LOS ANGELES—The Parents Television Council (PTC) is teaming with some other icky groups in calling on Comcast to reveal exactly how much revenue it makes from adult content. PTC’s BFFs include American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Citizens for Community Values, Reclaim our Culture Kentuckiana and the Coalition for Marriage and Family.
This coalition of the intolerant believes that by calling attention to the fact that Comcast provides adult content on a pay-per-basis to adults in their own homes, the ensuing controversy could derail the company’s planned merger with NBC-Universal. Comcast, of course, is hardly alone in providing those services—TimeWarner, Dish Network and DIRECTV do, as well.
But it is Comcast that is angling to partner its way into becoming one of the largest digital media companies in the world, and that fact has obviously lit a fire under the pornography-obsessed groups now calling for an audit. The rhetoric being used to force Comcast’s hand is itself reaching dramatic heights.
"Comcast is one of the most far-reaching distributors of pornography in the communities it serves, raising serious questions about whether the company meets the character and public interest obligations required of each company that holds a broadcast license,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “As if competition and consumer choice issues that would inevitably be created by the Comcast-NBCU behemoth aren’t enough, this issue is yet another reason why the merger must be carefully scrutinized by the FCC.”
Adding incomprehensible reasoning to his call for the government for force Comcast to forgo its constitutional right to distribute legal content, Winter continued, “The Commission should move swiftly to impose a condition on the merger that Comcast make its profits on adult entertainment public. It should also force Comcast to stipulate that it absolutely will not use the public airwaves to distribute pornographic material. Without such conditions, the Commission should not approve a transaction which transfers so many broadcast licenses. The public interest demands no less.”
Those are fighting words, indeed, for anyone who cares about the integrity of the First Amendment, the provisions of which should matter to these presumably conservative ideologues who use every opportunity to rail about the disintegration of the Constitution. (As if they had any fidelity to the founding ideals of this country other than how those conflate with their narrow beliefs.)
These are the same people who think all porn sites are illegal, and all porn is inherently obscene. These are the same people who support the new Texas GOP platform, and believe that gays should either go back into the closet or into prison.
Of course, it’s no wonder that PTC would take such a strident and irrational position, considering the fact that its advisory board contains such free speech luminaries as Pat Trueman, Robert Peters, William Bennett and Senator Sam Brownback.
There are plenty of reasons to oppose the Comcast/NBC merger, but the fact that one of the parties provides pay-per-view adult content is hardly one of them.