Those fake “studies”

Richard Huff in the Daily News debunks the latest “study” from the so-called Parents Television Council. Most reporters conveniently forget that the PTC and Brent Bozell are advocates with a strong political stance and they treat their “studies” as if they came from think tanks. The PTC’s screed about nasty kids’ cartoons got lots of such coverage. But Huff says:

But in virtually every case, these content surveys fall apart upon a closer look.

To make its point about bad language,the PTC’s latest screed deals with “SpongeBob SquarePants” and is, by coincidence, full of holes.


Simply, the group goofed by citing an episode of the cartoon series called “Sailor Mouth” as a touch-point for bad language.

Here’s the funny thing: The episode is all about the perils of using bad language. It follows along as SpongeBob begins innocently tossing bad words into his sentences. Those words are never heard, ever, and are replaced with more dolphin sounds than you’ll get in a day at Sea World. By the end of the show, SpongeBob and his friend Patrick learn why bad words are, well, bad, and they vow not to use them again.

The PTC, of course, saw fit to use this positive episode as a negative. The group’s media release claimed the dolphin sounds represent the F-bomb and a word for buttocks. Those words do not exist in the episode – and are only created in the minds of adults or young folks exposed to such language in the schoolyard or, dare I say, at home….

Most people would be hard-pressed not to take away something good from this episode of “SpongeBob.”

Not those at the PTC, though. Surprisingly, they didn’t find a way to label Patrick and SpongeBob washing their tongues off to clean out the bad words as a violent sexual act, too….

For the PTC, dropping in some bad words not found in the episode served as press-release enhancers to make the study sound fancy….

And reporters fall for it. Again and again.