Bozell's News Flash: NBC Slices and Dices 'Veggie Tales'

Brent Bozell's column on the entertainment media culture this week addressed an amazing double standard from NBC. For Saturday mornings, they've picked up a Christian-media favorite, the cartoon "Veggie Tales" -- but is cutting out the religious angles. That's sort of sad when our media's more tolerant of Islam, the "religion of peace," than they seem to be of Christianity:

The early word from producers is that NBC has grown increasingly fierce about editing something out of “Veggie Tales” – those apparently unacceptable, insensitive references to God and the Bible. So NBC has taken the very essence of “Veggie Tales” – and ripped it out. It’s like “Gunsmoke,” without the guns, or “Monday Night Football,” without the football. Think about this corporate mindset. NBC is the network that hired a squad of lawyers to argue that dropping the F-bomb on the Golden Globe Awards isn’t indecent for children, but invoking God is wholly unacceptable. Or, as one e-mailing friend marveled: “So, saying ‘F--- you’ is protected First Amendment speech on NBC but not ‘God bless you.’”The cartoon’s creator, Phil Vischer, posted on his personal Web log the news of NBC’s increasing creative stranglehold. “At first we were told everything was 'okay' except the Bible verse at the end. Frankly, that news [never] really surprised me, because, heck, we're talking about NBC here. [Would they allow] God on Saturday morning? It didn't seem likely.”But it grew worse than that edict, Vischer reported: “Since we've started actually producing the episodes, though, NBC has gotten a little more restrictive.” How so? He reported “we’re having to do a little more editing.” How much? So much so that Vischer implied that the God talk is landing on the cutting-room floor. Now he’s merely hoping that people will “maybe wander into Wal-Mart and buy a video with all the God still in.”This is one of those moments where you understand that networks like NBC are only talking an empty talk and walking an empty walk when it comes to the First Amendment, and “creative integrity,” and so on. They have told parents concerned about their smutty programs like “Will and Grace” that if they’re offended, they have a remote control as an option. The networks have spent millions insisting that we have a V-chip in our TV sets. Change the channel. Block it out.But when it comes to religious programming – programming that doesn’t even mention Jesus Christ – just watch the hypocrisy. Instead of telling viewers to just change the channel if they don’t like it, or put in a V-chip for Bible verses, they demand to producers that all that outdated old-time religion has to be shredded before broadcast. It’s truly sad that this anti-religious hypocrisy would emerge. Today, no one in network TV fears what the children are watching – unless it makes them think about God.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis