ERIC Number: ED253904
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Pressures on TV Programs: Coalition for Better Television's Case.
Shipman, John M., Jr.
In 1981, the conservative Coalition for Better Television (CBTV) threatened an economic boycott against advertisers who marketed their wares on programs that the coalition felt had excessive sex and violence. Because television networks are dependent on advertising, the coalition believed economic pressure on advertisers would force a corresponding pressure by the advertisers on the networks to alter their programing. Networks would naturally succumb to the pressure since they could ill-afford to lose top advertisers. The boycott threat was criticized for three reasons: (1) it amounted to censorship, since advertisement involves speech; (2) it affected innocent bystanders, such as employees of the products advertised; and (3) it precluded the right of television audiences to view what they choose. Although the threatened boycott never materialized, there is evidence that sponsors and networks were very aware of the coalition, and had voluntarily made efforts to reduce objectionable programing, making the boycott unnecessary. Some observers saw the coalition's influence in later programing, although networks would not admit the coalition had forced a change in their 1981 fall schedule. Shortly thereafter, the coalition threatened a second boycott against the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and its subsidiaries, one of which was the NBC network. Although this boycott did materialize, it did not enjoy the support of the Moral Majority and other conservative groups and had little effect. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.