Monday, November 24, 2008

NFL should prohibit indecent commercials

I'm glad to find this article on the Accuracy in Media website. As Democrats we need to fight for standards in the private sector. If they refuse then we should look into federal legislation. We need to ensure that children and families watching together can be comfortable watching "G" rated programs, rather than fearing what/when innapporiate commercials and promotions for other shows will appear.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!


Campaign to Prohibit Indecent Commercials during Games

A few months ago, I wrote an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to please help "raise the standard and do what [he] can to eliminate the indecent content aired during NFL games." As you may remember, my original letter pointed to the sad fact that a number of advertisements and network promotional spots that are aired during NFL game breaks are completely inappropriate -- especially for the younger members of the viewing audience. The fact is, far too many of these ads are indecent and/or sexually suggestive. With more than half the season behind us now, I am again openly appealing to Commissioner Goodell: please consider your entire fan base when licensing your programs to television networks. Here are just a few examples of indecent commercials that have aired on the FOX and CBS networks during NFL game broadcasts:
• Most recently, on November 25th, during the New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings game, FOX aired a promotional spot for its adult cartoon, "Family Guy." This promo showed an overweight adult male animated character doing a strip tease, subjecting viewers to a virtually naked cartoon character. Ironically, the voiceover announcement at the end of this promo warns that "viewer discretion is advised." It is also interesting to note that "Family Guy" is rated TV-14 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) for intense violence, intense sexual situations, strong coarse language, or intensely suggestive dialogue.
• On September 16th, CBS aired the Chicago Bears vs. Kansas City Chiefs game. During this broadcast, CBS ran an advertisement for an R-rated movie called "Good Luck Chuck." This 15 second spot included two separate incidents where two different men are hit in the groin, three sexual situations, a scene with a woman's skirt being ripped away - and a close up of her bikini area as she stands, embarrassed, in her underwear.
• On September 9th, FOX broadcast the season opener of the Chicago Bears vs. San Diego Chargers. During the game, FOX aired a promo for the season premier of their program "'Til Death." The discussion in this promo centered on a woman's cleavage. Ironically, the clip used to promote this program has the husband complaining about his wife's exposure saying, "I've noticed that it is hard for people to focus when having a conversation with you, what with the two bald-headed gentlemen struggling to get out of your chest." He also points directly at her breasts and says, "Let's talk about Mt. Inappropriate." [Click
HERE to view actual footage of the latter two examples. **Not recommended**]
I have to hope that Commissioner Goodell agrees that the NFL brand is too important to allow it to be continually associated with this type of pornographic and trashy material. There is no reason for the NFL to allow this type of sleaze to be marketed to its audience -- an audience that includes fathers, mothers, and children. Many parents to whom I've spoken agree; in order to protect their children from indecent commercial content, it is absolutely necessary to keep the remote control in hand while watching the game. Unfortunately, parents need to remain vigilant -- standing ready to switch stations during game breaks in an effort to avoid the tasteless and irresponsible commercials that are inevitably broadcast during many NFL games. While the demographics of NFL games are certainly highest among young and middle-aged males, it would be foolish to discount the fact that many men would rather not be subjected to these types of adolescent commercials that feature sexual situations and soft porn. It is understandable that beer and cars are the two most frequently advertised products during NFL games, yet the vast majority of these commercials do not cross the indecency line. Half of the ads seem to be tied in some way to football, showing images of people watching games, or satires of referees. Moreover, many NFL fans are fathers who enjoy watching games with their children. These children are the NFL's potential future fan base. Ensuring that NFL broadcasts are devoid of indecent commercial content would likely enhance the number of younger fans in the audience, and it may even foster a new following among moms and dads. One thing I'm fairly confident of: A lack of inappropriate advertising certainly wouldn't hurt the NFL's key demographics. So why not pursue the family-friendly standard? The appeal is simple: Commissioner Goodell and the NFL should require television networks that broadcast NFL games to choose responsible sponsors and promotional spots that will not alienate families with young children in the audience. By doing this, the NFL can assure mothers and fathers all across the country that they will be able to enjoy NFL games with their children without having to worry about when the next visual assault will be broadcast.

Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff.

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