Irresponsible TLC, Promoting Ignorance and Fraud

She’s funny, she’s wacky, she’s setting stupid people up to be scammed.

Public ignorance and stupidity costs the nation billions of dollars, kills untold people in the hundreds of thousands, vastly increases crime and unemployment, and generally makes life far less productive, safe and enjoyable for the minority that are not ignorant and stupid, as well as for those who are. Among the most unethical and despicable among us are those who profit from the ignorance of others, and who either plot to keep them that way, or who exploit their dimness for profit. These deplorable exploiters include politicians, advertisers and merchandisers, religious groups and cults, as well as single-issue advocates on a wide range of issues. There should be an especially unpleasant corner in Hell, however, for an organization that does this under the guise of “The Learning Channel.”

The Learning Channel has already established its fondness for either making “entertainment” out of child abuse, as in its execrable reality shows, “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” or exploiting child labor, as with the “Jon & Kate plus Eight” franchise. But its “Long Island Medium” show is especially vile, as it prepares gullible fools for manipulation and fleecing by charlatans who claim to be able to contact the dead, read minds, or foresee the future. “Theresa is a typical Long Island mom who has a very special gift. She talks to the dead.,” TLC tells us on its website. Elsewhere, it describes Theresa Caputo as a “real psychic.” These are lies. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association”

Proam comments on boycotts, in today’s Comment of the Day regarding the post, Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association:

“Unless I am mistaken, The American Family Association (AFA) has a long-running and ongoing boycott call against the other large hardware chain, Home Depot, stemming from the corporation’s continued kindness toward persons whose sexual practices are objectionable to AFA. To my knowledge, Home Depot has not caved. I don’t know whether the AFA-led boycott has had any effect on Home Depot’s business. I wonder if Lowe’s examined Home Depot’s situation prior to its decision – if it’s even relevant.

“Over time, I have become a much more selective and reluctant boycott-joiner. I would like to think that any boycott I might join would be so justified, so humanitarian, so economically and morally and ethically correct, that even the collateral damages and unintended consequences would be tolerably recoverable, or “for the best in the long run” – but I know I’m dreaming. A boycott just seems more and more to me like a “nuclear option” a la Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One day I may feel I have no other option, but then, I will know ahead of time that abiding by it (a boycott) won’t soothe me any more than having never taken part in it, even if I ‘win’.”

Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: California State Senator Ted Lieu

Sen. Lieu wants Lowe's to see things his way...or else.

In what is beginning to look like a full-blown ethics train wreck, the Florida Family Association’s attack on TLC’s “All-American Muslim” reality show has claimed its first victim among the show’s defenders: California State Senator Ted Lieu, a Democrat. The incident inspired him to out himself as a Constitutionally ignorant bully who can’t be trusted with legislative power. Thanks, Florida Family Association!

This was only after Lowe’s, the lumber, hardware, garden supply chain, outed itself as a sniveling confederacy of unprincipled cowards by caving to the FFA’s boycott threat, a threat motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry and nothing else. Lowe’s pulled its sponsorship of the show, muttering nonsense about how the show was controversial and how such controversies should be left to communities to hash out, which was a non sequitur and offensive, as it suggested that whether or not bigotry is acceptable in America is a valid debate topic, and that Lowe’s has no opinion on the matter. How refreshing it would be if a company like Lowe’s, capitulating to a boycott threat, came right out and said, Continue reading

Unethical Website of the Month: The Florida Family Association

"Hey, wait---where are the terrorists?"

Organized bigotry is un-American, and organized bigotry under the banner of American values is misrepresentation. That’s what can be found on the Florida Family Association website here, as it simultaneously engages in several of Ethics Alarms’ most deplored conduct: bias, dishonestly accusing others of bias, bullying, boycotting, and worst of all having success at bullying and boycotting. I suppose I should add to that list making its readers stupid, because its arguments will do that too.

The Florida Family Association is offended by The Learning Channel’s latest reality show, “All-American Muslim,” which shows American citizens who happen to be Muslims pretty much living, acting and sounding like you and me, except when they are practicing their religion. I think it is, unlike most TLC series, an excellent idea. American attitudes toward  Muslims since September 11, 2001 are substantially based on ignorance, the kissing cousin of bigotry and the mother of fear. Learning more about American Muslims can only be beneficial to all, but The Florida Family Association views the program as a plot:

“The Learning Channel’s new show ‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.  The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.” Continue reading

Guest Commentary: “When Children Work; A Dialogue”

By Paul Petersen

[Paul Petersen is the founder and president of A Minor Consideration, a non-profit advocacy group that seeks to protect the welfare of juvenile performers. Mr. Petersen was a prominent child star himself, most famously as “Jeff Stone” on the long-running TV comedy, “The Donna Reed Show.” The following commentary, also posted on his website, is inspired by the hearings this week on proposed child labor legislation in Pennsylvania, where “Jon & Kate Plus 8” was filmed. The legislation proposed  by State Representative Tom Murt defines reality television and would require all minors to have work permits issued by the state Department of Labor and Industry to ensure all adequate provisions have been made for the minor’s educational instruction, supervision, health and welfare. The bill also provides that minors can only work between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and sets guidelines for the amount of hours, work, recreation, school and activities per day. A certified teacher would be required on the set of any production to monitor working conditions, and the bill would require 15 % of a child actor’s gross earning be set aside by the employer in a trust.]

Imagine if your boss unilaterally declared that your time spent in a commercial workplace wasn’t work at all but merely “participation.” That might be said of the drug store cat, or a barnyard animal, but to say that about a living, breathing, conscious human being passes all understanding. Yet that is precisely the position taken by reality show Producers and the Networks that broadcast commercial products called “reality shows” that feature children. Continue reading

The Ethics Of Ending Public Broadcasting

The seeming inability of elected officials and politicians to deal with basic decisions involving responsibility, prudence, accountability and honesty is coming into sharp focus as yet another debate over taxpayer-funded public broadcasting on PBS and NPR gets underway.

Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn has introduced legislation that would cut all federal funding, an estimated annual $420 million, for public radio and television as part of the necessary effort to close the nation’s more than $13 trillion debt. As one of thousands of measures that will have to be taken to stave of fiscal catastrophe in the future, the move is truly a no-brainer, an example of the standard budget-balancing strategy of eliminating the most non-essential expenses, no matter how nice it may have been to have them when resources were more plentiful. In a rational, ethical environment where politicians didn’t regard their interest group contributors as more important than the welfare of the nation as a whole, Lamborn’s proposal wouldn’t be considered controversial. The rational response from all would be, “Well, of course! That’s $420 million that can be better used.”

But no. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Learning Channel, and Us

Remember “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” the late, unlamented TLC cable hit that managed to  destroy the Gosselin family, turn a mother of eight young children into a single mom, and raise troubling questions about child labor and the exploitation of kids by the entertainment industry? Apparently the only thing the Learning Channel remembers about it is all the money the channel made from the show, because it has recruited yet another family to exploit and destroy. Continue reading