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Advertisers Drop Trash TV

By Editorial Staff
Published May 19, 1989

TUPELO, MS (FR) – Major television networks and advertisers are feeling the pressure of citizens upset over “trash T.V.,” according to the leader of the largest grassroots activist network aimed at decency on the airwaves. ABC recently cancelled two programs, “Crimes of Passion II” and “Scandals II,” while NBC cancelled a made-for-television movie, “The Prize Pulitzer” – because the programs exploited sex and violence in a graphic and brutal way. “It was the first time in the history of television that programs were cancelled because advertisers said ‘no!’” said Rev. Don Wildmon, director of CLEAR-TV (Christian Leaders for Responsible Television).

“The advertisers said no because they were aware that CLEAR-TV was monitoring TV shows during the ‘sweeps’ period. The group of ministers and churches is also planning to announce “a one-year boycott of one or more of the leading sponsors of sex, violence, profanity and anti-Christian stereotyping,” said Rev. Wildmon. The Chrysler Corporation and Sears, Roebuck & Co., pulled spots from NBC’s “Nightingales” series after the American Nurses Association mounted a massive letter-writing campaign against advertisers. The Mennen Company also pulled its commercials from the prime-time show “Thirtysomething.”

NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff told Advertising Age that he was beefing up the network’s broadcast standards operation in response to this trend. “I do think there is a shift in audience taste, and we’d be foolish not to listen to that feedback,” he said.

He explained, “Anytime you experiment or try to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable, you’re going to find sometimes you push too far. We’re not in the business of pushing boundaries. It would be a frivolous enterprise to be pushing the boundaries back when the audience is saying, ‘I can’t watch this with my family because it’s on at 9 p.m. and my 11-year-old is still up.”

According to Advertising Age, the networks may end up paying for their mistakes, while advertisers may rebel against the lenient network programming standards by withholding ad support from certain shows. Some clients are up in arms because of offensive programming.

“There’s going to be some reluctance to commit to any shows that look potentially offensive in any way, and in those shows, the units may go at any price,” said Michael Drexler, executive vice-president of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt in New York.

“The networks have gone too far,” added Paul Isaacson, executive vice-president of Young & Rubicam in New York. “They lost support, but now NBC … the leading network in this, has recognized client attitudes. They recognize they stepped over the line and will step back. This could temper the issue and mean it is hotter right now than it will be.”

Isaacson continued, “The networks also had to do something because the entire industry is colored by the ‘trash TV’ syndrome. It gives TV a bad name, and people are conditioned to be unreceptive.”

NBC’s Tartikoff responded by saying that “problem shows” are going to be the first to feel the squeeze. Advertisers and agencies have stepped up efforts to screen shows. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, among other companies, have asked their agencies to screen the shows more diligently, according to Advertising Age.

“The next three years will be the moment of truth for the Big 3 TV networks,” a Procter & Gamble executive told Advertising Age. “We’ve told networks that no one wants them to succeed more than us – there’s a definite need for a viable national medium. But the quality of programming is holding us back. Believe me, it’s not an issue that’s unique to P&G.”

He also said that Procter & Gamble has found it increasingly difficult to make family-oriented programming buys on network TV. The Ralston Purina Company stopped advertising its Eveready batteries on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” and General Mills pulled its ads because of questionable content in certain skits on the comedy show.

Although some industry executives expect the furor over program content to die down, CLEAR-TV’s Wildmon is planning to announce a boycott either this month or July. He told Advertising Age that the networks have passed the line. “They’ve been pushing it and pushing it, and now there is more disgust than I’ve ever seen. The response rate to our mailings is 35 percent to 40 percent higher than two years ago. It all boils down to programming.”

“There’s been a proliferation of programming coupled with the sort of frantic reaching for more bizarre spectacular or dramatic material to attract viewers,” said Jerry Welsh, president of Welsh Marketing Associates. “It’s been an assault on good taste. There’s a limit and then the backlash, which can be considerable.”


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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

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This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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