Accuracy in Media

You know our media and culture are in trouble when a cable network like A&E runs a program celebrating Playboy magazine’s 50th anniversary. But that’s not just our opinion. David Bianculli of the New York Daily News commented, “The generally high-quality cable network has no business showing stuff like this.”

Besides running this program twice in one night, A&E is still offering three videos promoting Playboy. One is about founder Hugh Hefner, one is about the Playboy mansion, and one is about the “bunny years.” One might think that we are all supposed to be progressive and enlightened, and it would not be fashionable to celebrate women who dress up as “bunnies” with large bunny ears and cotton tails. But this exploitation of women is what passes for entertainment, even on A&E.

Playboy’s Democratic Party connection went unmentioned in the show. But back in 2000, Rep. Loretta Sanchez had scheduled a fund-raiser at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles until Democratic Party officials objected and she moved it. Hefner was angry, saying that his mansion “has been the scene of dozens upon dozens of fund raisers for Democratic candidates.” Hefner went ahead with a party anyway, held in connection with the Democratic convention, and Reuters reported that participants included “dozens of reporters, photographers and broadcast media from Washington who cover politics. Some clamored to be photographed standing next to the Playmates.”

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported that a party was held in New York in honor of Playboy’s 50th anniversary, and it degenerated rather quickly when “two scantily clad women took over the dance floor?arranged to look like Hefner’s grotto?and pulled up their dresses?” Not to be outdone, the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue features an interview with Democratic Party fundraiser Al Franken, a comedian who demonstrates his command of the English language by uttering an obscenity about Rush Limbaugh.

It’s a joke that some men buy Playboy for the interviews and the articles. But Hefner hides behind the First Amendment by staging annual “First Amendment Awards” for those pushing the liberal agenda. The awards are determined by “judges,” who have included such notables as columnist Molly Ivins, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, Nadine Strossen of the ACLU, and Professor Alan Dershowitz.

A&E presented a happy and pretty face for Playboy. But Brenda MacKillop, a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles, testified before the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography that illegal drug use, group sex, and homosexuality were common in the Playboy mansion. She said that she began to drink and use drugs to desensitize her mind to the seamy world in which she found herself. The A&E program showed none of that. The program once again demonstrated the strange priorities of our media, by celebrating the father of the sexual revolution.

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