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