Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group–whose columns run in over 300 newspapers–just came out with a scathing piece criticizing Fox’s Bad Dads and supporting our Campaign Protesting Fox’s Reality Show Bad Dads. Parker writes:
“Of those everyone loves to hate, few can compete with the deadbeat dad for longevity.
“How much do we hate him? While we’re counting the ways, Fox TV may try to help America organize its contempt and put a face on this loathsome character. Bad Dads, redundant in these male-bashing times, is the name of a new reality show Fox is considering. While the network reviews the pilot, outraged fathers’ advocates are trying to nip this bad seed before it buds…
“Executive producer JD Roth describes his creation as ‘justice.’
“‘It’s a show that depicts the sacrifice and heartache of incredibly brave women on behalf of their kids and then ends in the most gratifying way possible.’ Really? How gratifying can it be for children watching television to see fathers humiliated in front of the world? Not much is an easy guess.
“For that reason, among others, fathers’ advocates are justifiably outraged at this new exploration of human prurience. Glenn Sacks, a Los Angeles-based dad advocate and radio personality, along with Fathers & Families and the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, has launched a pre-emptive strike against Fox on his Web site (www.glennsacks.com/foxbaddads)…
“Bad Dads is just the latest insult to men and especially fathers who feel, appropriately, that they’ve been maligned and minimized through television programming and advertising. In sitcoms, men are typically buffoons. And fathers, if they exist, are inept and unreliable, while Mom is a paragon of virtue and competence…Bad Dads reinforces a stereotype that is neither accurate nor fair. The rich pig who leaves his wife and kids for a pole-dancing aerobics instructor — or who enjoys extended martini lunches with his golf pals — is far from the norm.
“The more accurate picture of a deadbeat dad is an unemployed or underemployed bloke who sees more jail cells than golf courses. A common sequence of events for the poorest deadbeat dads goes something like this: Fall behind in child support, get arrested and put in jail, lose your job, fall further behind in child support.”
Parker’s full column is “Bad Dads” a Bad Idea (5/2/08)