FoxNation, Others Cover Campaign Against Lifetime’s ‘Deadbeat Dads’

The page for our new campaign against Lifetime’s father-bashing reality show Deadbeat Dads has been on the front page of all day today, asking the question “Does Lifetime TV Bash Dads?” To participate in our campaign, click here.

In Lifetime TV announces new reality show: Deadbeat Dads (4/28/09), parenting columnist Barbara Thompson writes:

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lifetime TV recently announced the launch of its new reality show, Deadbeat Dads.  The show was originally developed for Fox but that network abandoned its plans last year after a public outcry.  The show will reportedly follow Jim Durham, founder of a private child support collection agency as he tracks down and confronts dads who don’t pay child support…

The father’s rights organization Fathers & Families argues that in most cases, the fathers who don’t pay the child support they owe are living in poverty themselves.  They resent the fact that the program will show impoverished mothers with wealthy fathers and further the stereotype that all men are selfish deadbeats abandoning their children…

The national Fathers & Families foundation led the campaign last year that resulted in Fox dropping its plans to pursue this series and they have already started a similar campaign against Lifetime TV.

As a single mother, it is easy to look around and find examples of deadbeat dads which are absolutely infuriating.  As an open-minded single mother, it is also easy to find examples of deadbeat mothers and vindictive mothers working against good fathers who are doing their best to do right by their children.  I was not able to back up some of the statistics quoted by Fathers & Families about the percentage of men who pay the full amount of child support owed but to me, that issue is secondary.  The biggest problem I have with a television program like this is the effect that it will have on the children…

In Who’s your daddy? (Santa Monica Daily Press, 4/28/09), David Pisarra wrote:

In one day this week, I had two separate appointments with men who were trying to work out co-parenting problems with their exes, and were coming to me after the fact to learn the effects of what they had done.

One man was an older gentleman who’d raised his first son by himself. In this latest marriage, the child was conceived by in vitro fertilization after his wife had left him once and returned, because she wanted a baby and he thought that would fix their problems. As soon as she was definitely pregnant, she left him for good. It was 11 months into the marriage.

The second man was a youngster, who was in his early 30s and had just been informed by his non-live-in girlfriend that she was pregnant. She told him that she didn’t really want him to be an active father. She did expect him to pay child support, but didn’t think he should have much to do with the pregnancy or the child afterwards. Though she was fine with him paying for her pregnancy classes.

Neither of these men were stupid, teenagers or generally impulsive. Both seemed like genuinely decent guys who were just caught up in a relationship dynamic that caused them pain. Neither of them thought they had made a mistake, and both men genuinely wanted to be fathers. The younger one was actually quite excited to be a father, as it would be his first child.

I think I understand what drove these women to pick these men. Both were intelligent and good looking. One had a good history as a father and was a strong earner. The other was a good genetic catch in his physicality and emotional makeup.

Each of these men will eventually get to see their children every other weekend, and once or twice a week for dinners. They might get to share holidays and every other birthday.

If they pay their child support on time, they can avoid being on the latest Lifetime reality show, “Deadbeat Dads.” A show that is under fire from many quarters for its depiction of dads as uncaring and selfish.

From where I sit, these guys are getting the short end of the stick. They were used as sperm donors and are now being used as ATM’s. But they don’t see it that way. They see that they are being denied the opportunity to be an active participant in their children’s lives; that they are being denied the rights of fathers for millennia to raise their children. They are cut out of their role as father, and then blamed for not being there, which is a crying shame, because both of them would make great dads given half a chance for more interaction with their children.

It’s ironic that men like these are the ones who are called selfish and uncaring, because it strikes me that the mothers who deny these men the pleasures of fatherhood, also deny their children the benefits of having a devoted and loving father in their lives. It is those women who so desperately want a child that they will deceive a man into impregnating them, without thinking that he might actually want to be a father, that are the most selfish.

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