by: Fritz Capp
by : Fritz Capp
November 27, 1999
PWBTS 2000 - http://pwbts.com
Wrestling Fans Against Censorship - firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to admit I am totally amazed right now. As I sit here at my computer thinking about everything that I want to say this week thoughts keep coming back as to what is actually going on in wrestling and I am absolutely dumbfounded that more people are not offended by it.
I guess complacency is even true in wrestling. But this past week the top dog in wrestling the World Wrestling Federation, after weeks of being slammed by a group who calls themselves the Parent Television Council, made an albeit subtle but impassioned plea to it's wrestling fans to contact their sponsors and to let those sponsors know how much that they appreciate them adverting on the WWF's programming, in this instance the WWF's Smackdown broadcast which runs every Thursday night at 8 PM on UPN.
I guess some people think this is nothing to be concerned about. But let's look at the sponsorship that the WWF has lost because of the campaign that the Parent Television Council has been waging against them for the past 3 months.
Coca-Cola and Diet Coke
International Home Foods Inc (Chef-Boy-Ardee)
The United States Army
The United States Air Force
General Motors Cars/Trucks/ Financial Services
Those are not sponsors that you want to lose is it? Is this the kind of thing that wrestling fans do not need to worry about? If you do not feel you do then you are living in a self induced fantasy world.
But to understand exactly what is happening and how to combat it you must first understand the person causing the fuss. That man is one L.Brent Bozell III. Haven't heard of him? Well if you are a Howard Stern fan you have. This is the same person and group who attacked Stern's Saturday night show.
If you do listen to Howard with some regularity then you will remember a while back when Howard was asking his listeners to contact his sponsors to let them know that they are well supported. But that isn't always enough is it? Howard lost a lot of television stations due to the PTC intervention. In fact, there for awhile Howard was losing stations every week. This can also happen to the WWF if they are not careful. Another fact is that this could happen to each and every wrestling broadcast out there today.
You see L.Brent Bozell III founded the Media Research Center in April 1987 and serves as its chairman of the board. Bozell is the publisher of the center's monthly media newsletter MediaWatch, its biweekly Notable Quotables and TV, Etc., the bimonthly review of the entertainment industry.
In August 1990, the Media Research Center published And That's the Way It Is(n't): A Reference Guide to Media Bias, which provides the most thorough media analysis ever compiled and establishes the liberal political slant of the national press. The center has also issued The Revolving Door: The Connections between the Media and Politics, an in-depth scrutiny of the political backgrounds of today's journalists.
In addition, Bozell is the executive director of the Conservative Victory Committee, an independent multi-candidate political action committee dedicated to electing conservative candidates to every level of public office. In its first year, 1988, the Conservative Victory Committee raised over $1 million in support of candidates and causes.
In 1990, it was the second largest conservative PAC in America. Bozell also founded and serves as the chairman of the board of the World Freedom Foundation, dedicated to promoting the cause of freedom worldwide. In 1989, he organized its Bipartisan Commission of Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua.
Before founding these organizations, Bozell was the chairman of the board and president of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Concurrently, he acted as executive director of the National Conservative Foundation, which under his direction grew into a multimillion dollar enterprise devoted to the promotion of the conservative philosophy nationwide.
Bozell has extensive print and electronic media experience. A nationally syndicated columnist, he has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines throughout the country, including: The Wall Street Journal, The Detroit News, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times, The Manchester Union-Leader (N.H.), The Orange County Register (Calif.) and The National Review. He has appeared on numerous talk shows, including CNN's "Crossfire," "Entertainment Tonight" and C-Span.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1955, Bozell is a graduate of the University of Dallas at Irving, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in history. He resides with his wife, Norma, and their four children in Alexandria, Va.
Quite an impressive portfolio wouldn't you say? In fact I would say it safe to venture a guess that this man, along with his companies and contacts, could just about take on anyone with a relative amount of certainty that he would have some form of victory.
This is happening right now with the WWF. The WWF has already rated itself and if you noticed on this past Smackdown even censored itself a bit. This shows one thing, Vince McMahon takes this as a serious attack and threat, one that may even cost him a time slot or two.
Now I am not inside the WWF's legal department but I am sure that the WWF and UPN have a contract which binds the two together for a specific period of time. But what happens after that contract is up? At that time UPN would have the option not to renew with the WWF. While it is true that the WWF has put UPN on the perverbial map that does not mean that UPN will carry the show. That will all depend on whether or not they succumb to the pressure of the PTC and Media Research. Believe me, they can extoll a lot of pressure on someone to see things their way. This is done through letter writing and phone call campaigns that are sponsored by Media Research and the PTC. They like most corporations have a devout following who believe they it is up to them to help out in whatever these people want them to help out in.
Now I personally have no problem what-so-ever with people voicing their opinion. That is guaranteed under our Constitution. I believe you would find it under the heading of Freedom Of Speech. For that I support even Media Research and the Parent Television Council. Everyone has the right to voice their own opinion. But no one and I mean no one has the right to try to force their own personal views onto the general public which is exactly what the PTC and Media Research is trying to do.
Their game plan is simple, attack the sponsors and the carriers of the World Wrestling Federation in the hopes that if they whine cry bitch and squeal loud and long enough they will relent and drop their sponsorship of the WWF thus leaving them high and dry and basically forced off of the air. Now while this may be a great thing to do, as they view themselves the saviors of the world, where would that leave the millions of wrestling fans? Without their shows and also without a choice. This is not the way it was meant to be is it?
Some of you may think that I am just over-reacting to this. Oh do I wish I was. Let's look at a few excerpts from some of the PTC's "Press Releases" that they have made over the past few months:
On October 6, 1999 - "The programs the Army is currently sponsoring, which glorify wanton and cruel violence, obscenity, and the mockery of America's great presidents and military heroes, undermine the Army's own core values. Millions of Americans, including our hundreds of thousands of members, will be outraged to find that their tax dollars are being used to support this vulgar, violent trash. On behalf of the 300,000 members of the PTC, we demand that the Army stop sponsoring televised trash," wrote L. Brent Bozell, III, PTC Chairman"
On November 23, 1999 - "The U.S. Army had ads this week on Smackdown!, but has assured us it will no longer place ads on the program. Unfortunately, the U.S. Coast Guard, which also appeared again, has not given any indication they will discontinue their funding of this vile trash. Burger King also reappeared after an absence of several weeks. Please let these two sponsors know that you care about the children of this country and that you hold them to a much higher standard than the programming in Smackdown!"
On October 29, 1999 - "Dare we say WWF Smackdown! was less offensive this week than in the past? When previous episodes have included nudity, incest, ramming a semi into an ambulance carrying a wrestler, bestiality, and extremely vulgar language the other networks have not dared to use, "slightly toned down" loses some of its meaning. Perhaps more disturbing than the content this week, was the fact that the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard were sponsors, despite Army and Air Force assurances that they are finished placing ads on Smackdown!"
"Congratulations to all the sponsors of WWF Smackdown! for giving parents across the country a chance to explain to their children what is "poontang pie" and for the opportunity to hear it enter their children's lexicon. Here are some of the sponsors you may wish to thank:" (They then proceeded to give their weekly list of sponsors to write to)
On October 4, 1999 - "Sexual content skyrocketed this week with several extremely disturbing "firsts" for this prime time wrestling soap opera. Last week a wrestler named Sexual Chocolate admitted to having a sexual addiction. This week he offered up that he was having incestuous relations with his sister as recent as "the day before yesterday." Also, wrestler Jeff Jarrett continued his sexist and degrading assault on women by arranging a mud wrestling match where the winner would have to pull the top off her opponent. Exactly that happened, and viewers, including the many children in the audience, were treated to frontal nudity, unconcealed except for watery mud. In our video clip, which is graphic and disturbing, wrestler Val Venis pulls a sock out of his pants and strokes it in a sexual manner."
I could go on and on but I do have to give them this, if I was someone who didn't watch wrestling and read this I would be appalled.
That is their best weapon. They pitch their viewpoints to people who really do not know, get them fired up and then they are behind them writing letters to get the so-called filth off of the airwaves.
But we, as wrestling fans and also as people can combat this sort of "Enemy Of Our State". Myself and others just like you have banded together and formed the "Wrestling Fans Against Censorship" coalition. This can be found by clicking on one of the two links sitting atop the PWBTS 2000 website. (http://pwbts.com) It is here that you can gather the necessary information needed to contact the WWF's sponsors and also to learn for yourself what we have already found out about Media Research and the Parent Television Council. You can also view all the press releases so far that the PTC have put out against the WWF and also view (and hopefully support by going to) the "Friends of WFAC" page. Here we have listed all the websites who have signed on as "partners to the cause". This site is updated daily as more and more sites sign on. In 48 hours over 60 sites have joined but we have a long way to go considering there are a couple of thousand wrestling websites out there. (Remember what L.Brent Bozell wrote, they have over 300,000 supporters. That is what we are up against)
How do you join? It's simple. Just grab the "Just Say No" graphic off of the PWBTS 2000 website, put it on your site making it a clickable link back to PWBTS and then send us your sites url and page name. (In the subject box please write, "I have joined the cause" so we know exactly what the e-mail is about) The e-mail address for "Wrestling Fans Against Censorship" is email@example.com. This way it does not get lost in the multitude of mail that I receive at the pwbts mailbox. In return your site will be added to the ever growing list of supporters complete with a link back to your site so everyone can visit your site. I will also be creating a mailing list of supporters so that I can keep you informed on the latest happenings.
A well known and respected but somewhat misguided Internet reporter had this to say: "Maybe it's the cynic in me, or maybe I have just been around this business too long, but suddenly, the thoughts are creeping into my head that this could all be a well thought out publicity stunt designed to generate attention for the WWF. The WWF gets that "Insane Clown Posse" kind of publicity that sells product, and the PTC (which hardly anyone had ever heard of before this) gets national attention. Nah, that couldn't be. Could it?
No it couldn't and only someone with a personal agenda to either garner some heat for himself or to act big in the eyes of his readers would even make such a ludicrous statement. Just because you personally had never heard of the PTC before doesn't mean that no one else hasn't. Also to even suggest that this was a publicity stunt shows utter and complete lack of understanding as to what is really going on here. What is happening is a threat to everyone's personal "freedom of choice". These people are out to take that away from us. These people are out to dictate to us what we can and cannot view in the privacy of our own homes. While you may view the world through self painted rose colored glasses the people who understand the true reality of the situation knows that these sort of groups have a way of forcing their opinions until they get their way. They are backed by big money and ride on the morality ticket, something that is feared in a lot of sections of business today. No my friend, this is not a publicity stunt nor should it be taken as a joke.
Some people though feel they are bigger then this. Here is one comment that was made on a popular ECW message board in reference to the PTC:
"Another thing that they can't fight us. We care too much about ECW to let a bunch of %$%es rain on us. They won't come after ECW anyway. Why should they? What can they do about ECW sponsors? Castrol isn't high on the wish list of kids in America, I haven't seen those ECW figures in your finer stores yet, and I don't think that RollerJam has a big following of any kind. There is no point for them to attack ECW, and if they do it will be the last mistake they ever make...."
How people can fool themselves like this is beyond me. Extreme Championship Wrestling was the first to deal with censorship on the airwaves. In fact I believe it is safe to say that ECW holds the unofficial record for being censored. I am sure that Tony from Strictly ECW can affirm that statement as he has been "fighting the fight" for three years for the "extreme" company that originated in Philadelphia.
World Championship Wrestling with it's new format is also on the list to be sure. More scantily clad woman, crotch chops and lewd gestures in the ring, men stalking women with tire irons, seduction, off color angles and women in the ring fighting men are the things that the PTC like to go after. They feed off of this kind of programming and it will be sooner than later that they set their focus on both of these promotions, especially if they feel the scored a victory against the WWF.
People it is time to "gather the troops" so to speak and to make a stand against this attack on our personal freedom of choice. It is time that people like this realize that we can and do "police" ourselves and our children and no one has the right to try to interject themselves into our personal lives. Take a moment to visit the "Wrestling Fans Against Censorship" site and join the cause. Because without your support the "powers that be" will eventually have their way and all we will have to watch is what they choose for us to watch. I hope you have a lot of VCR tapes of wrestling....it could be all you have left....well if the PTC has their way. Think about it!
Wrestling Fans Against Censorship
Fritz Capp is the editor of Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets - for comments or opposing viewpoints please e-mail to Fritz Capp
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