September 23, 2006


NBC Draws Protests From Conservatives (EDWARD WYATT, 9/23/06, NY Times)

“VeggieTales,” which NBC added to its Saturday morning line-up this month, was originally created for home video, and episodes of the video series routinely contain religious themes, Bible verses and statements about God’s love and purpose.

NBC secured the rights to the show as part of a children’s programming partnership called Qubo, which it formed earlier this year with Classic Media, the owner of the VeggieTales franchise; Scholastic, the children’s publisher; Ion Media Networks; and Corus Entertainment. When the deal was announced in August, the partners said the “VeggieTales” episodes would be edited to NBC programming guidelines.

Since the show went on the air, however, Phil Vischer, the co-creator of “VeggieTales,” has complained on his Internet site ( that NBC has ordered most if not all of the references to God and the Bible to be excised from the episodes prepared for NBC. [...]

Mr. Wurtzel said NBC did not believe it had deleted the show’s religious message; he said the network had bought the rights to “Veggie Tales” because of its positive religious themes but that it did ask for changes to comply with its standards.

“We are not a religious broadcaster,” he said. “There are universally accepted religious values that we do think are appropriate,” but the promotion of “any particular religion or a particular denomination” is not allowed.

“Clearly the show has religious themes,” Mr. Wurtzel said. “It puts forth some very specific religious values. We had to make a decision about where it went further than we considered appropriate.”

Fans of “VeggieTales” have objected that the edited versions make the message unrecognizable, and L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, wrote letters to NBC executives complaining about both the “VeggieTales” decision and another issue, a Madonna concert scheduled to be broadcast in November.

Even when they try to appeal to Red America they biff it. Maybe when they make programming decisions they could try and have a couple Kansans in the room?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2006 12:00 AM

Parents should just turn off the television. For those not technically inclined, that means click the power button to the off position. Can't find the power button, just pull the plug out of the wall.

Great kid videos can be purchased at a modest cost. They can also be rented. Libraries have a large collections of them as well courtesy of the taxpayers.

No reason to subject kids to television programming geared, not to educate or entertain, but to make whiney wannabe consumers out of them.

Posted by: erp at September 23, 2006 9:37 AM

Next up, they are going to play "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sans all those references to God and War.

Posted by: pchuck at September 23, 2006 11:20 AM

If you could have gotten into the room with the NBC children's programming execs and the others involved in getting this on the network to begin with, the air of derision and condensation about the show would have been thick enough to cut with a knife. They put it on because they thought the name alone could grab Red State America kids, but their Blue State sensabilities demanded they remove the moral content of the show, under the notion that if the vegtables talk and there's a semblance of a story, no one will care about the rest.

Maybe next NBC can come up with a show calls "Tofu Tales", which will better reflect the values of Blue State America, even if they have to run it after 10 p.m., when the kids are supposed to be asleep.

Posted by: John at September 23, 2006 11:35 AM

--“We are not a religious broadcaster,” he said. “There are universally accepted religious values that we do think are appropriate,” but the promotion of “any particular religion or a particular denomination” is not allowed.--

Does NBC still run "It's a Wonderful Life?"

All that Christmas programming (Crosby, Hope) I grew up with down the tubes.

What are they afraid of pushing, Judaism?

Posted by: Sandy P at September 23, 2006 11:55 AM

"Biff" is O.K. here: I must remember that.

Check out the use of language in the article. The NYT headline uses the word "conservatives" the article has nothing to do with conservatism as a political movement, only with various Christian and family-values organizations.

Go ahead, tovarischii, go on calling Christians conservatives and conservatives Christians, if you think that will help you. Quos Deus vastat, and all that.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 23, 2006 12:26 PM

Burke created conservatism and it is inextricably bound up with the God of Abraham:

Libertarians, racists, Zeus worshippers, etc., can be allies of conservatism, but can't be conservatives.

Posted by: oj at September 23, 2006 12:34 PM

My nephews had some veggitales DVDs and I was sad that I couldn't watch them all before they left. They were incredibly entertaining.

Posted by: RC at September 23, 2006 1:19 PM

At the end of every episode Bob the Tomato says, "And remember, God made you special and He loves you very much."

It is one of the things NBC cut.

Posted by: Gideon at September 23, 2006 4:43 PM

That's a little too much.

Burke and Kirk would acknowledge pre-Christians such as Cicero as conservatives, having the natural law written in their hearts. This is laid out by the Apoostle Paul at Romans 4:14-15.

Bruke defined English conservatism, Cicero, the Roman.

If you are asking whether one in willful rejection of the religious mos maiorem, or vincibly ignorant thereof can be a conservative, I concur that he cannot.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 23, 2006 8:20 PM

The notion that Burke would have considered pagan Rome worth conserving is ludicrous.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2006 9:47 AM

Compared to Gaul or the hordes to the north, he might have.

Posted by: ratbert at September 24, 2006 6:24 PM

Oj, What the biff are you saying?

Of course, Burke would never have allowed that a Briton worshipping Jupiter (forget about Zeus)in the Eighteenth Century were a conservative. But a Roman of the first century before Christ, and professing piety, prescription, deference and the ways of the ancestors could be and was.

Burke repeatedly and expressly identified Cicero both as a source of his philosophy of conservatism and as a personal exemplar.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 24, 2006 7:21 PM

The ways of the ancestors were pagan and not worth conserving.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2006 8:18 PM