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10/23/2007

Focus on the Tivo

by Jeremy Hooper

So gay and pro-gay parents, we have a question for you: Who do you want deciding what your kids should be watching on TV? Do you want an organization that works day and night to deny gays the right to their own loves and families to assist with those programming decisions? How about a group that thinks gays can and should "change," and who supports and funds a program that tries to do exactly that? Or what about an organization that considers gay marriage to be antithesis of all that is good and right in the world?

Picture 6-88Well, thanks to a new partnership deal between Tivo's KidZone service and Focus on the Family, you can now have one organization who carries all above the flags helping to decide which broadcast imagery is appropriate for your kids. Here's the story:

Focus on the Family is teaming with TiVo, the maker of the popular digital video recorder, to protect children from harmful television programming. The ministry is dedicated to meeting the needs of parents, and that includes helping them make wise media choices.

TiVo launched Kid Zone in March 2006 at the request of parents who were fed up with the harmful programming. With Kid Zone, children can only watch pre-approved shows.

Joe Miller, senior vice president of TiVo, said Kid Zone is a big hit because it ensures there’s always something good on TV.

“TiVo allows you to not just block stuff, but to find the good stuff, and that’s one of the things we’re working with Focus on the Family on," he told Family News in Focus. "How do we identify what programs are good, and how can we give parents tools to not only block the bad stuff, but find the good stuff?”

Wow, that's discomforting. This is, after all, an organization who just last month applauded the news that there will be fewer gay characters on TV this season. Something tells us their Tivo recommendations will be less along the lines of "Dora The Explorer Learns About Tolerance," and more along the lines of "Dora The Explorer Learns About The Agenda Being Used To Corrupt Her Mind." And those who aren't aware of Focus on the Family's agenda will just accept their cherry-picked recommendations as righteous, as FOF puts on a good, family-friendly front.

Unnerving.

Ideally we'd like to see only non-partisan, non-ideological groups involved in those sort of capacity. But since that doesn't seem to be the case with this service (the right-wing The Parents Television Council is also involved), perhaps in the sense of fairness, Tivo should also extend an invite to groups like PFLAG or the Family Equality Council? We're on the case.

Focus Teams with TiVo to Protect Kids [CitizenLink]

**UPDATES FOR 2008:

06/05/08: Tivo/FOF: We're recording our unhappiness [G-A-Y]
06/09/08: Focus on the inequitable contest [G-A-Y]
06/10/08: If FOF won't post our entry, we'll do it ourselves [G-A-Y]
06/10/08: Focus on the scrubbed Tivo site [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

This is perhaps the most ignorant analysis of a great product I have ever seen. I dont care about politics but the fact that you are trying to discredit a service because it has 'one' agreement with an organization that disagrees with your agenda is laughable. So now I will buy TiVo and record all of these services because it apparantly enrages people like you that only want their point of view heard. You would probably be much happier in a country such as norway that gives birth control to little girls. But then again if they were gay they wouldnt need birth control. But then again, I am sure you would be perfectly happy with a gay, pregnant 11 year old girl.

Posted by: steve thomas | Oct 23, 2007 11:49:19 AM

Steve: We'll let the readers decide for themselves whether your assessment or our assessment is the "ignorant" one.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go give my four year old nephew some condoms.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 23, 2007 11:54:54 AM

To Jeremy - Honestly, maybe this IS the sort of thing Focus should be using their resources for. They might make some biased choices in their recommendations, but at least they're trying to be constructive instead of offensive.

To Steve - Teen Pregnancy Rates:
United States: 1,671.63 births per 1 million
Norway: 349.88 births per 1 million
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_tee_pre_percap-health-teenage-pregnancy-per-capita

Need I say more?

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Oct 23, 2007 12:47:14 PM

GayMormonBoy: Agreed, that this is the sort of thing they should be doing in theory. In my opinion, however, Focus on the Family has been involved in far too many discriminatory endeavors to partner with ANY mainstream company in such a capacity. They are simply too agenda-driven to be involved in such a role, especially if they are presented as just another family group

But if Tivo DOES want to include a myriad of voices from different perspectives and ideologies, then they need to also include the groups that FOF challenges, such as PFLAG or GLAAD or the Family Equality Council. FOF is without a doubt an anti-gay organization, in that they are working to oppose gay rights as strongly as our organizations are working to encourage them.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 23, 2007 12:55:25 PM

You are right of course, Focus certainly hasn't proven itself worthy of this type of mainstream media partnership. For TiVo it's a mistake, but for Focus, (in theory,) its a better use of time than many of their other activities.

A P.S. to Steve: In case you were wondering, abortion rates are ALSO lower in Norway.
United States: 4.0945 per 1,000 people
Norway: 2.9767 per 1,000 people

(I lived in Norway for two years, so I get a little defensive when people like Steve try and make it out as some sort of worst-case scenario caused by progressive government/social policies.)

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Oct 23, 2007 2:31:08 PM

I am so glad you brought this up, Jeremy. When I heard it yesterday listening to "Family News In Focus" I was enraged. If this is where Tivo wants to align themselves, that's fine. Focus on the Faggot can have 'em. There are plenty of other DVRs on the market

Posted by: Jon-Marc | Oct 23, 2007 6:40:56 PM

TIVO WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!

You enchant me with your timeshifting and simple user interface and now you spring an alliance with homophobic bigots on me?!

Since when did tech companies strike public and obvious deals with partisan organizations anyway? Sure, theres the occasional campain donation that no one ever hears about, but a full on partnership? It's almost like they just saw the word "family" in the title and thought they must be who we need to get with to beef up our parental control tech, without even doing any research into what the organization actually stood for. The tech industry has been known to leap before looking and not to mention be less than informed on social issues that don't pertain to net neutrality (just ask a nerd about affirmative action and watch the river of ignorance that ensues).

Posted by: brandon h | Oct 23, 2007 8:37:03 PM

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