Blog to Bill
: Engadget snags an interview with Bill Gates. The humility is a bit overpowering: The piece starts telling us what we won’t read (somebody buy Pete a course in Calacanis hype!). But it covers lots of territory, starting with games, in two parts.
This is the guy who wants to tell us how to parent?
: Max Blumenthal reports that James Dobson — the scary guy who wants to censor what you watch and tell you how to parent — ran ads on ABC while a church could not:
During [Sunday’s] season finale of ABC’s schlocky reality show, “Supernanny,” James Dobson’s Focus on the Family will be running ads promoting its “Focus on Your Child” program, which advises parents on how to implement the parenting principles outlined in his best-seller, “Dare to Discipline.” These include spanking with “sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.” Children have to be taught respect for authority at an early age, Dobson preaches, or they’ll never develop respect for governmental authority or God.
Dobson’s theory on corporal punishment reveals the political underside of his self-help work….
Once parents bite Focus’s bait and join up, they may learn some valuable techniques for improving their relationship with their children. At the same time, they will become immersed in the subculture of the Christian right, where they will meet Macho Jesus and the gay/pedophile deviants who are out to destroy the very fabric of their marriage. Family counseling is merely the net Dobson casts to bring folks on board with his political agenda.
Focus’s ad buy is its first in prime time TV. It has ostensibly purchased the ads through its 501 c-3, the self-help component of its organization, so it can claim legally that the ads are not political. But they are, and it’s absurd to say they’re not. On his radio show, Dobson shamelessly begs for money for his 501 c-4, Focus on the Family Action, his organization’s political arm. FOF Action is the entity which collaborated with the Family Research Council to bring us the memorable event known as “Justice Sunday,” where Dobson blamed the Supreme Court for “the worst Holocaust in human history.” Given that the political and family components of Dobson’s empire are so indistinguishable, I think it would be appropriate and necessary to file a complaint with the FCC over Focus’s insidious ad buy.
Furthermore, ABC’s accomodation of Focus smacks of hypocrisy. Last winter, ABC’s broadcast network refused to an ad by the United Church of Christ promoting its inclusive policy to gays and other groups explicity forbidden from belonging to churches under the ideological sway of Dobson and his ilk.
Stacking the FCC deck
: Last week, I linked to a report that Sen. Ted Stevens, the bozo who’s trying to expand FCC censorship to cable and satellite, is trying to install his aide on the FCC.
Now comes word at Broadcasing & Cable that Sen. Sam Brownback, the scary guy who’s pushing for censorship harder than anyone in the Senate, is now trying to get a former aide of his on the FCC.
Anybody want to nominate Howard Stern? Opie? Me?
: I have to believe that in the Bozell and Dobson households and in the homes of church ladies across the land, an angry and disappointed groan was heard when Laura Bush said she watches Desperate Housewives. In my house, you could hear a gratified cackle.
: LATER: Sure enough, the Washington Times frets.
Presses rust, too
: A few posts ago, Jay Rosen wrote a provocative essay about newspaper management laying newspapers gently down to die. Last week, Ad Age had a guest column (not online, damn them) about General Motors as caretaker management that is essentially doing the same thing by not investing in the future. And today, Jenny DeMonte blogs and brings this together, seeing parallels among GM, journalism, and education.