Students See Baby Shot In The Face On Channel One

February 2, 1998

A distraught mother in Utah wrote us that her 12-year-old son was traumatized by a violent segment on Channel One. She said that on January 28 and 29, her son watched a sniper put the cross hairs of a rifle on a baby’s face and then a shot rang out. The boy has a new baby sister, the age of the child in the scene. The mother said her son has been visibly shaken since these Channel One shows, thinking that his baby sister could be shot in the face.

When Obligation first received this mother’s email, our first reaction was disbelief. Channel One has shown disturbing features on its TV show and its official web site, but “shooting a baby”? When contacted Channel One was also incredulous. But soon Channel One’s producer came back to Obligation and said it was, indeed, a public service announcement (PSA) from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) that showed the graphic scene, and it would no longer be shown by Channel One. The boy and his Mom from Utah were right.

The PDFA stated to Obligation that this PSA was intended for inner-city use. Ms. Christi Segal, PDFA Manager of Community and Volunteer Relations, said in a letter to Obligation, “It was intended for that audience (inner-city) and distributed as such. Once our ads are out of house – we have little control over when and where they are run.”

We appreciate the quick reply of Channel One and the corrective action, but harm has been done. Channel One has made “mistakes” before, advertising the sleazy “Mouth-2-Mouth” magazine on air; playing Marilyn Manson music for a captive audience of schoolchildren; featuring pictures of children, with personal information about themselves, on’s “Fresh Faces” feature.

“Clearly, Channel One owes the children who are contractual obligated to view their show an apology for running this inappropriate video, ” said Jim Metrock, president of Obligation. “There is no effective review of Channel One by parents. Teachers are too busy to monitor each show. That is why this type of outrageous situation occurs. Thank goodness, this wonderful mother in Utah listened to her son and now the whole country knows about yet another Channel One ‘mistake.'”

Metrock said, “My son’s school has severely restricted the making of parental review tapes and therefore we had no way of knowing about this violent PSA.” I urge all parents to demand that tapes of every Channel One show be made and y middle school students, for which Channel One is not intended.”

distributed to parents. Parents also need to demand that parental permission slips be required before a school can show Channel One to a student.

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