say:
 
"The courts are killing us. Not only with regard to Terri Schiavo, where they literally did kill a person, but what they’re doing to democracy. … And unless the Congress steps up with the nominations by the president and puts people on the court who have respect for the Constitution as it was written, we will no longer be a free people."
 
He’s called himself "Prophetic," and in an August 3rd radio show, he compared stem cell research to Nazi experimentation. This is, unfortunately, but a small sample of his dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric.
 
This is the leader of an organization to which you giving quarter, and it is a frightening organization led by despot that would destroy American democracy in favor of theocracy. Since ABC is providing support to this organization, I must deduce that you support their positions.
 
I have also learned that the White House has managed to engage you in helping the current administration rehabilitate it’s flagging image, in that you are providing an extended photo opportunity for the First Lady in a recently episode in Mississippi.
 
Given the new politicization of this show, I will no longer be a viewer, and I will notify the advertisers, Sears in particular, of my decision to not only abstain from watching the show, but shopping at their stores.
 
Sincerely yours,
John Masters