Accuracy in Media

The game started out slowly but it built to a sensational climax, as the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in the last few seconds with a field goal. The singing of the Star Spangled Banner by an entertainer named Beyonc? was inspiring; she was escorted to the stage by Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. Army helicopters were shown in the distance. But that was overshadowed by the disgusting half-time show. Talk-show host Mike Gallagher called it an example of “the cesspool we call prime-time entertainment.”

It was bad enough that one entertainer, Kid Rock, wore an American flag and then discarded it like a dirty T-shirt. He had cut a hole in it, wearing it like a poncho. Another performer, a “rapper,” repeatedly tugged at his crotch on stage. But it was Janet Jackson’s flashing of her bare right breast that offended millions, including parents watching the game at home with their young children and thinking they could enjoy the event as a family.

MTV, which produced the show for its sister network CBS, apologized for the incident. NFL executive vice president Joe Browne said, “We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show…It’s unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime.” Clearly, however, picking MTV was no accident because it was a sister network of CBS. They are owned by the Viacom media conglomerate, run by Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin. Viacom includes CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET, Paramount Pictures, Viacom Outdoor, Infinity, UPN, Spike TV, TV Land, Country Music Television, Comedy Central, Showtime, Blockbuster, and Simon & Schuster.

As media watchdog Al Westcott points out, Karmazin “built Infinity Broadcasting Company into a radio empire by violating federal indecency laws. He turned Infinity into the world’s largest supplier, marketer and producer of radio porn and, like Larry Flynt, he did it under the guise of the First Amendment as his legions of attorneys fended off regulatory litigation from coast-to-coast.” Karmazin gave the broadcasting industry such people as Howard Stern and Don Imus.

Mike Gallagher believes the Janet Jackson incident was deliberate, creating “the kind of rage and disgust in Middle America that was?intended by those who staged the show?Teams of people had to be involved in the planning and execution of this single act of contempt for every man, woman and child who would find this crass and vulgar display offensive. ”

That is obviously the case. Performer Justin Timberlake reached across Jackson’s leather outfit and pulled off the covering to her right breast. He claimed it was an accident, but how could that be the case? One news service reported that CBS had actually approved of the stunt in advance. Indeed, Jackson’s choreographer said in advance that, “I don’t think the Super Bowl has ever seen a performance like this?There are some shocking moments in there too?.” The headline over the article about his comments on the MTV website was “Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Show Promises ‘Shocking Moments.’ But will CBS pay a price for this atrocity?

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