October 26, 2005
Contact: Richard Davis, <>
Despite Protests, PBS Stands by Anti-Family Program
Washington, DC – A confidential PBS memo reassured station affiliates that “PBS stands by the broadcast” of Breaking the Silence, despite protests by thousands of concerned viewers around the country.
The one-hour program, released by PBS this past Thursday, purports to be an exposť of how the court system ignores children subjected to parental abuse.
But the program makes a number of claims about child abuse and custody that are refuted by government reports. Critics wonder whether Breaking the Silence underwent fact-checking or content review by PBS executives.
Breaking the Silence asserts that parental alienation syndrome “has been thoroughly debunked” by the American Psychological Association. But Rhea Farberman, spokeswoman for the APA, recently labeled the PBS claim as “incorrect” and “inaccurate.” Over 25 counselors and psychologists are now calling on PBS to invite qualified mental health experts to give “a more accurate and complete view of parental alienation syndrome.” [http://www.glennsacks.com/pbs/mental-health.php]
“Breaking the Science would have been a far more appropriate title for this misleading program,” says RADAR analyst Mark Rosenthal, who explains the filmmakers handpicked the examples to lead viewers to a false conclusion.
Michael McCormick, director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, expressed the concern that in the PBS show, “Balance was sacrificed to the political agenda of the sponsors.” The program was supported by a $500,000 grant by the Mary Kay Ash Foundation, which has sponsored prior TV programs that misrepresent domestic violence research.
RADAR is calling on PBS affiliates to not air Breaking the Silence until the program content can be revised to conform to accepted journalistic standards of accuracy and objectivity.
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.
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