I’ve written here about the controversy generated by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings when she attacked the Sugartime episode of Postcards from Buster because it featured two lesbian parents. I decided to query KCTS and KBTC as to their plans to air this episode. One station’s response is a tale of courage and the other’s is a tale of shame.
KCTS sent me a detailed and modulated explanation of their decision to broadcast Sugartime:
KCTS Television has decided it will broadcast the “Sugartime” episode of the PBS series Postcards from Buster on Friday, February 11 at 4:30pm. Our sister station KYVE in Yakima will also air the episode at that time.
The decision to air the program was rooted in our belief that KCTS and KYVE serve diverse communities which are comprised of many different kinds of families, and that it is healthy for children to learn about that diversity in appropriate ways.
We encourage our viewers to watch the program, and then to tell us what they think about it.
Just today, KBTC sent me this e mail response to my query:.
Who’s afraid of Big Bad Buster Rabbit? KBTC, that’s who
(credit: WBGH/Cookiejar Entertainment)
After considerable reflection and discussion within the public television system over the last few weeks, PBS concluded there are elements of this “Postcards from Buster” episode that parents should have the option of addressing with their young children at a time and manner of their own choosing. PBS is dedicated to addressing controversial issues in our primetime schedule, through documentary, drama and public affairs programs that provide the right forum for thoughtful discussion and informed debate, but PBS made the decision that there are unique sensitivities in the area of children’s programming.
Besides the timorousness of the response, the other feature of this statement is that it is totally canned. It sounds like it was written in some PBS headquarters office and the local station released it as its own.
There is no acknowledgment in it that Seattle is a major urban center with a large gay and lesbian population, many of whom are parents. No recognition of the insult felt by Seattle’s gay and lesbians regarding their refusal to air.
The statement seeks to absolve PBS of any culpability by claiming that gay and lesbian issues are aired during primetime, as if children are too young and tender to hear of such “traumatic” and controversial matters. Well, I’ve got news for them. The entire purpose of Postcards from the Edge according to PBS’ own federal grant application was to introduce the children of America to the diverse communities (including gays and lesbians) that constitute this nation. The proposal did not say the program’s mission was to introduce children to diverse communities except for those too controversial to present to children.
Kudos to KCTS and for shame to KBTC. If you live in the Pacific Northwest e mail KCTS to commend them for their fortitude and e mail KBTC to tell them of your dissatisfaction. I’d suggest people consider joining KCTS and refusing to join KBTC.