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Forwarded from the Paleonet list, a message from Jere H. Lipps:

As we have said a number of times during this NBC program debate, they
don't care.  Here's why:

Susan Young, columnist (On the Air) for the Oakland Tribune, writes in the
CUE section of today's paper:

"NBC claims early sweeps victory"

Paraphrasing:  NBC claimed on Feb.28 that they won household rating and
advertiser-friendly demographics in the February Sweeps, as well as total
viewers.  They claimed a 7.7 share with the 18-49 year old audience (just
the ones who need to know some science!!) followed by ABC at 6.0, Fox 5.7,
and CBS with 4.7.  "Viewers see smaller swimsuits, sleazier story lines and
bigger guest stars during" sweeps  (And I might add more pseudoscience,
misrepresentation, and unknown authorities in so-called science
programming) in order to "artificially pump up viewership to charge higher
ad rates".   "The bad news is tht total audiences for the four networks
were down" from last Feb.  She goes on to report on the local San Francisco
Bay Area stations which do the same kind of thing, as all local stations
must to some degree.

Since NBC only cares about ratings by sleazing things up, rather than by
gaining audiences with good solid programming, let's continue to address
the sponsors of the scientific trash we see.

Why?  Although sex and violence are no better, most people understand what
is going on when they see more naked bodies and bigger guns and explosives,
and hence can make some kind of evaluation.  But when they get sham
science, the truth about how science is done and what it is,  as well as
the facts in most cases, is obfuscated so deeply that viewers  have no way
to evaluate it.  In such cases, the media has an obligation to society  to
separate entertainment, fiction, and opinions from facts and the scientific
method.   This is especially true for science because the demand for any
kind of sex or violence may well be there among the viewers, but the
viewers generally have no way to demand good science unless they know what
it is.

One other point:  The Networks have long claimed that their sex and
violence programming has no effect on viewers.  Right?  No!  Every school
and college  in America has an audio-visual department or equipment
precisely because it is a very powerful teaching mechanism.  A recent study
indicated just the opposite in any case for TV.  But science is getting
ignored in this battle.  The losers will be the public and us.  We spend a
good portion of our lives trying to teach how to think critically and
scientifically--but to no avail if the kind of claptrap that NBC aired is
allowed to continue under the guise of science.

Here's some other things you can do:

 The guy in charge of acquisitions for this particular item for NBC is Todd
Schwartz in Burbank (818-840-3009).  His name came from Bill Cote the BC of
BC Video (212-242-4065) who produced the show.  Schwartz is out of town
till Monday and his secretary wants letters.  So he is at 3000 W. Alameda,
Burbank, CA 91523.  Send him a postcard with a simple statement.  He is low
tech and has no email--too bad!

They have received no complaints about the program, so call them and let
them know how you feel about this junk.

Here's a more complete sponsors list (contacts for some posted yesterday):

Diet Coke, MacDonalds, Clorox bleach, Olive gardens restaurants (shrimp fra
diavolo)..whatever that is, M&M's, Toyota 4WD Rav 4, GMC Jimmy, Chevron
Supreme, Kellogs raisin bran, Comet bathroom cleaner, J.C. Penney,
Chrysler-Plymouth, Honda, US Satellite Broadcasting, Wendys.

Seems to me that if you care about what we do, now is a good time to take a


Jere H. Lipps, Professor and Director
Department of Integrative Biology and
Museum of Paleontology
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720 USA

Voice:  510-642-9006.  Fax:  510-642-1822.
Internet:  jlipps@ucmp1.berkeley.edu
WWW:  http://ucmp1.berkeley.edu