|Back to July Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 186||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JULY 2001|
Group Launches New Campaign to Turn Off Channel One|
Members of the coalition include Ralph Nader, Phyllis Schlafly, the United Methodist Church, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, authors John Taylor Gatto and Jane M. Healy, actor Matt Damon, and Peggy O'Mara, editor and publisher of Mothering magazine, among many others.
The coalition is asking all Channel One's advertisers to stop advertising on Channel One and requests that the top 50 U. S. advertising agencies not place ads on Channel One. Members of the U. S. Senate and House appropriations committees have been asked to prohibit the federal government from buying advertising time on Channel One (such as ads for the armed services).
The coalition sent a letter to Channel One's advertisers detailing its most compelling reasons not to advertise on Channel One, including:
Johnston's commentary pointed out another danger associated with Channel One - the willingness of school children to divulge personal information for a "reward." "Contests are propagated [through Channel One] whereby companies can have access to a child's name and address," Johnston stated. "Students are enticed to go to a website after school where companies can acquire telephone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers if students declare they are at least 13 years old."
Some coalition members take issue with Channel One's advertising of About.com's "Teen Advice" website. Jim Metrock of Obligation Inc., a leading opponent of Channel One, described the "advice" offered to teens last December 26 in preparation for New Year's eve. "Whether you play it straight this New Year or decide to walk on the wild side, Teen Advice wants you to be safe," the website stated. "PC or not, here are some tips to help make the most of your evening - no matter how you opt to spend it." Potentially drunk and/or drugged-out teens were then told to carry "a note with essential emergency medical information" and stick to "one type" of alcohol, among other "tips."
"What does this mean, 'walk on the wild side'?" Metrock demanded. "What is this saying to children? How many parents want this advice directed at their child?"
The Teen Advice website also addresses sexual issues, and while it emphasizes the dangers associated with teenage sex - abstinence is even mentioned - the central theme is that whatever kids want to do or are comfortable with is okay. The site includes "how to" directions for french kissing, using a condom and having sex. Organizational Opposition
Many organizations oppose Channel One or its use of the schools for commercial advertising for a variety of reasons. The National Council of Teachers of English, the National PTA, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and other educational organizations oppose the "intrusion" of commercials into the classroom. In 1999, the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, passed a resolution urging parents to "seek effective ways to protect their children" from Channel One's "advertising assault."