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December 5, 2005
Contact: Mark B. Rosenthal, <>

PBS Documentary is Slanted and Incendiary, Report Charges

Washington, DC – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has issued a scathing report of the recent PBS documentary, Breaking the Silence. The CPB analysis says the show contains “no hint of balance.” [http://www.cpb.org/ombudsmen/051129bode.html]

The PBS program, which probes the treatment of abused children by divorce, has been caught up in controversy since its release on October 20. Three PBS affiliates have already aired opposing views, and several affiliates have opted to not air the program.

The CPB report, issued by ombudsman Ken Bode, slams the documentary as containing “incendiary” statements that falsely stereotype fathers. For example, the program depicts children as routinely abused by their fathers, but government statistics show mothers commit about 60% of child abuse.

“[T]his broadcast is so slanted as to raise suspicions that either the family courts of American have gone crazy or there must be another side to the story,” the CPB analysis notes.

One of the claims made in Breaking the Silence is that parental alienation syndrome has been “thoroughly debunked” by the American Psychological Association. But on that point, the report concludes PBS “plainly got it wrong.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting also questions the motives of the documentary’s sponsor, the Mary Kay Ash Foundation. CPB reveals the Foundation plans to pay stipends to show the one-sided program to legislators and judges with an apparent intention to “drive public policy and law.”

Public broadcasting is mandated by Congress to ensure “strict adherence to objectivity in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.”

This past Thursday R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – called on PBS to retract Breaking the Silence and to produce a documentary highlighting the plight of children endangered by a court system that prevents their fathers from protecting them. [http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADAR_letter_to_PatMitchell12012005.pdf]

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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