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PBS Pledges 'Review of the Research Behind and Conclusions Presented' by Breaking the Silence, Says It Will be Completed by Early December

November 10

PBS is now sending a response to those protesting against Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories which says that they "have initiated a review of the research behind and conclusions presented" by the film, and that their review will be completed by early December. I was contacted a couple weeks ago by Jan McNamara, PBS's Director of Corporate Communications, who informed me of this review. I offered McNamara the input of fathers' advocates in the review, explaining that I couldn't see how it could be complete without it. Reading the letter below, it does not appear that any fatherhood advocates are involved in the review. I hope I'm wrong.

Nevertheless, I commend PBS for acknowledging and responding to our concerns.  As I've said from the beginning, our goal is that fatherhood advocates be given a meaningful chanced to present our side of these issues on national PBS. PBS affiliates in Houston, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton, Pennsylvania have already done this, and in each case the 30 or 60 minute program was professional, respectful and informative.  Hopefully national PBS will see the wisdom in this and follow suit. PBS's new letter appears below.

Best Wishes,

Glenn Sacks


Dear Concerned Viewer:

Thank you for taking the time to write to PBS about your concerns regarding BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN'S STORIES.  Comments from our viewers - both positive and negative - are among the best guides we have to make future programming decisions.

As you may know, PBS has received emails, letters and calls from across the country both protesting and praising BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN'S STORIES.

All of us at PBS understand that the issues surrounding domestic abuse and contested custody are complex and emotionally provocative. 

When BREAKING THE SILENCE was reviewed for broadcast, our senior content team determined that it was based on solid research and met our editorial standards.  We still believe this to be the case.

However, in our role as the nation's trusted public broadcaster, we take very seriously all comments we receive from the public.  For that reason, we have initiated a review of the research behind and conclusions presented by the documentary. As part of our review process, we are working with the producers of the film, Tatge/Lasseur Productions, to ascertain answers to specific questions posed by viewers. We anticipate concluding our review in 30 days or less (as of November 8), with a resolution as to PBS' next steps.

PBS remains committed to advancing the highest standard in national programming on a variety of subjects, and strives to be sensitive to all of our viewers when preparing programs for broadcast. 

As we have noted to many of the individuals who have already contacted PBS about BREAKING THE SILENCE, we welcome the opportunity to review proposals for other programs related to this difficult topic. PBS accepts programming from independent producers from across the country and all over the world to ensure that our schedule offers a wide range of viewpoints and opinions. 

In recent years, PBS has examined the issues of custody, divorce, abuse and parenting in a variety of programs, including two FRONTLINE reports - "The Taking of Logan Marr," which tells the story of five-year-old Logan Marr who was found dead in the basement of her foster mother's home, and "Did Daddy Do It," a reopening of the case of Frank Fuster, convicted over 20 years ago of sexual abuse - as well as IN THE MIX "Divorce and Custody: Breaking Apart/Coming Together," FATHERHOOD USA: DEDICATED NOT DEADBEAT and many other examples.

As public broadcasters we will continue to air programs with unique perspectives and various points of view. Your feedback helps us to fulfill this mission. 

We appreciate your interest in our program and hope you will continue to watch and support your local PBS station.

Sincerely,
Madison
PBS Viewer Services

 

 

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