Joke’s On Us – Channel One’s Welcomes Back Web Advertising, Message Boards and Chat Room

September 25, 1998

It didn’t last long. It couldn’t.

Channel One’s mission is to get the attention of kids, so they can then sell it for big bucks, and they need to have message boards and chat rooms on their web site or kids won’t be attracted. Channel One’s education VP, Paul Folkemer, expressed outrage to the Shelby County board of education when he found out about age-inappropriate material on his web site. He immediately put a halt to advertising on the Channel One web site. (True educational sites have no advertising and Folkemer’s action was a responsible step in the right direction.) He also stopped the message boards where children have exchanged personal information with anonymous Internet users for over a year and a half with Channel One’s help. He also pulled the dangerous chat rooms. This all happened right after the September 1 meeting of the Shelby County board of education.

The web advertisements soon came back on. The message boards (now “moderated” by Channel One employees (that should not make parents and teachers feel very comfortable)) came back online last week. And Martin Christie, Channel One’s paid lobbyist in Alabama, told the State Board of Education that the chat room is back starting September 24.
It will be limited in the content discussed, he said. It will be on a few hours at first and the first night the discussion will only be about Nazis and hate crimes. [Oh yeah.]

Mr. Folkemer may have the best of intentions, but he is discovering the world of big money and marketing. Channel One cannot change. PRIMEDIA will be for sale within the next two years from indications in the Wall Street Journal. Channel One has got to keep producing money. Mr. Folkemer appears to have only one message to disgusted teachers, parents and students – “Trust me.” That is nowhere near good enough for Alabama citizens. (What happens when Folkemer is fired? People don’t last a long time at Channel One. David Tanzer has just been recently removed from Channel One and put in charge of “Modern Bride” and other consumer magazines, and he was the president of Channel One.)



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