There is this local tv news magazine we watch called Chronicle. It's been on for nearly thirty years which I think qualifies it for venerable status. Th unique thing about the show is that they devote entire shows--it's a half hour long-- to the investigation and discussion of one topic. A pretty rare thing these days. It's a show that becomes really interesting when you hit middle age and find yourself going, "Hey, I suddenly give a shit about what happens on the main streets and back roads of Grundle NH. Where can I get well organized and thoughtful info about it?"
So, we're fans around here. Last week they did a show about parenting. "Hey," I said to myself, I'm a parent."
I eagerly sat my middle aged ass in my creaky easy chair and prepared myself for a half hour of thoughtful in-depth programming about modern parenting. What I got was pretty much the same old bullshit. So I wrote them an angry email:
I am a fan. I have been for some time. I usually find your show well researched and thoughtful.
However . . . the episode on April 6th entitled "What kind of parent are you?" was an abject failure in that the part of parenting known as Fatherhood was largely overlooked.
In a half hour show, you spent 20 minutes on mothers. You asked "What kind of parent are you?" and you answered that question by interviewing mothers. There were helicopter moms, best friend moms, and dolphin moms. There was a Tiger Mom. Psychiatrists, sociologists, and writers were interviewed about parenting but the word parenting was placed squarely in the context of motherhood.
The other ten minutes of the show--and I'm not counting commercial breaks--were split between a discussion of the trend of adult children moving back home and fatherhood talk.
The fatherhood talk consisted purely of your two broadcasters, Ted Reinstein and Anthony Everett, spending 3 minutes at the end of the show chatting about what fatherhood means to them. No experts, no filmed segments, no research. Just two guys tossing around cliches and platitudes like "(paraphrasing) sometimes you've got to be their best friend and other times a disciplinarian. I'd call it a benign dictatorship."
I'm sure the gentlemen in question are nice men and fine fathers, but their opinions as presented on the show were banal echoes of 1950's parenting archetypes. The segment came across as what it was: an empty, half-hearted, pandering attempt at "equal time." I looked at my wife at about the 15 minute mark of your show and I said, "You see this? It's going to be all moms." You did not disappoint me.
I am a stay at home dad. It was a choice my wife and I made while she was pregnant with our first child and it is a choice we're very proud of. There are millions like me now. If not stay at home dads, then dads that are just as committed to and involved in the parenting of their children as their wives are. We make decisions about food, education, safety, morals, religion, money and all the other infinite responsibilities that come with the title parent.
You attempted a discussion about parenting and instead gave us a 30 minute long reinforcement of parenting stereotypes.
Chronicle, you owe us an apology.
Did anyone see this show? Do you think I'm out of line here? Thoughts, questions, comments? You can watch the show here.
I'll keep folks updated if I hear anything. Also, don't forget about the GREAT AWESOME I CAN"T FUCKING BELIEVE ANYTHING THIS GOOD COULD EVER HAPPEN ANYWHERE SCENTSY GIVEAWAY!!
There is still time to enter!