Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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ABC Rejects UCC Ads during "Supernanny"


From Max Blumenthal's blog (click for inline links):

1 May, 2005

ABC to Run Focus on the Family Ads During Prime Time , Rejected Ads from United Church of Christ Last Year

During today's season finale of ABC's schlocky reality show, "Supernanny," James Dobson's Focus on the Family will be running ads promoting its "Focus on Your Child" program, which advises parents on how to implement the parenting principles outlined in his best-seller, "Dare to Discipline." These include spanking with "sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." Children have to be taught respect for authority at an early age, Dobson preaches, or they'll never develop respect for governmental authority or God.

Dobson's theory on corporal punishment reveals the political underside of his self-help work. The ads Focus on the Family will run are seemingly innocuous offerings of assistance to parents who, like the heroic nanny depicted in ABC's show, need techniques for pacifying "strong-willed" children. As Focus's president, Jim Daly said in Focus's newsletter,

"The show was all about Focus on the Family principles. It was boundaries and using the time-out chair, respect for authority and good parenting skills.”

Once parents bite Focus's bait and join up, they may learn some valuable techniques for improving their relationship with their children. At the same time, they will become immersed in the subculture of the Christian right, where they will meet Macho Jesus and the gay/pedophile deviants who are out to destroy the very fabric of their marriage. Family counseling is merely the net Dobson casts to bring folks on board with his political agenda.

Focus's ad buy is its first in prime time TV. It has ostensibly purchased the ads through its 501 c-3, the self-help component of its organization, so it can claim legally that the ads are not political. But they are, and it's absurd to say they're not. On his radio show, Dobson shamelessly begs for money for his 501 c-4, Focus on the Family Action, his organization's political arm. FOF Action is the entity which collaborated with the Family Research Council to bring us the memorable event known as "Justice Sunday," where Dobson blamed the Supreme Court for "the worst Holocaust in human history." Given that the political and family components of Dobson's empire are so indistinguishable, I think it would be appropriate and necessary to file a complaint with the FCC over Focus's insidious ad buy.

Furthermore, ABC's accomodation of Focus smacks of hypocrisy. Last winter, ABC's broadcast network refused to an ad by the United Church of Christ promoting its inclusive policy to gays and other groups explicity forbidden from belonging to churches under the ideological sway of Dobson and his ilk. According to the United Methodist News Network on 12/06/04,"ABC said it would air the advertisement on its ABC Family cable channel but not on its broadcast network." ABC stifled the speech of a group which promotes inclusiveness and diversity, while enabling an organization led by a man who told the Daily Oklahoman on 10/23/04, "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth." What am I missing?

FCC Contact Information
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)
TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
Fax: 1-866-418-0232
E-mail: fccinfo@fcc.gov

(FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was hand-picked by the National Religious Broadcasters, the Christian right's broadcast lobby to which Dobson belongs. “During my tenure as president of NRB, I have developed enormous respect for the intellect, character, integrity and clear-headed thinking of Mr. Martin," NRB chairman Frank Wright said of Martin after his selection.)

Correction: I had mistakenly referred to United Church of Christ as The National Council of Churches.

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