Alessandra Stanley, long my least favorite TV critic (and I was one), just assured her lifetime place on my media shitlist with this endorsement of government censorship in a what’s-the-point piece about the FCC’s latest fines in today’s Times (my emphasis):
And fans of procedural crime dramas like CBS’s “Without a Trace” expect to see sexual depravity and abuse only in dead people. When an episode showed graphic images of seminaked, promiscuous teenagers who were actually alive, it was something of a shock. It certainly fired up the F.C.C.: that guardian of network morals fined 111 stations that aired that episode a record $3.6 million.
And probably rightly so. For reasons that baffle the rest of the world (in this case, they don’t hate us, they pity us), the United States is far more prudish about sex than violence on television. But as long as sexually explicit material is officially taboo, then the episode did seem to meet the test: the scene of teenagers holding an orgy in a suburban house was quite blue….
CBS defended the episode, saying that it had redeeming social value since the story was a cautionary tale about parents who fail to adequately supervise their children.
She doesn’t bother to mention that such socially redeeming value is what got Oprah off. She doesn’t bother.
The piece is days-late, pointless, incomplete, and a waste of ink. But worst of all, it casually endorses government censorship and does it not on the editorial page. Why is this woman still writing for The Times?