The Parents Television Council this morning criticized NBC and NFL over the Super Bowl halftime show incident involving British rapper M.I.A. briefly flashing a middle finger in front of the camera before the network was able to blur the image. The watchdog called for NBC and NFL to punish those responsible for the flap but stopped short of announcing the filing of a formal complaint with the FCC. At least for now. Here is the statement from PTC president Tim Winter:
“NBC fumbled and the NFL lied because a performer known as M.I.A. felt it necessary to flip off millions of families. It is unfortunate that a spectacular sporting event was overshadowed once again by broadcasting the selfish acts of a desperate performer.
“Last week the NFL formally told the PTC – and the American public – that the Super Bowl halftime show would be ‘appropriate.’ Most families would agree that the middle finger aimed directly at them is not appropriate, especially during the most-watched television event of the year.
“The mechanism NBC had in place to catch this type of material completely failed, and the network cannot say it was caught off guard. It has been eight years since the Janet Jackson striptease, and both NBC and the NFL knew full well what might happen. They chose a lineup full of performers who have based their careers on shock, profanity and titillation. Instead of preventing indecent material, they enabled it. M.I.A. used a middle finger shamelessly to bring controversial attention to herself, while effectively telling an audience filled with children, ‘F– you.’
“A simple apology rings hollow after yet another slap in the face to families, especially when NBC has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that it should be allowed to air all manner of indecent material at any time of day, even when children are watching.
“Either the NFL and NBC will take immediate steps to hold those accountable for this offensive material in front of a hundred million Americans, or they will feebly sit back and do nothing. The nation – and the PTC – is watching.”