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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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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

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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.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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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.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

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.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

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