Isn't It Better That Some of TV's Influence on Children Be Educational?

Article excerpt

Brent Bozell's July 6 column "Coercion on children's TV" (Commentary, July 6) begins and ends with a string of errors and misconceptions about children's programming, and Children's Television Workshop (CTW) in particular. Let me first correct the record on CTW:

* CTW is a nonprofit company, independent of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. While we are certainly growing, CTW hardly qualifies as a "gigantic media production company" - it is dwarfed by its competitors, such as Disney, Time-Warner, etc.

* CTW earned $18 million in fiscal 1995 from "Sesame Street" product licensing - not "$800 million per year," as Mr. Bozell would have it. Of the $18 million, CTW spent $14 million on the production of the next season of "Sesame Street," making us the largest single non-governmental contributor to PBS in fiscal 1995.

* While it is true that many CTW retail products are made in China, CTW takes its responsibility seriously regarding toy quality and safety. It requires its toy licensees to comply with the Code of Conduct standards recommended by the Toy Manufacturers Association (TMA). These include on-site factory inspections. Larry Jarvik's congressional testimony was false, and Mr. Bozell has simply reiterated Mr. Jarvik's fabrications.

* Surveys of executives at nonprofit organizations show that CTW salaries are mid-level - and far below those of executives at commercial multiple media companies with which CTW competes for talent. …