Bemidji public TV upset about profanity in Newsweek

Public TV donors in the land of Paul Bunyan don't like profanity.
Public TV donors in the land of Paul Bunyan don't like profanity.

Newsweek's decision to include more profanity in the magazine is creating a bit of a shit-show.

In recent years, public broadcasters have helped the beleaguered magazine increase its circulation by offering subscriptions in exchange for donations. But some broadcasters are now rethinking their relationship with the magazine following its recent merger with the The Daily Beast and editorial's subsequent decision to allow R-rated language.

One public broadcaster upset with Newsweek's newfound potty-mouth is Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji, which reportedly may look for a new, less-vulgar magazine to give to donors.

From The New York Times:

Bill Sanford, chief executive of Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji, Minn., told fellow station executives this month via e-mail that a major donor had complained, and that he, too, wanted his station "to offer premiums that reflect our values. Being family-friendly is one of them." He suggested that Time or U.S. News & World Report might "fit our values better."

Since you probably don't read Newsweek, you might be wondering exactly what language created this "minor firestorm," as it was characterized by the founder of the Pledge Partner Magazine Premium Program. Thankfully, media blogger and journalism professor James McPherson documented all the curses in the Newsweek on newsstands late last month:

For those who haven't read it recently, Newsweek now contains a surprising amount of adult language.
For those who haven't read it recently, Newsweek now contains a surprising amount of adult language.

-- A story about "the Black Hollywood vote," quotes Samuel L. Jackson saying, "The president got about a week of moderate applause for capturing the most-wanted man in the world. You ask me, he should have put that motherfucker on ice and defrosted his ass Nov. 1."

-- Rick Perry and Paul Begala both are quoted using the abbreviated version of that same word: "mofo."

-- In a piece called "Capitalism Gone Wild" (get it), novelist Robert Harris "sums up his attitude about Blair by quoting Harold Pinter: 'We all believed in New Labour, and what a fucking shithouse that turned out to be.'"

-- Singer Ingrid Michaelson has decided to drop being "cute," and so is quoted (via a sock puppet) as saying: "I've got some serious dark shit in me. Everyone is like, 'She's so cute, she's so cute.' You know what? Fuck that!

-- Perhaps worst is the annual "Oscar roundtable," in which half a dozen Hollywood stars come across as a group of hormonal middle school students. Words from the "conversation" that were deemed magazine-worthy include "tits," "shit," "bullshit" and "cock" (not a rooster). I have no doubt that the stars used that language. I do doubt that it's representative of how most of them behave most of the time. If so, let's hope they stick to acting-they're just not very interesting, if this is a realistic depiction.

In response to criticism regarding the magazine's turn toward the R-rated, Stephen Colvin, chief executive of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, pointed out that January newsstand sales were up 15 percent compared to last year, and subscription renewals are up for the first time in a half-decade.

In other words, 'Bemidji, we'll frickin' miss ya... all the way to the goddamn bank.'

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