Friday, January 28, 2005

Michael Powell Monkey Business

Monkey Business
Now, the truth can be told. Jonathan Rintels of Center for Creative Voices has tipped Mediacitizen off to a grainy picture that may very well have precipitated FCC Chairman Michael Powell's hasty departure. Dr. Dobson of Focus on Family has called for a full investigation.

It was the evangelical preacher-psychologist, Dobson, who last week aimed his zeal and moral outrage at SpongeBob Squarepants saying that any cartoon character that holds hands with his sidekick -- in this case Patrick the starfish -- is clearly fronting a campaign to spread homosexuality among children. Did you get that?

A part of Chairman Powell's legacy will be his own moral "outrage" in the wake of Janet Jackson's now infamous 2004 Super Bowl reveal. This onetime live-and-let-live libertarian thought it prudent to jump on the nanny bandwagon and level a series of FCC fines against big media that didn't fly straight. If you think Powell overstepped on this, his was nothing compared to the wave of self censorship that subsequently washed over the industry.

More recent FCC decisions, however, indicate that Powell is now lifting the agency's boot off the neck of broadcasters. It would seem all along that Powell's heart was never in the fight. The picture above tells the rest of the story.

It was posted on Chairman Powell's official FCC website early in 2004; but was since deleted (prudent move Michael). It lives on to see this new light of day thanks to's Ed Molton -- who cadged and posted the image on his blog after hearing Howard Stern mention it over the air.

The picture was also mentioned as an aside in Al Kamen's Post story, yesterday, which got Jonathan snooping for evidence.

While uber-prig Dobson may be appalled, the good people at the United Church for Christ have embraced SpongeBob. Reverend Bob Chase wrote to say that "the United Church of Christ today (Jan. 24) said that Jesus' message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants -- the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with his friend Patrick, a starfish." . . . and his friend Michael, it is now known.

"While Dobson's silly accusation makes headlines, it's also one more concrete example of how religion is misused over and over to promote intolerance over inclusion," UCC Reverend John H. Thomas added. Amen!

[1-31-05 Update: Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus On The Family” have reopened the can of worms that is SpongeBobGate, by launching a spam war against Keith Olbermann, “and in so doing embarrassed themselves and undermined the validity of their own concerns,” writes the MSNBC anchor. Dobson, led the right-wing cavalry charge against the cartoon sponge in order to get headlines. When those headlines turned against him -- mocking the neo-nanny for taking on such a silly campaign -- Dobson promptly ran immediately to the easiest scapegoat: he blamed the big old ugly media.]

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