Two watchdogs, two reactions


The Parents Television Council has another campaign in the works, this time to protest CBS Network’s Harper’s Island. It finds the murder mystery to be too heavy in the gore department. Meanwhile, another children’s watchdog, Common Sense, merely advises parents of small children to avoid the show.

PTC believes CBS is “desperate” to the sensational in an effort to be “different” and “edgy.” It accuses the network of pushing various buttons – sleaze, innuendo, graphic violence, sex, drug use and other things in an effort to drive ratings.

To its credit, in its campaign against Harper’s Island, PTC did avoid putting together a prefabricated point and click message to send, and is not involving the FCC. Instead, it provided a link to CBS’s own website, where it solicits comments about its programming, asking its members to go there and say whatever is on their mind about any CBS program.

Common Sense is not organizing any protest over the show, but it did review it, saying it was age appropriate for 15 and older. CC said that it “…has a lot in common with big-screen slasher flicks and is only slightly toned down for television. It’s bloody and violent (victims are disemboweled and more), there’s plenty of drinking and sex, and the show has a pervasive feeling of gloom. It’s not meant for younger viewers, and any kids who do watch will likely be scared silly.” It suggests that if the show is going to be tuned in that parents watch and be prepared to discuss it with their teenagers.

RBR/TVBR observation: We much prefer the Common Sense approach, which presumes that adults have a right to television programming as much as children do. That said, PTC is well within its rights to give CBS a piece of its mind. We are pleased that neither group specifically brought up the legality of the content.