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Is Intimidation A Traditional Value?

A conservative group with a ConWeb mouthpiece wants to boycott Nickelodeon for a show that hasn't appeared on TV yet.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/10/2002

The Traditional Values Coalition -- and one of the traditional values the coalition believes in is intimidation, as demonstrated by its attempt earlier this year to smear and scare National Public Radio out of reporting something because it didn't like the way the interview went -- is going the prior-restraint route again. And, like before, is acting as its mouthpiece.

This time, the target is the Nickelodeon kids' cable TV channel. The offense, according to a June 4 CNS story: "Promoting the homosexual agenda on a popular kids' television program." As it does in most cases, accusations of "promoting the homosexual agenda" usually means not virulently condemning the homosexual "agenda," whatever that is.

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More accurately, the network's "Nick News" program is apparently working on an episode on "diversity and tolerance," according to Nickelodeon. Network officials have admitted little beyond this.

But Andrea Lafferty, TVC executive director, claims "insiders" have told her that Rosie O'Donnell, who recently declared her homosexuality, will be the only adult on the set of the program, in which children will allegedly be asked "if they think homosexuality is morally wrong and whether they believe laws are needed to protect homosexuals from discrimination," the article states.

"What kind of pro-homosexual message will she be giving these children?" Lafferty is quoted as asking. "Where's the balance? Why not invite Dr. Laura on the show?"

Lafferty also accuses Nickelodeon of working with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination. "GLAAD's whole purpose for existence is to push positive portrayals of homosexuality in the media," she said. It would seem that TVC's sole purpose for existence is to push negative portrayals of homosexuality in the media.

The story also notes that "Nick News" is produced by Linda Ellerbee, "a long-time supporter of homosexual causes, according to the TVC."

A Nickelodeon spokesman, meanwhile, says TVC's claims "are unfounded if not misguided. "The program has not even been taped yet, he said, and "any presumption of its content is premature. In the tradition of Nick News, the content will be totally age appropriate for our viewers."

This article generated the expected Pavlovian response in CNS' readers, as a story the next day details: "According to a poll conducted by on June 4-5, 99 percent of 15,227 people responding did not believe it was appropriate for the kid's channel Nickelodeon to air a show about homosexuality." The article also promotes O'Donnell to "lesbian activist."

Also quoted in the article are some of the people who responded to the poll who promised to boycott Nickelodeon if the program is aired -- never mind that they nor anyone else who responded to the poll nor anyone at the Traditional Values Coalition know the actual content of the program. One statement begins: "I don't feel it is up to us to judge homosexuality, but..." Another begins, "I'm not homophobic or anything, but..." You can probably figure out the rest.

And a June 7 story details conflicting statements by Lafferty and an advertiser on the channel over whether the program might run without commercials to placate controversy-averse advertisers.

As it was during the NPR brouhaha, the press releases on the TVC web site are more revealing, if not more vicious, than the CNS stories, with Lafferty, for instance, making a giant logical leap in claiming that "Nickelodeon has crossed over a line from being a children’s network that parents could trust, to an activist organization for the promoting of homosexuality."

Again, never mind that Lafferty has no knowledge whatsoever of the exact content of the program she is criticizing. She's just dragging out a conservative bogeyman and working on the flawed assumption that if you're explicitly and repeatedly condemning homosexuality, you're "promoting" it. And CNS, for its trouble, gets a little red meat for its readers. Like TVC, they have an agenda, too.

... Meanwhile, over at NewsMax, Richard Poe is upset about an attempt to take conservative talk radio host Michael Savage off the air in Portland, Ore. "An unholy alliance of leftists, Democrats and Muslims is trying to muzzle talk radio," Poe writes. "Their weapons are advertiser boycotts, smear campaigns..."

Poe also criticizes the alleged "rank hypocrisy of the (Portland anti-Savage group) Coalition Against Hate Radio, its fellow travelers and its spiritual role models, the Clintons – people who will stop at nothing – absolutely nothing – to silence any opposing voice."

Since the TVC is uses many of the same tactics as the Coalition Against Hate Radio, is Andrea Lafferty a "fellow traveler," too? Apparently, boycotts and smear campaigns are bad only when they're used against conservatives. Unlike Lafferty, at least the people unhappy with Michael Savage have specific statements to attack.

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