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TV Watch Extends Olive Branch To PTC

The network-backed(CBS, Fox and NBC) TV Watch, which is an online effort to promote parental control of content over FCC regulation, has extended an olive branch of sorts to the Parents Television Council, which is the highest-profile pusher for more FCC control over content.

The opportunity presented itself with the announcement last week that Brent Bozell will be stepping down as president, replaced by Tim Winters, who worked at NBC for years.

In a fax to Winters dated Sept. 8, TV Watch President Jim Dyke said: "While I strongly disagree with the PTC’s efforts to use government to impose its own viewing preferences on American TV audiences, I believe that the members of PTC and TV Watch do share some important common ground."

Dyke said that included that many shows aren't appropriate--or intended--for kids, that parents cannot monitor every moment of TV viewing, and that they should be encouraged to use parental-control technologies.

Dyke also used the opportunity to put in a plug for CBS' 9/11 documentary, which has come under fire for profanities the network isn't editing out.

"I hope you will also agree that there are dangerous, if unintended, consequences to increased government influence in what’s on TV," Dyke wrote.

"This weekend, that influence will directly affect millions of Americans when dozens (so far) of CBS affiliates refuse to air the seminal documentary 9/11.

"I will not address the quality of this or any other program for the same reason that government should not: because the choice about whether or not to see it belongs to individual Americans."

While the American Family Association, the other major indecency complainer besides PTC, has complained about the show's unedited profanities, PTC has not.

"When it comes to helping parents make smart decisions about what’s right for their families," said Dyke, "we can share a common cause even if we do not agree on the government’s role in determining what all Americans can watch on TV."