Saturday, February 24, 2007

Univision swaps education for entertainment and loses...

Univision may have to cough up a record $24 million fine for mischaracterizing a soap opera as an educational program.

Well, it's about time the FCC fined a major network for feeding its viewing audience garbage. Ratings. That's all anyone cares about these days.

If you're crazy about megahits like American Idol, CSI or Univision's telenovelas, that's fine. Hey, I'm not immune. I obsessed over whether Meredith would make it through last week's Grey's Anatomy episode. And yes, I shed a tear when Denny and Izzie crossed paths.

But it's a sad day when networks have to be forced to provide educational television for our (um...your) nation's youth. What's even sadder is when I seek out educational programming for grown ups - that is to say, the nightly news - I'm greeted by pictures of doped-up, bald and dead celebrities. Isn't the 'E' channel supposed to take care of that?

So, the FCC steps in and punishes the largest Spanish-language TV network in the nation to the tune of $24 million. What does that even mean in relative numbers? Will it make a dent in Univision's piggy bank? Probably not. Will it influence the network to air something worthwhile for its impressionable young viewers? I sure hope so.

The fine is symbolic and something I hope other networks will take notice of.
Perhaps if we start force-feeding viewers their greens at some point they'll actually want a daily dose.

JP meantioned in a previous lecture that someone will probably come along and invent a news network where the programming consists of informative, non-sensationalized and unbiased interpretations of the day's events. How retro. Now, where do I sign up and who's coming with me?

In the meantime, I'll keep watching Grey's Anatomy. But I'll do a little digging online for my "educational programing." It just so happens, I like brussel sprouts.



At Sunday, February 25, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

so, I got bumped off line a few hours ago...but i'm back.

I don't know if the $24million fine is just based on misleading programming (regarding a show about twins who switch homes--similar to the English/American show, Parent Trap) or if they failed to meet a required quota (post 1996's Children's Television Act for educational programming (maybe it's both!) At any rate, I agree, TB... I hope this sends a HUGE message to broadcasting companies to stop trapping parents (pun intended) and provide educational programs that really serve up what they're intended (and obligated) to provide.



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