Protest Fox’s New Reality Show ‘Bad Dads’!

Fathers & Families, Sacks, and ACFC Launch Campaign – Your Protest Needed

Based on past campaigns, we expect thousands of protests to pour into Fox in the next 48 hours, so join in!

If you have read enough, and you know you want to take action now, just click HERE.

If you want to know more before taking action, just keep reading.

If you want to comment on our blog, scroll to the bottom.

Let”s look at each of the show”s offenses more carefully:

First:  Harming Some of Society’s Most Vulnerable Citizens–Children of Divorce & Broken Families

‘Bad Dads’ publicly humiliates children of divorce and family breakdown by depicting their fathers as not loving or caring for them. How is a child to feel when he or she sees their dad being vilified on TV because he allegedly doesn’t love or provide for them? How is the child to feel when he or she is reminded of this by friends or teased about it on the schoolyard?

Most of these children love their fathers, even the ones who deserve criticism. Many of the children fantasize about their dad, imagining him as caring, loving and protective, and often their fantasies are true, even among those dads who do not pay. These children will be exposed to ridicule and shame, and their dreams of a “good dad’ will be trashed, rightly or wrongly.

Yes, reality shows do sometimes intrude on people’s privacy, but most reality show participants are volunteers. These children did not volunteer to be humiliated on national television.

To send a protest letter to the leading executives at Fox, click here.

Second:   The Truth About ‘Deadbeat Dads’

“Bad Dads’ will insult and offend the large number of families in which fathers are working two and three jobs to pay their child support. Fox will be surprised at the volume of criticism it will receive not only from fathers, but from mothers and grandparents too. These families know that the vast majority of dads ordered to pay child support are paying as much as they can.

They also know that when fathers do fall into arrears, it is usually for reasons beyond their control, and they are sick and tired of being treated like criminals despite doing their best. For instance, the California Department of Child Support Services itself recently reported that the overwhelming majority of “deadbeat dads” are the product of problems and abuses within the child support system.

David Engle, director of the Washington County Department of Social Services in Maryland, recently acknowledged this reality. He said

“The No. 1 reason why people can’t pay their support is they’re not able to find a job, or a job doesn’t give them sufficient funds to pay the support.”

National studies have shown identical results.

To send a protest letter to the leading executives at Fox, click here.

Third:  Studies Show Child Support Enforcement’s Claims of Fathers’ Arrearages Are Often Erroneous

The records of the child support agencies are wrong so often that they cannot be relied upon. As many studies have shown, the child support arrearages which are claimed against alleged “deadbeat dads” are often–if not usually–erroneous. Child support enforcement agencies are notorious for their incompetence, waste, and the incessant computer errors which lead to the persecution of innocent citizens.

“It”s extremely sloppy. It”s just a total inattention to making sure these numbers are right.”–Missouri Child Support Auditor Susan Montee

According to the Kansas City Star (10/19/07):”Missouri”s child-support record-keeping is so bad that in an estimated 51,000 cases where back payments were owed, parents owed far more or less than records show.

When the State Auditor of Massachusetts examined child support records in that state, it found that the official arrearages were incorrect in 92% of the cases it examined. (Report No. 99-0142-3). The Auditor concluded, “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Enforcement and Tracking System (COMETS) Does Not Maintain Accurate Arrears Balances.’

Bruce Walker, the former head of the Oklahoma child support enforcement program, wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, “The bookkeeping in child support offices is atrocious.”

To send a protest letter to the leading executives at Fox, click here.

Fourth: Anti-Father Media Bias

The proposed show is discriminatory. It perpetuates a climate of dad-bashing on television by focusing on the sins of dads  — and only dads.

Imagine a show called “African-American Crime Scene,’ or “Murderous Moms.’ Such shows would not be tolerated because their very existence implies that a certain group of people should be singled out for blame. There is absolutely no reason to name the show ‘Bad Dads’ when the average noncustodial father is more likely to pay his child support than the average noncustodial mother.

For instance, noncustodial mothers–so-called “deadbeat moms” fare worse in the child support system than noncustodial fathers do. According to US Census data, noncustodial mothers are 20% more likely to default on their child support obligations than noncustodial fathers.

This is despite the fact that noncustodial mothers are less likely to be required to pay child support, and those with support obligations are asked to pay a lower percentage of their income in child support than noncustodial fathers. These facts were reported by Fox itself in the Fox News article “Moms Can Be Deadbeats, Too.”

Anti-father media bias is a big problem, and it is drawing increasing scrutiny and mainstream media attention. As syndicated advice columnist Amy Alkon recently wrote about Fox’s ‘Bad Dads,’ “I’m tired of the demonization of men.”  

To send a protest letter to the leading executives at Fox, click here.

Fifth: Fox’s ‘Bad Dads’ Glorifies the Role of Private Child Support Collection Agencies, Even Though These Agencies Often Exploit & Deceive Custodial Mothers

The show glorifies profiteers. These people are getting rich by diverting child support payments from children to themselves.

The tactics of private child support collection agencies are so abusive that many leading feminists and women’s advocates–including the National Organization for Women–have condemned the agencies and urged limiting or eliminating their role in child support collection.

Geraldine Jensen, founder of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, whose members are custodial parents seeking child support, says: “We have all sorts of people who have gone to private agencies and feel ripped off and lied to…[the firms] are preying on people.”

To send a protest letter to the leading executives at Fox, click here.

What We Want

Fathers & Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and Los Angeles journalist/radio commentator Glenn Sacks are partnering in a campaign to ask Fox to cancel ‘Bad Dads.’ In general, the Fox network has usually been fair to fathers. This show is an unfortunate exception, and we hope Fox will soon understand this.

But this time, we have given Fox the opportunity to resolve this matter quietly, and they have turned their backs on us. A representative of the True Equality Network says that when they recently contacted a leading Fox executive to express their concerns about ‘Bad Dads’, the executive was “very rude” and “hung up on them.” Dr. Ned Holstein”s three calls to a key Fox executive have not been returned.

To learn still more about this campaign, click here.

To take action right now, click here.

Discuss this campaign on our blog below.

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