The line between old-fashioned objective reporting and opinion writing is blurry enough on the big subjects like the war on terrorism and the economy, but in entertainment journalism, it's becoming nearly impossible to differentiate between the two, especially since those who deliver this product don't, and won't.
Take it from me: This is a rough neighborhood to work in if you are lobbying for decency and family-friendly programming on television and regularly deal with the entertainment press. In the daytime, you're working with reporters you assume are dedicated to telling the story in an objective and balanced manner. But when they go moonlighting on more opinionated Internet Web logs, entertainment reporters often make it clear that the concept of upholding decency is a bad joke.
Take John Eggerton, a TV reporter for Broadcasting & Cable magazine. He moonlights on the magazine's Web site on a blog called "B&C Beat." Blogging from a Los Angeles porn convention, he finds the opportunity to dismiss the idea of a "community standard" of decency: "(T)hat is the joke of the FCC's attempt to determine what community standards are in deciding what not to let broadcasters air. A reasonable-person standard can range from a reasonable Morman (sic) to a reasonable L.A. clubber."
But Eggerton is comparatively mild in his declaration of disagreement with efforts to push Hollywood to acknowledge that anything crosses a line -- even spousal rape scenes. On Time magazine's Web site, TV critic James Poniewozik takes to his own blog to bash the Parents Television Council. "I've wasted a lot of bandwidth blogging about the uselessness of groups like the PTC," he writes. "It's nice to see them starting to do the work for me."
Poniewozik argues that since the PTC took nine days to complain about the rape scene on FX's "Rescue Me," it somehow proves that no one with "delicate morals" ever saw the show in the first place. Moreover, "Edgy TV pretty much advertises itself as such ... people are not idiots. Not even PTC members."