Saturday, May 23, 2015

19 Sins and Counting

Here is my problem with the current news story surrounding the Duggar family and their son Josh.

What took so long?

In order for In Touch to ask for documents under the Freedom of Information Act, they had to know there were documents to find. If I, a casual viewer at best, knew about the “sin in the camp” several years ago, then you cannot tell me that TLC didn’t know about them when they first started airing specials about the Duggar clan. How did I hear about it? Message boards! I visited the now defunct website Television Without Pity every day. I watched a handful of the early shows about the family and wanted to know more, but I didn’t want it filtered through a haze of puff journalism. While message boards are often filled with trolls and haters, the best ones, run by firm moderators, are able to provide a lot of background information. For example, by the time Jon & Kate fell apart spectacularly in the public eye I was well aware of all the private shenanigans that had taken place. I’m not a private detective. I didn’t pore over microfiche. I don’t know the family or anyone associated with them. I just spent a few hours down the wormhole that is the Internet.

Several stories have emerged that provide a timeline of events. The crimes were committed in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, the first special about the Duggar family aired on Discovery Health. In 2006, while prepping an all-Duggar episode, the Oprah Winfrey Show was alerted to the history of molestation. That episode never aired and HARPO studios alerted the Department of Human Services. While Josh was under investigation by the police, Discovery chose to air three more specials about the Duggar family. Let’s be clear – they were actively filming the family while a member of the family was under active investigation for molestation.

The network knew.
By 2007, comments had started to crop up on several different message boards. Now, I don’t run a network. Hell, I can barely run a bath. But, if I DID run a network, I’d have a passel of interns whose entire job would be to monitor social media to keep track of what was being said about my shows. Do people like them? Why or why not? Publicity 101, right? I find it hard to believe that TLC did not have people tracking what was being said about their shows. There were only a few dozen sites that recapped shows and/or had message boards for shows such as 19 Kids and Counting. Television Without Pity was well-established and if I, a bored housewife with a couple of hours to kill and an interest in digging a little deeper could unearth this story, you cannot tell me with a straight face that the powers that be at TLC could not.  
The network knew.
Why did In Touch decide to release the information now? I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with outselling rival magazines People and Us, both of which have published multiple exclusives covers concerning the family. I’m sure it is all about the victims, right? Puh-lease. It’s all about the money. They busted the story wide open to increase their click-view rates, their page views, and their newsstand buys. It is the exact same reason TCL ignored the story entirely. They were looking a cash cow directly in the face! They didn’t care if the milk was sour. They only cared if the milk looked creamy and refreshing on camera. The Duggar family made for good TV. They have aired greater than 200 episodes about them. They have published three books. They have made countless appearances over the past decade. The big Christian family is big business and big money. What is a little incestuous molestation in the face of millions of dollars?

Everyone knew. 

This included the networks, the publishers, their church, their friends, and their family. 
Who helped the victims? The answer was no one, because it wasn’t in their best interest to do so.

Now the entire world knows. They are all claiming ignorance and pulling the show and firing Josh and yada, yada, yada. 
Who is helping the victims? 
The answer, unfortunately, still seems to be no one, because it isn't in their best interest to do so.

And that, my friends, is the worst crime of all. 

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