ABC's defenders -- mostly those outraged by the uproar of parental outrage -- predictably charged hypocrisy. Don't young boys see scantily clad cheerleaders? Or see sexy babes in the beer ads? But trying this line of attack is a little like yelling at Weight Watchers to lay off their lose-weight message because their clients are already fat. Whether they like it or not, parents are ready to explain cheerleaders or beer ads. They weren't ready for the porn-satire introduction on "Monday Night Football."
While the FCC investigates -- with a verdict you can plan for in, oh, 2006 -- let's not forget the role of the NFL in this. If they didn't know of the skit in advance, that's entirely their fault. Remember how they opened the 2003 season on ABC with Britney Spears selling sex by stripping on stage? Remember their vows after this year's Super Toilet Bowl never to allow this raunch again during their games? No one should buy their condemnations of ABC as fully sincere. That's especially true of the Philadelphia Eagles brass, who clearly should have been aware of how their star player would be filmed. Shame on you, football owners, for thinking that the best way to draw fans is through their crotch. Shame on you for pretending you, too, are innocent victims.
It's obvious that ABC knew what it was doing, even after the FCC thumped CBS stations with Janet Jackson fines. When asked on CNN if this incident was corporate synergy run amok, Vanity Fair media columnist Michael Wolff was blunt: "No, I think it's important to point out this is money in the bank for everybody involved -- for ABC, for ?Desperate Housewives' and for the NFL ... I'm not sure how much it was planned, but is it being taking advantage of? Is somebody rubbing their hands together? Yes."
Exactly right. That's who parents need to be concerned about -- the people who rub their hands together as they shock the culture into a hole where it can be shocked no longer.