Channel One Shows Promotional Clips Of Violent PG13 Movie To Middle School Students

June 12, 2003

From Jim Metrock:

Any independent observer of Channel One News over the last two years would be perplexed at some of the absolutely idiotic decisions made by their programming VP, Morgan Wandell.

By definition if you work for Channel One News you are a “lightweight.” Important people work elsewhere.

It was Wandell that told his news anchors that they would wear sandwich boards for Cingular Wireless. Anchors were told by Wandell that they would shill for Cingular during the “Cingular Question of the Day.”

One anchor, Janet Choi, graduated from Northwestern University with a journalism degree. Did she have a problem with this breach of journalistic ethics? Nah, she has been one of the most gleeful pitch people on the C1 News staff. For example, she used her news anchor position (during the news portion of the show) to help promote a recording artist for Madonna’s Maverick Records and on May 8th she hawked the new violent X2- X-Men United movie.

One has to wonder if Northwestern U. teaches any courses like “Ethics in Journalism” for would-be reporters. If they did, either Choi didn’t take them or flunked them. Or it could be that Morgan Wandell is just too persuasive. After all, he is the boss and he could fire Choi or any of these anchors and where in the heck do you go when you get fired from Channel One News?

As I mentioned, on May 8 Morgan Wandell arranged a very interesting Channel One News program for kids. 20th Century Fox needed Wandell’s help to promote a new violent, sci-fi movie X2 – X-Men United. They needed Channel One to help get children into the theater seats quickly because competition from other movies was going to get rough later in the month. Wandell delivered. Even though Channel One News promised, in 2000, that they would never again show ads for PG13 movies to children in middle school, Wandell broke that promise and allowed James Marden, an actor from X2, to co-host the entire program.

Janet Choi was picked to help Marsden promote his new movie to not only high school students (bad enough) but also middle school students. It was yet another disgraceful moment for Channel One News.

Channel One has snuck in advertising for PG13 movies before to middle school kids since their promise not to do so. They have done it the same way – by using a guest host to help deliver the news to students and then “oh yeah, I have a new movie coming out tomorrow.”

What is different about this incident is Wandell allowed clips of the movie to be shown at the beginning of the show. Keep in mind, Wandell doesn’t consider this “commercial time.” He showed the clips and had the actor and Choi plug the movie during the “news” portion of Channel One News. That results in more ad revenue because there is more than two minutes of commercial time on the show.

Mr. Wandell’s previous job was “VP of Development” for the notorious Digital Entertainment Network. DEN was an unmitigated disaster. Wandell and DEN wanted to offer young people edgy entertainment via the Internet that would not be allowed on broadcast TV. Fortunately, Wandell’s and DEN’s efforts failed. Only by understand DEN’s attitude toward children can one begin to understand why Channel One News does such awful things. (Channel One’s current CEO is Jim Ritts. Ritts was DEN’s CEO. The founder of Channel One News was Ed Winter. Winter was DEN’s VP of Marketing. David Neuman was President of both Channel One and DEN.

I received a letter from someone who said he (or she) was in a meeting of Channel One anchors and Morgan Wandell. Supposedly, Mr. Wandell asked people to raise their hands if they were uncomfortable with the plugging of Cingular during the news portion of the show. Everybody’s hand went up, the person said. Wandell was said to be surprise. Evidently, even Janet Choi raised her hand or she wasn’t at the meeting. I don’t know for sure if that is true, but it sounds right. Even if it isn’t, Morgan Wandell appears to have no clue about how a news cast, even a “News Lite” newscast like Channel One, should be run.

What we do know for sure is Morgan Wandell broke a promise made to thousands of middle school principals and school boards. Not only has he brought back advertising of PG13 movies to the youngest children who watch Channel One, he also promoted a violent movie to these children.

Tags: , , , , , , ,