Friday, April 30, 2004

ABC controversy

Expecting a post on the efforts to change the alphabetic order of, well, the alphabet, by a precocious 2-year old? Sorry, maybe next time. The ABC referred to in the title is the ABC television network. They've managed to have quite a controversial lineup on tap for your Friday night viewing this evening.

First, I'll briefly note that Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of television stations in the US, has ordered its ABC affiliates not to air tonight's broadcast of Nightline. Why? Because Ted Koppel is going to be reading the names of all the American servicemen and women killed in Iraq. Photos of each soldier will also be shown as their name is read. According to the Washington Post (free registration may be required), Sinclair feels that without ABC News providing more of a context to the deaths, Koppel's "motivation is to focus... public opinion toward the United States getting out of Iraq." Excuse me?

Regardless of whether you favored the war or opposed it, seems to me that the show is going to be a powerful reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by the brave men and women serving our country in Iraq. Yet some corporate bigwigs have decided that the reading of those names could be construed as a negative commentary on our nation's current policies and therefore should be banned from the airwaves! Look, the public is not stupid! We owe it to the fallen to take responsibility for our actions and not forget that there is a price to be paid when our nation goes to war, for good or ill. We are capable of drawing our own conculsions, thank you very much!

The Daily Yak joins Senator John McCain in denouncing Sinclair's actions. As McCain says, "it is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves." Well said, Senator!

Now, as if that wasn't enough controversy for one night, ABC's 20/20 news magazine is airing a segment tonight on adoption. Here's the teaser from their website:

"Imagine five couples vying for the same unborn baby. Then imagine the mother of the baby, a teenager, trying to decide which couple should raise her child. What if there were a round of interviews, in which each of the five couples would try to convince the teenager they are the best parents?"

My wife and I were both incredulous when we saw a promo for the show this past Sunday. Sounds like they've turned adoption into a reality game show or something (New, from Mark Burnett and Donald Trump: a teenage mother, a baby, 5 couples compete... but only one will become, The Parents! Tune in tonight to see who gets fired!). Yeah, let's see if we can sensationalize the adoption experience and exploit the mother, the child and the prospective parents all at the same time. I'm sure it will help the ratings!

The network insists that they're just documenting the open adoption process. I don't know; maybe I'm a bit cynical. I guess we'll find out tonight.

So, if any of you loyal Daily Yak readers watch 20/20 or Nightline tonight, let us know what you think (click on the "comment" link below).

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