The program, billed as an exposé of divorce courts, said that custody of abused children is often awarded to the abusing parent. Government reports reveal that mothers are more likely than dads to abuse and neglect their children, and that mothers in fact are awarded child custody about 85% of the time - so the documentary producers did have a point. But the ombudsmen peered behind the green velvet curtain and said this time around, the Great Wizard was trying to pull a fast one.
First Ken Bode, ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting came out on November 29 with a report that charged the Breaking the Silence claims were "slanted" against fathers, "incendiary," and plain "wrong."
That would be bad enough if we were talking about a Leftist love-in like NOW with Bill Moyers. But in this case we're talking about a factual documentary.
Then three days later Michael Getler, ombudsman at the Public Broadcasting Service, dropped the second bombshell, noting "there was no recognition of opposing views," and concluded the show was an "advocacy, or point-of-view, presentation." But the problem with Breaking the Silence is not just flawed and unethical journalism. Bode's greater concern was the fact that the program "has been a launching pad for a very partisan effort to drive public policy and the law."
What was Mr. Bode talking about?
Turns out a rogue outfit called the Mother's Research and Reference Center was in cahoots with PBS insiders and got advance copies of the program.
Then the MRRC organized demonstrations and private screenings of the documentary for state legislators, judges, and local activists. The idea was to convince them to pass laws to make it almost impossible for dads to get even shared custody of their kids after divorce.
At KVPT in Fresno, abuse professionals were made available to speak with distraught viewers. But the counselors probably didn't have much to say about all those female teachers who have been making headlines for jumping in bed with their male teenage students. Or the mother who chopped off the leg of her 20-month-old son last week.
Remember, the party line says fathers, not mothers, are the child abusers.
And in Alaska, PBS affiliate KAKM, forgetting it was a tax-exempt organization, promised they would provide free publicity for the activists. According to the local organizer, "The local PBS station has said they will help us advertise and promote our event because we will then in turn promote viewing of their screening date on 10/20."
But the Mother's Research and Reference Center didn't appreciate all the publicity, so within days they yanked the incriminating paragraph. And a few days later, all 17 pages that documented MRRC's mischief-making around the country evaporated in cyber-space.
Well, not exactly. Because someone beat them to the punch and made a mirror of the original web page, which can be seen here.
Sorry girls, you've just been caught with your hand in the cookie jar.
The rad-fems have devised a remarkable plan for family destablization: fabricate a bizarre accusation, get the media to believe it, whip the populace into a frenzy, and then pressure chivalrous legislators to pass laws that do away with fathers.
In the 1980s, it was the myth of the deadbeat dad who callously abandons his family. Now we have a draconian (and costly) child support system that tosses destitute dads in jail when they fall behind on their payments.
In the 1990s, it was the ersatz epidemic of men who assault and batter their wives. Thanks to that canard, we have the billion-dollar-a-year Violence Against Women Act that makes divorce easy, profitable, and fun.
And now we have a bogus documentary that smears fathers as child abusers, with the aim of keeping dads out of their children's lives after divorce. That's the stuff of old-fashioned, in-your-face, Soviet-style propaganda. That's what PBS did on October 20.
So next time you want to get good, solid reporting about a controversial topic, you might do better by picking up a copy of the National Enquirer in the check-out line.