The Parents Television Council has got it out for Fox. It makes sense: The PTC is made up of easily offended people hiding their fear of seeing their values system challenged behind their children. Fox, from its "news" to its entertainment, has been since day one the sleaziest name in network television -- and really, you've got to hand it to them: The network plays both sides of the deck like nobody's business, glad-handing the values crowd on one channel while shattering their monocles with jokes about horse sperm on another. So it's pretty funny when the values crowd gets upset.
The source of today's ire comes from a misdirected complaint about members of the cast of Fox's Glee appearing scantily clad on the cover of GQ, but the PTC apparently isn't all that worried about the magazine upon whose cover the photo resides. Rather, they're pissed at the producers of Glee for allowing it. The best part of the rant, though, was the PTC's overblown rhetoric, courtesy of PTC president Tim Winter:
It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on 'Glee' in this way. It borders on pedophilia.
For one thing, all of the actors in the shoot are in their mid- to late twenties -- and they all look it, too, just like everybody on the Glee cast does. If you think posing people in their twenties in front of lockers in their underwear approaches pedophilia, I invite you to Google "hot teens" and see what comes up.
To be fair, though, he does have a point: "Sadly," he said, "this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment.... We wonder why the show's creators feel the need for such graphic sexualization of women. Interestingly, the photos of the male character showed him wearing a shirt, tie and vest." True enough, it's pretty exploitative.
But Fox has never claimed, except in its news programming, to be a pillar of good taste. In fact, just earlier this year, the PTC had this hilarious complaint about an episode of Family Guy: "Bestiality. Glory holes. Circuit parties. Gay orgies. Eating horse sperm. This is the kind of 'entertainment' Fox thinks is ideal for your kids to see on a Sunday night cartoon."
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The real source of the beef probably goes back a couple of months previous, when a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's indecency policy (calling it "unconstitutionally vague"), which Fox had been gunning for since an indecency censure back in 2003 for remarks made by Cher on its Billboard Awards show. At the time of the ruling, Fox execs said, "We have always felt that the government's position on fleeting expletives was unconstitutional."
The PTC's Winter called the ruling "A slap in the face."
But Fox must not be all bad, of course, in the PTC's eyes -- just ask Brent Bozell, the PTC's founder, who had such a boner for Fox News that he wrote an editorial professing his love for the truth-saying network around the same time the episode of Family Guy was released. Then again, Winter, Bozell's successor and a self-described liberal, has no such attachments.
Apparently, if there's one thing American can get behind in a bipartisan way, it's being offended.