CyberAlert -- 06/07/1996 -- Gore & the Unabomber, More Denial, Family-Friendly TV

Gore & the Unabomber, More Denial, Family-Friendly TV

Three items today:

1) Was Al Gore's book found in Ted Kaczynski's cabin? An American Spectator item prompts a Dept. of Justice denial.

2) A network Washington Bureau Chief is baffled by the idea of any liberal bias.

3) The MRC's entertainment division releases its Top Ten list of the least and most family-friendly shows.


In the "On the Prowl" section, the June American Spectator reported: "FBI agents on the scene are telling colleagues they were amused when, while tearing apart the shack of suspected Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, they came upon Al Gore's 1992 eco-tract, Earth in the Balance. Many sections were underlined in pencil, and there were copious notes in the margins. Why wasn't Gore among the handful of titles listed in press references to the 80 or so books found in the cabin? The FBI and Justice Department haven't commented publicly, but some agents assume the title was clearly suppressed to avoid embarrassing Gore."
This week Rush Limbaugh discussed the charge on his show, prompting former NBC News reporter Carl Stern, now Janet Reno's chief flak, to issue a denial. From the June 6 Los Angeles Times: "The Justice Department insists that Gore's book is not among about 200 found by investigators. 'We're at the mercy of any mischief making,' grumbled Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern. 'There is no way to prove what isn't there.'"
It's nice to see Stern squirm from a media report. If only the major

media would show a little interest in pursuing the story.


On Wednesday the MRC announced plans for Media Reality Check '96. The Thursday Washington Post included a story on L. Brent Bozell's press conference. Here's how Post reporter Howard Kurtz described the reaction to the liberal bias charge from a network executive:
"Robin Sproul, ABC's Washington Bureau Chief, called Bozell's charges 'simply not true,' saying her news division includes people 'of all political persuasions' whose only goal is 'fairness.' She added: 'Brent Bozell would be surprised to see all the letters we get from people who think we're too tough on President Clinton, looking at the same product in which he thinks we're too cozy with President Clinton.'"
As you watch ABC, remember the assurance that their "only goal is fairness."


On Thursday, the MRC entertainment division released its list of the least and most family-friendly TV shows. For more information, you can call the MRC's Sandy Crawford, who directed the analysis, at 703-683-9733. What follows is the press release summarizing the findings:

Alexandria, Va. -- Today the Media Research Center (MRC) released its annual findings of the Top 10 Least Family-friendly and the Most Family-friendly shows on prime time television. These lists are based on the 1995-96 season of network prime time entertainment television.

"Prime time entertainment has become more polarized with regard to family-friendly content. While the number of series containing obscenities and gratuitous sex has increased, wholesome family shows, such as Second Noah, Touched By An Angel and Dr. Quinn are on the rise. The most troubling finding is that the majority of prime time television shows airing during the 1995-96 season do not have family-friendly content," stated L. Brent Bozell, III, Chairman of the Media Research Center.

The Top Ten Least Family-friendly shows, in ranking order, follow:

1. Married...With Children (Fox)
The crudest comedy on prime time television, Married routinely ridicules the family. Every week members of the "Bundys" trade insults, celebrate promiscuity, and revel in bathroom humor; this raunchfest's dialogue is peppered with lewd punch lines about sex, masturbation, the gay lifestyle, and the lead character's fondness for pornographic magazines and strip clubs.

2. Friends (NBC)
Friends has not toned down its adult content despite the show's shift to the earlier 8 o'clock hour. Virtually every episode revolves around sexual themes and contains inappropriate language, and each of the six central characters, all single twentysomethings, is sexually active. Additionally, the sitcom promotes gay parenting and same-sex marriages as viable options.

3. Roseanne (ABC)
Like Friends, Roseanne's move to the 8:00 time slot has done little to mitigate the show's content. The series' central characters are openly derisive of their parents; religion and the religious are mocked; foul language is frequent; premarital sex is condoned; and gay marriage is championed.

4. Melrose Place (Fox)
Melrose's randy regulars are constantly in and out of one another's beds, engaging in premarital and extramarital sex. Prime time's sexiest soap also showcases the gay lifestyle, with one gay character gaining a live-in lover this season.

5. A Season in Purgatory (CBS)
Based on a Dominick Dunne novel, Season showcased members of a supposedly devout Catholic family promoting their faith in public while privately engaging in a vast array of premarital and extramarital affairs, rape, murder, and scandalous cover-up schemes.

6. Central Park West (CBS)
One of the most hyped entries on last fall's schedule, CPW condoned premarital sex and adultery, and aired scenes containing foul language and explicitly sexual content. Fortunately, the series was so poorly acted and written that very few viewers tuned in to its sordidness.

7. The Dana Carvey Show (ABC)
The popular comedian shocked viewers and sponsors with obscenity-laden skits and extremely crude content. After many advertisers withdrew their support and ratings began to wane, ABC pulled the show off the air.

8. Cybill (CBS)
Cybill's storylines frequently test the limits. Dialogue is littered with foul language, sexual innuendo, and suggestive scenarios. The sitcom's regulars frequently belittle the institution of marriage and casual sex -- even with teenagers -- is condoned.

9. Beverly Hills, 90210 (Fox)
While one character has steadfastly refused to lose her virginity, other members of 90210's tanned and trendy cast have been more than happy to promote premarital sex as a natural -- and completely inconsequential -- fact of college life. The teen-targeted soap sends mixed messages on drugs: positive characters deride substance abuse, but rarely address the illegality of drug use.

10. Martin (Fox)
The sex lives of the two newlywed protagonists and their single friends serve as fodder for the raunchy humor pervading this sitcom. Most of Martin's episodes contain dialogue fraught with sexual references and obscene language.

The MRC analysts listed the Most Family-friendly shows on prime time which contain wholesome subject matter for viewing by all ages. The Most Family-Friendly Shows for 1995-96:

Touched By an Angel (CBS)
One of CBS' few success stories of the season, Touched By An Angel is the most outspoken proponent of traditional values on the prime time schedule. The inspiring drama showcases God's message of unconditional love, illuminates the power of prayer, and promotes compassion and strengthening family ties.

Second Noah (ABC)

This mid-season replacement about a novelist, his veterinarian wife, and their eight adopted children is one of prime time's most pro-family offerings. Storylines depict respect for parental authority as the key to a strong family unit, and advocate premarital chastity, individual responsibility, and faith.

Kirk (WB)
The cornerstone of WB's family-friendly line-up, every episode of Kirk reiterates the importance of family. The title character, a young man suddenly charged with the upbringing of his three younger siblings, willingly makes many personal sacrifices to ensure that the children are receiving a sound moral upbringing. The show imparts the merits of hard work, faith, patience, and taking responsibility for one's actions.

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (CBS)
Dr. Quinn's promotion of traditional values has endeared it to audiences of all ages. Marriage and family are staunchly promoted, as are honesty, compassion, and respect for parental authority. The drama boasts one of prime time's most positive clerics -- "the Reverend," a series regular, is depicted as an intelligent, caring, and very dedicated member of the community.

Home Improvement (ABC)
This popular sitcom remains a reliable family staple. Focusing primarily on the relationships between a cable TV host, his wife, and their children, Home Improvement has taught valuable lessons about teenage drinking, honesty, respect and the importance of education. One of prime time's foremost advocates of the institution of marriage, the show frequently addresses the challenges faced by thehusband and wife and the steps they take toward strengthening their relationship.

Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman (ABC)
Lois & Clark abandoned the suggestive dialogue and sexual references of its 1993-94 inaugural season, and, in the words of series star Teri Hatcher, is now "the family show to watch." The show's cleverly scripted storylines prove that television needn't appeal to the lowest common denominator to provide quality entertainment: dialogue and fast-paced action sequences are free of offensive language and sexual innuendo, and the newly-engaged protagonists promote premarital chastity.

The Parent 'Hood (WB)
Another winning offering from WB, The Parent 'Hood's central characters provide positive role models for viewers of all ages. The happily-married African-American couple, both successful professionals, teach their children that education, self-discipline and integrity are keys to success. The positive impact of a father in the household, family loyalty, and postponing sex until marriage is also underscored.

END of press release.

That's all until next week.

-- Brent Baker